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GLIN==> Explore a State Natural Area Along the Shore of Lake Superior: June 4



Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Natural Resources Foundation of WI, Inland Sea Society, and Friends of South Shore Estuaries invite you to….

 

Explore a State Natural Area Along the Shore of Lake Superior:
Bark Bay Slough, Lost Creek Bog and Port Wing Boreal Forest

Saturday, June 4, 9:00 am - 12:30 pm, Bayfield County
Call Wisconsin Wetlands Association to register: 608-250-9971

The shore of Lake Superior has a wealth of unique, beautiful, and ecologically significant wetlands. This event will provide the opportunity to choose your own adventure and explore one of three State Natural Areas along the shore of Lake Superior in Bayfield County. Paddle through Bark Bay Slough with Jim Meeker (bring your own canoe or kayak), trek around Lost Creek Bog with Gus Smith, or hike through Port Wing Boreal Forest with Tom Gerstenberger. We will gather in Cornucopia for an introduction and then divide into three groups before heading out to the three sites. Read about the trip that is planned for each sites below.

Directions to Meeting Location
Meet at 9:00 am at Siskiwit Bay Coffee & Curiosities in Cornucopia. From Ashland, take US-2 west to WI-13 and turn right (north). Go about 6 miles and turn left onto CR-C.  Take C ~20 miles into Cornucopia and turn right onto Superior Ave. Siskiwit Bay Coffee & Curiosities is located at 88610 Superior Ave.


Paddling Trip in Bark Bay Slough State Natural Area
Field trip leader: Jim Meeker, Associate Professor of Natural Resources/Biology, Northland College
Bring your own canoe or kayak
Limited space; call WWA to register: 608-250-9971

Trip Description
We will talk about the types of coastal wetland habitat in Bark Bay and the transition from coastal peatland to coastal marsh. This will be a canoe trip so participants must bring their own canoes - no canoes will be provided. A maximum of 6 canoes (12 participants) will be allowed on this trip. Bring binoculars, sunscreen, water, and associated canoe gear.

General Site description
Bark Bay Slough consists of a coastal barrier spit, lagoon, springs, and wetlands occupying an embayment between two rocky headlands along Lake Superior. The wetlands are extensive and include two major types: coastal fen and coastal bog. Both communities are floristically diverse, in excellent condition, and support many rare species, including Michaux's sedge (Carex michauxiana), downy willow-herb (Epilobium strictum), and dragon's-mouth orchid (Arethusa bulbosa). The sandy, 2-mile long barrier spit contains red pine and white pine with an understory of blueberry, bearberry, alder, sweet gale, and beach grasses. A large lagoon occupies the center of the site and supports submergent and floating-leaved aquatic plants. Together, the wetlands and 28-acre lagoon form a bay-mouth bar lake. The shallow (8 foot maximum depth), hardwater lake supports mostly panfish and northern pike. The Bark River, and a spring complex on the eastern end of the natural area supply water to the lake and wetlands. Birds present during the breeding season include bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), merlin (Falco columbarius), northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), yellow rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis), sandhill crane, Brewer's blackbird, and American bittern (Botaurus lentaginosus). Substantial numbers of migrating shorebirds make use of the property. Bark Bay Slough is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1977.

Directions to this SNA
>From Herbster in Bayfield County, go northeast on State Highway 13 3.5 miles, then north and west on Bark Bay Road 0.5 mile to a boat landing east of the road. NOTE: Start location for this trip is the Siskiwit Bay Coffee & Curiosities in Cornucopia (directions above).


 

Found! Lost Creek Bog State Natural Area
Field trip leader: Gus Smith
Call WWA to register: 608-250-9971

Trip Description
We’ll hike into lost creek slough, get our feet wet, take off our boots and feel the moss and the support of years and years of build up of organic material. We will walk and talk about the development of bogs, plants and animals that live there and the importance of protection. We’ll end the hike on the blueberry lane beach on Lake Superior. Bring binoculars and field guides if you have them, and shoes that can get wet. Hiking will be easy but on uneven ground.

General Site description
Lost Creek Bog features a Lake Superior estuarine system at the drowned mouths of three small creeks (Lost Creek 1, 2, and 3) where they empty into Siskiwit Bay. A coastal barrier sand spit forested with spruce and pine separates the wetlands from the lake. Shore fen, grading to open sedge bog, shrub swamp, and northern wet forest dominated by tamarack are the major communities in the natural area. Flora of the marsh is composed of lake sedge, water arum, marsh cinquefoil, and cat-tail. Bur-reed, water milfoil, yellow water-lily, common bladderwort, and pondweeds are among the submergent and floating-leaved species in the marsh. Several rare plants and animals have been recorded in the natural area, including dragon's-mouth orchid (Arethusa bulbosa), livid sedge (Carex livida), Hooker’s orchid (Platanthera hookeri), bog fritillary butterfly (Boloria eunomia), bog copper butterfly (Lycaena epixanthe), and the largest known Wisconsin population of the state-endangered lake cress (Armoracia lacustris). Uncommon nesting birds recorded here are yellow-bellied flycatcher, evening grosbeak and merlin. Migratory waterfowl and other water birds make extensive use the site. Lost Creek Bog is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1993

Directions to this SNA
At the junction State Highway 13 and County Highway C in Cornucopia, go west on Blueberry Lane about 1.3 miles to a parking area and a canoe landing on the left. The northern portion of the bog is directly accessible from the parking area. The remainder of the wetland is best accessed by canoe. Uplands are accessible adjacent to Highway 13 on the south or Roman Point Road on the west. NOTE: Start location for this trip is the Siskiwit Bay Coffee & Curiosities in Cornucopia (directions above).


 

Port Wing Boreal Forest State Natural Area
Field trip leader: Tom Gerstenberger, Retired Educator
Call WWA to register: 608-250-9971

Trip Description
During this hike participants will learn about the northern boreal forest, bog, and Lake Superior beach line at Port Wing SNA, as well as the history of the old quarries next to this site. Port Wing Boreal Forest is home to many unique nesting birds, so binoculars are recommended. Also, due to the terrain, rubber boots (i.e., knee boots) are highly recommended...or at least dry set of shoes for after the hike!

General Site description
Port Wing Boreal Forest encompasses two areas of northern dry-mesic forest on sand spits inland from the present Lake Superior shoreline. The forest has distinct boreal characteristics. Large white and red pines (to 30 inch diameter) form a canopy over white spruce, balsam fir, red maple, white birch, mountain maple, yellow birch, and white cedar. The ground layer contains blueberries, twinflower, yellow blue-bead-lily, large-leaved aster, three-leaved gold-thread, and several club-mosses. Resident birds in the forest are very diverse and include veery, solitary vireo, northern parula, blackburnian warbler, redstart, purple finch, and white-throated sparrow. Between the forested sand spit and the beach to the north is a wetland complex of northern sedge meadow, shrub swamp and bog containing typical bog species such as pitcher plant, sundews, bladderworts, and sedges. Alder thickets are found around the bog. The wetlands are an extension of the estuary of the Flag River, the watercourse that separates the two natural area units. Two rare plants and two rare invertebrates inhabit the wetlands: leafy white orchis (Platanthera dilatata), common bog arrow-grass (Triglochin maritima), black meadowhawk dragonfly (Sympetrum danae) and bog copper butterfly (Lycaena epixanthe). The 20-acre beach and dune complex along the Lake Superior shoreline is dominated by marram grass, blue-joint, Canada wild rye, beach pea, and sand cherry. The beach is used extensively by shorebirds and waterfowl. Port Wing Boreal Forest is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1979.

Directions to this SNA
For the east unit: from the intersection of County Highway A and State Highway 13 in Port Wing, go east on 13 about 1.6 miles, then west on Lakeview Road 0.2 miles, then north on Big Pete Road about 0.5 miles to Lake Superior. For the west unit: from the intersection of Washington Avenue and 13 in Port Wing, go north on Washington Avenue 0.6 miles, then west on Quarry Road about 1 mile, then north on Point Road 0.25 miles to a parking area. NOTE: Start location for this trip is the Siskiwit Bay Coffee & Curiosities in Cornucopia (directions above).