Siskiwit River Estuary Preserve

Siskiwit River Preserve

Cheri (Swenson) Surowiec and her brother Dennis grew up with the Siskiwit River as their playground. Their father Arvid purchased their land in the early 1940s and was a conscientious steward of its resources. He farmed organically and grew apples for bakeries in their orchard (except for the year the armyworms came, and everyone had to use frozen apples). The apple buildings were converted into cabins in the 1960s, and their mother Dorothy enjoyed welcoming the same summer visitors for decades. Throughout the ups and downs a family often goes through, it was never a question that the Swenson family would hold onto the land.

Conservation was always in the back of everyone’s mind; Arvid and Dennis were both naturalists and never wanted the property to be developed. Arvid loved the river, and the family always permitted public access via their land. When a tragic fire took the lives of Dorothy and Dennis in the spring of 2015, Brent and Cheri knew that permanent land protection was the best way to continue their family’s legacy. They agreed to a bargain sale and worked with Landmark Conservancy to raise grant funds and donations from many local residents. Today, the property is owned by Bayfield County and open to the public for non-motorized recreation.

“The Siskiwit River Preserve is a unique and beautiful property,” said Jen Bratsch, Recreation Forester with Bayfield County Forestry and Parks. “Bayfield County is excited for the opportunity to partner with Landmark Conservancy in the preservation and management of such a diverse and ecologically important landscape.”


Swenson-Surowiec Family