A lake with lily pads and grasses
Kangaroo Lake , Door County, Wisconsin © Mark Godfrey/TNC

Places We Protect

Kangaroo Lake

Wisconsin

This preserve is a picturesque spot for hiking, canoeing or bird watching.

Why You Should Visit

Kangaroo Lake is a large, shallow lake surrounded by marshes, lowland forests and rocky outcrops.  The beautiful natural shoreline makes the preserve a picturesque spot for hiking, canoeing or bird watching.

The marshes are filled with wire sedge, bullrushes, and white and yellow water lilies.

In spring, the dolomite plateau west of the lake features a rich display of wildflowers.

Conditions

The wetlands are best viewed from a canoe.  Best hiking trail is at the Judy Abert Meissner Memorial Wetlands Preserve.

Why The Nature Conservancy Selected This Site

Many of Wisconsin's lakes are surrounded by homes.  But the north end of Kangaroo Lake offers TNC and its partners an opportunity to preserve a lake and shoreline in its natural condition.

Thanks largely to its extensive shoreline marshes and surrounding lowland forests, the lake's north end, unlike the south end, has never been developed.

The Kangaroo Lake Preserve is one of four preserves owned and managed by TNC in Door County that is home to the rare Hine's emerald dragonfly. Door County hosts the greatest abundance of this federally-endangered dragonfly in the world, and TNC is working with scientists and other partners to learn more about the dragonfly and protect its habitat. 

What TNC Has Done/Is Doing

In 1995 TNC acquired 117 acres at the lake's north end.  In 1996, we transferred 57 acres to the Door County Land Trust for long-term protection and management.

In 2005, TNC purchased a critical wetland parcel in the headwaters of Kangaroo Lake.  The 42-acre parcel is located on Peil Creek in Gibraltar Township and is a major source of the headwater wetlands feeding Kangaroo Lake.  The acquisition was made possible by a generous gift from the family of Judy Abert Meissner and the parcel was named the Judy Abert Meissner Memorial Wetlands Preserve in her memory.  There is a nice walking trail on the property.

To protect the north basin, TNC is working with two local conservation organizations, the Door County Land Trust and the Kangaroo Lake Association.  Grants from the State of Wisconsin and Ducks Unlimited have funded land acquisition.

TNC and the Kangaroo Lake Association are collaborating on a project called “Fish Sticks,” which will provide fish habitat and reduce shoreline erosion. Fish sticks are mid-sized trees that have been harvested elsewhere, transported to the lake and placed in the near shore, shallow water where they are then anchored to the shoreline.

The partially submerged trees will provide habitat for many fish and invertebrates in the lake, protect the shoreline from wave erosion, provide calmer waters where submerged plants can get established, providing even more habitat for fish, frogs, turtles, dragonflies and many lakeshore birds.

Where To Go

The Kangaroo Lake Preserve is best enjoyed either from canoe or kayak off the County Road EE causeway or by walking the trail at the Judy Abert Meissner Memorial Wetland Preserve off South Highland Road.

What to See: Plants

The extensive emergent marsh and sedge meadow at the north end of the lake:

  • Bog buckbean; pitcher plant, horned bladderwort, many rushes and sedges.

Hardwood forest of red oak, sugar maple and white birch on bedrock upland west of the lake:

  • White trilliums, spring beauty, trout lily, maiden hair fern.

Lowland white cedar, tamarack, balsam fir forest north and east of lake:

  • Starflower, dewberry, goldthread, Canada mayflower.

What to See: Animals

The Kangaroo Lake/Peil Creek area provides habitat for Hine's emerald dragonfly. Peil Creek is one of less than 15 sites worldwide where this federally endangered species can be found.

Open water of the north end of Kangaroo Lake:

  • Osprey, bald eagle, Caspian tern, migratory diving and puddle ducks, snapping turtle, longnose gar, bowfin, sunfish.

The extensive emergent marsh and sedge meadow at the north end of the lake:

  • Sandhill cranes, American bittern, marsh wren, Virginia and sora rails; spring peepers, leopard frogs, Dorcas copper butterfly.

Hardwood forest of red oak, sugar maple and white birch on bedrock upland west of the lake:

  • Red-eyed vireo, great-crested flycatcher, many Neo-tropical migratory birds, woodland butterflies.

Lowland white cedar, tamarack, balsam fir forest bordering the marsh and lake shore north and east of lake:

  • Nashville, black-throated green, and black and white warblers, fisher, mink,

Plan Your Visit

For more information about visiting the preserve, please follow the links below:

All of our preserve maps are now georeferenced. You can download an app on your Apple or Android device, and it will allow you to view your location, record GPS tracks, add placemarks and find places.