and Lake Michigan combine to form this freshwater estuary, Door County, Wisconsin.
Waters from the Mink River and Lake Michigan combine to form this freshwater estuary, Door County, Wisconsin. © Clint Farlinger

Places We Protect

Door Peninsula

Wisconsin

This slender limestone peninsula in Lake Michigan harbors rocky cliffs, beaches, fertile wetlands, conifer forests and other habitats for plants and wildlife.

Overview

A slender limestone peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan, the Door Peninsula is well-known in Wisconsin and beyond for its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Its rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, marshy bays, fertile wetlands, and conifer forests provide habitat for plants and animals, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. The limestone that forms the rugged backbone of the peninsula is part of the Niagara Escarpment, an impressive work of geologic artistry that covers several states and two countries.

Who We Are

The Nature Conservancy is a leading global conservation organization working around the world to protect the land and water on which all life depends.

The Nature Conservancy has been working to protect wild places and wildlife on the Door Peninsula since 1962, when we provided a loan to The Ridges Sanctuary to help them acquire 10 acres of land and add it to the sanctuary. We continue to work with partners to protect the exceptional diversity of plants and animals that inhabit the coastal wetland landscapes at places like Mink River Estuary and Shivering Sands Preserve. 

Our Conservation Goals

Working with local communities to protect natural areas on the peninsula while balancing human needs and economic health in the region.

  • Working with other organizations concerned with health of natural areas on the peninsula, including Door County Land Trust, The Ridges, and state and local governments.
  • Managing our preserves to support healthy populations of native plants and wildlife.
  • Providing information about the plants and animals of the peninsula to area residents and other interested parties.

How We Accomplish Our Goals

  • Building partnerships with individuals, governmental agencies, other non-profits, and the business community to find ways to reduce the impact of unplanned development, improper forest management, run-off from agricultural fields, and invasive species that threaten the natural resources of the peninsula.
  • Working with private landowners towards common goals for the protection of this ecologically unique area. Some ways we work with landowners include land acquisition, conservation easements, and land management techniques.
  • We helped start and continue to participate on the Door County Invasive Species Team, a group of natural resources professionals and interested members of the public that work together to control the infestation and spread of invasive species in Door County. Learn more about DCIST.

Conservancy Natural Areas on the Door Peninsula

The Conservancy owns 4,792 acres at five preserves on the Door Peninsula, including:

The Conservancy has helped protect a total of 7,572 acres on the Door Peninsula at these four preserves and at other places like Bayshore Blufflands, Toft Point, Jackson Harbor Ridges, Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest, Ida Bay Forest, Chambers Island, Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp and Whitefish Dunes State Park. This figure includes lands owned and managed by the Conservancy, conservation easements, government co-ops and assists.

How You Can Get Involved

If you are interested in volunteering to help with land management, please contact our Door Peninsula office in Sturgeon Bay at 920/743-8695 to be added to our email list for notification of land stewardship work parties, which are usually held every other Tuesday.

Most Nature Conservancy preserves are open for hiking, bird-watching, nature study, photography and other low-impact recreating opportunities. Hunting is allowed at many preserves. For more information on hunting opportunities please see our hunting program web page.

Northeast Wisconsin Staff

Joy Bastian, Northeast Wisconsin Project Assistant
Mike Grimm, Conservation Ecologist
Kari Hagenow, Door Peninsula Land Steward
Nicole Van Helden, Director of Conservation-Green Bay Watershed

If you have any questions about The Nature Conservancy's Door Peninsula project, please call us at (920) 743-8695 or stop by our office in Sturgeon Bay.