The Town of Bayfield and Landmark Conservancy worked together to raise funds to purchase and protect 10 acres of the Big Ravine. Encompassing the headwaters of the Big Ravine’s watershed, the property’s forest provides habitat for a variety of migratory species and its wetland helps improve water quality by slowing the flow of water downstream. Its location helps to expand on a larger complex of protected land and offers additional public trail connections. Funding came from Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, the Biodiversity Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act program, and local donors.
Erika Lang, Conservation Manager for Landmark Conservancy, stated, “The Big Ravine Headwaters project is a wonderful example of what a community can do for conservation when it works together.” She went on to say, “While this property was identified as important for water quality and wildlife long ago, it takes many things to come together in perfect harmony – a willing seller, a town willing to care for the property long-term, funding from both grants and local supporters, and leaders such as Kate Kitchell – to complete each land purchase project we work on. Landmark Conservancy is thrilled this property’s natural resources are now protected forever and we look forward to working with other landowners in this watershed to do the same.”
Kate Kitchell, a volunteer for Bayfield Area Trails, explained the importance of collaborative partnership that has brought this project to fruition. “The Town of Bayfield’s financial and operational support have been fantastic; without donations for the appraisals from local residents, this project wouldn’t have gotten off the ground. Landmark Conservancy’s expertise has been essential for facilitating the land purchase… it takes a team to get something like this accomplished.”
Kate elaborated on the future goals Bayfield Area Trails and the property owner, the Town of Bayfield, have for this protected land. “Establishing trails on the property, including to the wetlands, will provide a fantastic complement to the existing trails network in the Big Ravine’s forest. The new headwaters trails will be important links toward the envisioned Bayfield Area Trails network to connect the City of Bayfield with the orchards and Fire Hill Forest Preserve.”
Learn more about this project by watching the YouTube video above!