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 same characteristics of the property that constitute its significant conservation values also make site access difficult for a greater part of the year. The Friends plan to enhance the site to provide safe access to a small portion of the wetland for educational use by local K-12 schoolchildren, and for passive recreation by the community. This area has been aptly named “Beaver Hollow,” and current plans for improvements at the site include the construction of a safe, off road parking loop capable of accommodating a full-sized school bus, a wheelchair accessible boardwalk with a viewing platform at a beaver pond, interpretive signage, an information kiosk, a small, open-sided pavilion to shelter a few picnic tables to accommodate outdoor classroom work, and a solar composting toilet.
Educational Opportunities at Beaver Hollow
Once safe access to the site has been established, the local K-12 schools and community groups 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 activities 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
- Pavilion design and construction
- Construction/installation of a kiosk
- 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
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