Just south of Jacksonport in Door County, off Highway 57, amid the Peninsula’s breathtaking beauty, lies a quiet, hidden refuge known as Logan Creek Natural Area. This 166-acre property lies west of Clark Lake and east of Lake Michigan, and is a designated Outstanding Water Resource containing a Class 1 trout stream fed by a complex of springs. Owned in trust by The Ridges Sanctuary, the Wisconsin DNR designated Logan Creek as a State Natural Area in 2007.
Sturgeon Bay resident and long-time environmental steward (2010 Champion of Champions) and Sevastopol educator/principal/superintendent Carl Scholz named Logan Creek as one of his favorite places. On a visit and tour with Scholz in early autumn, he delighted us with his stories and recollections leading to its special designation.
Situated along the north shore of Clark Lake, with more than 3,000 feet on the lake, Logan Creek features a lovely northern forest dominated by white cedar and black ash along with a variety of wildflowers. Pools between the hummocks reveal marsh marigolds and rare ferns and it hosts many breeding birds.
Once a year, Scholz likes to canoe the waters of Lost Creek with ponds that are full of fish. Lost Lake is the source of Logan Creek. Most of its water comes from natural springs near the property which contains the entire watershed.
When viewed from Mr. G’s Logan Creek Grille along Highway 57, standing on the bridge over the Creek we could see the watercress beneath the surface of the clear, cold water. The ridges and swales lie downstream from there, Scholz told us. Stepping onto that bridge and gazing upstream took us into another world seemingly miles away from the traffic on the nearby state highway.
“One day we may even see the trout come back,” he said, “but presently The Ridges doesn’t have enough resources. Residents used to get their drinking water from the abundant springs in the area. It could be kept as a brook trout sanctuary.”
Scholz said that in 2000, Lost Lake and Logan Creek were offered for a $10,000 easement. “The Logan Creek property would have been developed without its designation as a wildlife reserve. Owner Frank Butts, in the throes of a terminal illness and its financial hardship, had been offered a lucrative price from an out-of-the-area individual. He contacted me and asked…(me) to arrange a sale that would preserve his precious property. A few weeks prior, an anonymous donor had met with me and offered $100,000 for a Ridges project. I recommended to The Ridges board that we purchase the Butts’ land. With some dissention, the board agreed and the property line was drawn, without the buildings, and we offered $1,000 per acre for 112 acres total. Frank was pleased and finally gave sale approval on his death bed. I contacted The Nature Conservancy in Madison for a $100,000 loan and they wired us the money.”
“Frank was a good friend of mine who told me many times that his beautiful land in the Town of Jacksonport must be preserved for posterity. He was an avid conservationist who wanted the property to be accessible to everyone.”
The Shivering Sands, 4,000 acres of dunes and swales, runs beneath the Logan Creek property. The Door County Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy recognize its importance with its fine array of plants, avian species, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, as well as a variety of landscape communities. In 2005, the Land Legacy Report gave the Sands its highest rating for ‘lands of conservation importance.’ Its source is Lower Dunes Lake. “The Shivering Sands was the site of the oldest limnology study in the world,” Scholz explained. The Conservancy added about 600 acres to the site.
To get to the property from Highway 57 and County V in Jacksonport, head south on 57 2.6 miles and south on Loritz Road ¼ mile to the parking lot on the east side of the road.
If you’re out and about in Door County, seek out this quietly beautiful place. Walk or cross-country ski the trails at the Logan Creek property. Sit and let its beauty infuse you. Follow the boardwalk across its boggy area. It just may invigorate you and quiet your mind. In any case, you won’t want to miss it.