Since the good news of the permanent conservation of the Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs' 134 acres of Lake Michigan natural area has spread, well wishes have been pouring into Ozaukee Washington Land Trust and many of you are eager to know what is next?
It is like the iconic moment when a championship game ends and the MVP is asked, “You just won the big game, what are you going to do next?”
Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs is already in the expert management of the Ozaukee County parks system. Restoration of the land begins this month when a cover crop will be installed to improve the soil health and bring the land back to a natural state. We are looking forward to working with the county to install public access to the preserve as soon as practical. The Land Trust will hold a conservation easement to forever protect the conservation values of this property.
Unlike professional athletes, our community’s victory doesn’t give way to a restful off-season and the proverbial trip to Disneyland.
In fact, while our community and staff were mostly occupied with the effort to get Cedar Gorge across the goal line, a large contingent of our stewardship volunteers and professional team members were competing in the never-ending game of protecting habitat. This dream team was making sure we didn’t drop the ball on major conservation efforts across our 35 other nature preserves and 7,500 acres of conserved lands.
So, while the accomplishment of protecting this Lake Michigan gem deservedly has many walking on air, our boots were always firmly on the ground; especially the mud-caked boots of our professional Stewardship team and volunteers. Their significant teamwork included trail and parking lot improvements at Donges Bay Gorge to a month-long intensive habitat restoration residency at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve.
With your support, this teamwork makes the dream of protecting water quality, preserving critical wildlife habitat, and delivering meaningful community outdoor-based recreation work 365 days a year!
Tom Stolp, Executive Director