Restoring the Brownstone TrailThe Trail that Connects Us
About the Brownstone Trail
Traveling from the City of Bayfield to Port Superior, the Brownstone Trail is a popular trail among Bayfield residents and visitors. Landmark Conservancy helped establish the trail in 1996 in cooperation with private landowners who own sections of the trail. A portion of the trail has been closed due to active slumping.
Landmark Conservancy has purchased adjacent commercial property to stabilize and restore the Brownstone Trail, improve visitor experience, and protect Lake Superior. The restored trail will be located on top of the slope and will provide amazing views of the lake and Madeline Island. To address the major slumping area, we must stabilize both the lower and upper slopes. We will also be able to transform the commercial property into a welcoming community area with a trailhead.
This project is a multi-year effort that requires significant time, resources, partner collaboration, and community support.
Phase 1 was completed in 2023. The upslope property was purchased in order to achieve a stable slope angle through restoration. Landmark has established a trail design concept working with coastal restoration experts.
Phase 2 (Underway)- In cooperation with the City and Town of Bayfield and Bayfield County, we identified Bayfield County as the most suitable long-term owner of the property which will become a public park and trailhead. This decision was strategic as public ownership provides stronger eligibility for grant funding as well as important support for long-term management. The property was transferred to County ownership in August 2023.
Landmark is working with SmithGroup to prepare final design and construction documents, and to submit state and federal permit applications. Permits are required due to the proximity of Lake Superior to the project site. We are actively fundraising for the restoration activities, seeking both grants and private donations. Contractor selection will begin when funding is at least 60% secured.
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Lois Albrecht’s affinity for gardening has led her to being a self-made steward of the Brownstone Trail. During the summer months, she can be found with pruners in hand along the trail bearing the mission, “If it whacks me in the face, or would whack someone on a...
Support from the Bayfield Community
This video was funded in part through a grant from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program.
“The Brownstone Trail has been one the most cherished trails in our Bayfield community for decades. As a centerpiece to the Bayfield Area Trails network, the Brownstone provides a unique opportunity for everyone to enjoy an easy stroll or bike ride along the lakeshore; and it serves as a non-motorized access route between the City of Bayfield and the Pikes Bay area.
Thanks to the Landmark Conservancy’s incredible work, the Trail’s future looks very bright. The purchase of the Maki property and innovative plans for site restoration will soon add an exciting new open space and public access. This will be another key step toward achieving the Bayfield Area Trails vision for a trails network connecting the Bayfield Peninsula communities.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How much will the project cost?
Phase 1 – Over 1.1 million dollars was raised to accomplish our Phase 1 goals.
Phase 2 – Our fundraising goal for the restoration phase is approximately 2.5 million dollars and is contingent upon material costs and contractor bids. Landmark anticipates funding the majority of the restoration activities through grants, but investment needed from the local community is estimated at $500,000. We are eager to continue engaging local and regional partners as well as individuals and community groups!
When will restoration of the slump site take place?
Restoration will take 2-3 years. Restoration design concepts have been developed, and long-term ownership of the acquired commercial property has been established. Landmark is securing the federal and state permits required to work along the lakeshore and continues to seek additional grant funding for restoration costs.
What will happen to the commercial property?
To be able to stabilize the slope and lakeshore, some of the commercial property will become part of the newly restored slope. Additionally, the Brownstone Trail will be located on the top of the slope which will provide visitors with wonderful views of Lake Superior and Madeline Island.
Community members have expressed a desire to see a more natural community space in this location such as a community park. This will provide an aesthetically pleasing gateway to Bayfield with some park infrastructure, a trailhead to the Brownstone Trail, improved wildlife habitat, and help protect the shoreline and water quality of Lake Superior. The previous owner will lease back part of the property for up to five years as they transition to another site.
Who will maintain the trail and property in the future?
While Bayfield County has agreed to assume long-term ownership, Landmark Conservancy will continue to have responsibility for slope and trail restoration and hold trail easements with private landowners. Landmark works closely with landowners along the trail and Bayfield Area Trails group volunteers for regular trail maintenance.
Landmark Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.