Why You Should Visit
At this preserve, you can hike through 500 acres of old-growth forest and explore nearly four miles of undeveloped shoreline on the pristine waters of Tenderfoot, Roach, and Mirror lakes.
For more information about the Guido Rahr, Sr. Tenderfoot Forest Reserve, call our Northwoods office at 715-388-7171.
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The Tenderfoot acquisition is significant because it protects 500 acres of old-growth hemlock-hardwood forest--the largest remaining expanse of old-growth forest in private ownership in Wisconsin. The preserve also protects more than four miles of undeveloped shoreline on three wild lakes in northern Wisconsin.
Tenderfoot is a critical link in a network of public and private forest lands that make up the Border Lakes Area, which spans about 24,000 acres in Vilas County. The area harbors white pines up to 400 years old and includes wetlands, spring-fed ponds, many wild lakes and streams.
The Border Lakes Area is also the headwaters of the Presque Isle and Ontonagon rivers. The Tenderfoot property contributes surface water and groundwater to both rivers, whose watersheds cover more than 1.25 million acres in Wisconsin and Michigan. Management of the land will play an important role in protecting water quality in these two important rivers.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
In October 2005, the Conservancy purchased the land from the Rahr family, which is originally from Manitowoc where they brewed beer and made malt for the beer industry. The family donated more than $1 million of the value of the land to the Conservancy in order to ensure that the property remains in its natural state for generations to come.
Prior to selling the land to the Conservancy, the Rahr family had owned and cared for it for more than 120 years. The preserve is named in honor of Guido Rahr, Sr., who served on the Wisconsin Conservation Commission for 23 years in the 1950s and 60s. During those years, his leadership and business experience were credited with making Wisconsin’s Conservation Department one of the most outstanding wildlife agencies in the nation.