Interior forest scene of land TNC donated at Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands State Natural Area with large conifer trees, saplings and downed logs on forest floor
Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest: TNC’s donation of 362 acres to the State of Wisconsin almost doubles the size of this unique and diverse State Natural Area and improves public access. © Thomas Meyer/WDNR


The Nature Conservancy Donates Door County Natural Area to State

Madison, WI

The Nature Conservancy announced today that it will donate 362 acres of gently rolling coastal boreal forest in Door County to the State of Wisconsin to be included in the Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands State Natural Area.  The Natural Resources Board voted to accept the land at its June 26th meeting in Barneveld.

The addition almost doubles the size of this unique and diverse natural area. It also improves public access to the State Natural Area (SNA) by connecting formerly-isolated parcels of land.

“We are especially pleased to donate this land to the State and the people of Wisconsin,” says Mary Jean Huston, who directs The Nature Conservancy’s work in Wisconsin. “The property was acquired in part with funds from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program—the nationally-renowned public-private partnership dedicated to conserving our lands, waters, and wildlife habitats for future generations—as well as a grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”

“The land is in the heart of the Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands State Natural Area, and it was a privilege for The Nature Conservancy to acquire this property in trust from Mary Henson, a dedicated conservationist,” adds Huston. “The land is bordered on all sides by land already owned and managed by the DNR; bringing it all together will allow DNR staff to manage the SNA more efficiently.”

The Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands State Natural Area is within the Door Peninsula Coastal Wetlands Ramsar site, a globally important wetland. Influenced by its location on Lake Michigan and the resulting local climate, the SNA is a landscape where northern plants, animals and forests can thrive far south of where they are normally found.

“Many birds depend on this area during the breeding season and as a stopover site where they can rest and feed during migration,” says Mike Grimm, Nature Conservancy conservation ecologist based in Sturgeon Bay. “Birds like the red-shouldered hawk, wood thrush and Blackburnian warbler need large expanses of habitat, and the addition of this parcel to the State Natural Area will allow these birds and mammals with similar requirements to inhabit this part of Door County into the future.”

“The DNR is an experienced, skilled steward of many important conservation lands in Door County,” says Huston. “Their ability to manage the expanded Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands State Natural Area more holistically will help promote the recovery of rare plant and animal species. It will also protect groundwater replenishment areas in nearby wetlands known to support the federally-endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries and territories: 38 by direct conservation impact and 34 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.