, Door County, Wisconsin
Kangaroo Lake , Door County, Wisconsin © Mark Godfrey/TNC

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.


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.

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.

What to See: Plants

Large lowland forest at the lake's north end: white cedar and black ash, with lesser numbers of tamarack, black spruce and balsam fir.

  • Wildflowers: goldthread, naked miterwort, dewberry and starflower.
  • Dolomite plateau west of the lake: the forest here is dominated by sugar maple, beech, white birch and red oak.
  • Small peninsula in the north basin: Canada yew, a regionally declining species.

What to See: Birds and Insects

The Kangaroo Lake/Peil Creek area provides habitat for several rare species:

  • Bald eagle
  • Black terns
  • Caspian terns
  • Dorcas copper butterfly
  • Osprey
  • Hine's emerald dragonfly (Peil Creek is one of less than 15 sites worldwide where this federally endangered species can be found.)

The marshes at the north end of the lake serve as an important breeding and migrational staging site for sandhill cranes, Canada geese and other waterfowl.

During the breeding season, blue-winged and golden-winged warblers have been spotted in an old beaver meadow about a mile north of Kangaroo Lake.


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.