Vision for the Future
Conservation of Wetlands
The North Pikes Creek headwaters’ properties are characterized by alder thickets, upland and wetland forests, year-round springs, seeps, ephemeral ponds, a trout stream, and beaver ponds. These wetlands play a crucial role in the ecosystem by preventing flooding and bank erosion, by cleaning and filtering water that enters the local aquifer, and by providing habitat for many species of plants and animals. Protecting the wetland properties surrounding North Pikes Creek from fragmentation or conversion will ensure that the wetlands continue to protect and buffer the lower creek, and Lake Superior, from siltation and degradation. According to the WDNR, wetland habitats support 32% of the state’s threatened and endangered species. Wisconsin has lost nearly 50% of its original wetlands, so any further loss or degradation of wetlands would affect a disproportionate segment of Wisconsin's rare species. With only half of Wisconsin’s original wetlands remaining, the importance of preserving intact, high quality wetland habitat to benefit those species that depend on them for their survival becomes even more critical. The Friends of the North Pikes Creek Wetlands are dedicated to protecting the healthy, intact wetlands surrounding North Pikes Creek, using best scientific management principles to maintain or improve their health, and educating the community about their importance.
The Friends are working to enhance the site to provide safe access to a portion of the wetland for educational use by local K-12 schoolchildren, and for nature-based recreational use by community members of all ages and physical abilities. This area has been aptly named “Beaver Hollow,” and has been improved for community access with the addition of a safe, off road parking loop capable of accommodating a full-sized school bus, a wheelchair accessible walkway to a small, open-sided pavilion with six picnic tables to accommodate outdoor classroom work and educational events, and an accessible boardwalk with a viewing platform across from a heron rookery. Work planned for later this year include an information kiosk, interpretive signage, additional boardwalk ending at a beaver pond and viewing platform, and an electric burn toilet.
Educational Opportunities at Beaver Hollow
Local K-12 schools, youth and community groups, conservation organizations, and CORE Community Resources will use Beaver Hollow as an outdoor education classroom and living laboratory. The proximity of the Bayfield School to Beaver Hollow makes site use during class time convenient. Possible stewardship projects for classes, school groups, youth groups and other community groups include:
- Assisting with property vegetation mapping
- Assisting with management plan
- Alder regeneration
- Planting native trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs
- Water quality testing
- Macroinvertebrate collection and identification
- Wildlife species documentation
- Assisting with boardwalk and viewing platform construction
- Construction and placement of bat houses
- Construction and installation of Wood Duck boxes and Mallard hen houses
- Design, construction and placement of bilingual interpretive signage in English and Ojibwe
- Painting and drawing
- Bird watching and species documentation
- Winter exploration on snowshoes
The Friends will encourage and facilitate these educational efforts in order to actively nurture the next generation of environmental stewards.
“If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it.” ~David Sobel