Conservancy Lands– the Special Places of Green Lake
While not all the Green Lake Conservancy Lands have public access, there are 15 of these special places that do. These properties feature scenic vistas and sweeping lake views. You can enjoy hiking, biking, paddling or birding on these trails through uplands and wetlands. See wildlife and plants in their native habitat and relax in the peacefulness of nature. View the map below for each location and click on the loocation numbers to read a brief description of the property.
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Click on the numbers on the map for more information about each property.
Winnebago Trail Conservancy
Assembly Creek and Springs
This property, which includes 1,100 feet of Green Lake frontage, was purchased from the Green Lake Conference Center. Hammer’s Trail, a two-thirds mile walking loop, includes six bridges over several creeks and springs. These waterways merge into Assembly Creek, which flows into Norwegian Bay of Green Lake. Ongoing management of the site by “Green Team” volunteers includes removal of invasive plants, like European buckthorn and Oriental bittersweet, both ecologically invasive introductions that can crowd out native plants.
Norwegian Bay Wetlands
Norwegian Bay Wetlands includes the largest area of contiguous wetlands on Green Lake. The wetlands complex and adjacent bay provide a vital spawn area for fish and habitat for a variety of wildlife, including songbirds and amphibians. This conservancy property also provides valuable ecosystem services such as water purification, carbon storage, habitat for biodiversity, and flood prevention. A boardwalk winds through the wetlands to the shore of Green Lake. The trailhead can be accessed from Bay Road. The site can also be accessed by boat from Norwegian Bay.
Blackbird Point Wetlands
The property features cattail marsh and lowland forest off the east side of Blackbird Point Road, north of McAfee Road. These wetlands help provide a buffer for the waters of Green Lake, as well as a home for native wetland biodiversity. There is no established trail, but the woods can be explored.
Wick Nature Preserve
Wick Nature Preserve protects 3.2 acres of southern oak forest and wetlands, which store and filter surface water runoff before it drains into Green Lake. Intensive efforts have removed invasive buckthorn from the forest. There are no established trails, but visitors are welcome to explore the woods.
Formerly known as Camp Grow (and prior to that a Boy Scout camp – Camp Tichora), this property was acquired in 2018 and includes shoreline on both Green Lake and Spring Lake. The buildings have been removed, and the site is being restored to a natural state – and includes hiking and biking trails.
Tuleta Hill Prairie
Previously farmland, the 7.5 acres Tuleta Hill Prairie is being restored to prairie and oak savanna. The prairie features a half-mile mowed walking trail, with sitting benches for taking in the natural beauty of the area.
Powell Spring Conservancy
Powell Spring Conservancy is the home to one of the largest springs feeding Green Lake. This property was recently acquired by the Green Lake Conservancy and will have future public access.
Formerly owned by S. D. Mitchell, this spectacular site was formed 12,000 years ago when post-glacial meltwater eroded the sandstone bedrock, resulting in a steep-sided and timbered gorge. Mitchell Glen supports one of the few maple-basswood climax forests in Green Lake County. The unique geological formations and spring-fed stream are part of a high-quality corridor that supports outstanding biodiversity. The shaded sandstone cliffs with cold-air drainage and springs at the base of the gorge render a moist, cool microclimate that sustains certain plant species more typical of northern Wisconsin. Please note: this property is accessible only during two annual guided hikes.
Silver Point Wetlands
Silver Point consists of a narrow band of wetlands that extends along the Silver Creek Inlet and Highway A near Sunset County Park, and is part of the Silver Creek Water Trail. The land protects 1,500 feet of shoreline and is directly across the Inlet from the Sugar Island Wetlands.
Sugar Island Wetlands
Located near the east end of Green Lake, this property protects 30+ acres of shoreland habitat on Silver Creek. The property includes submerged and emergent marsh, shrub-carr, lowland forest, and Sugar Island – a wooded peninsula where the Ho-Chunk Nation made maple sugar. It has served as a location for the Green Team’s Moonlight Walk.
Pool's Hill Nature Preserve
Part of the Green Lake Conservancy’s Silver Creek Water Trail, Pools Hill Nature Preserve contains a wetlands complex that includes wooded openings and rare fen habitat. Pools Hill is only accessible by water (by boat or ice), and is a part of the Silver Creek Water Trail.
Spaulding's Bridge Landing
Canoeists and kayakers use the landing to launch as they follow the Conservancy’s Silver Creek Water Trail on Green Lake’s largest tributary, Silver Creek. This small parcel was acquired by a family with a larger piece of land on the Silver Creek. It was a bit problematic because the public had always used it as an unofficial access to the creek, so it was difficult to manage from an unauthorized use standpoint. The landowners were approached by a Boy Scout hoping to install a fishing pier for an Eagle Scout project. The liability was a concern until the landowners’ father suggested contacting the Green Lake Conservancy. A win-win deal was struck, allowing a transfer of the property as long as the Conservancy would allow the Eagle Scout to install the pier.
Sunnyside Conservancy, now protected in perpetuity, was slated for residential development in the early 1960s. Fortunately, the property has become a popular site for hiking, skiing, and birdwatching, and is managed for protection and enhancement of native biodiversity. Located along Silver Creek Inlet, the Sunnyside Conservancy contains a mixture of woods and restored prairie, with several man-made channels. The total shoreline in this conservancy is more than a mile. Walking trails extend from the parking area along Lakeview Drive, or it may be accessed by boat via Silver Creek Inlet as a part of the Silver Creek Water Trail.
Forest Avenue Oak Savanna
Located in the City of Green Lake, a portion of this land was restored from a previous commercial property to native oak savanna, the dominant vegetation community of the Green Lake region prior to European settlement.
The Silver Creek Water Trail
Extending along Silver Creek Inlet, this water trail allows access for canoe and kayak paddlers to five different Conservancy properties – Spaulding’s Bridge, Sunnyside Conservancy, Pools Hill, Sugar Island Wetlands, and Silver Point Wetlands. Launch points are available at Spaulding’s Bridge Landing and the Green Lake Sailing School, located in Sunset Park.
Protect Your Own Land
The state of Wisconsin has recognized that individual communities do an excellent job of identifying places worthy of protection.
Additionally, the state has facilitated private land stewardship by legislation that helps landowners maintain the right to enjoy what is special about their property while decreasing their tax burden and allowing them to realize some financial gain from their good stewardship.