The Ridges Sanctuary is an unspoiled wild place that occupies just over 1,600 acres in two units along the eastern edge of the Door Peninsula, a rocky finger of land projecting northward into Lake Michigan. On the west side of the peninsula is the shallow water of Green bay, and on the east side is Lake Michigan, a deep and expansive inland sea.
The Peninsula itself is a ridge of dolomite limestone – part of the Niagara Escarpment that passes through east central Wisconsin, circles around the State of Michigan, and creates Niagara Falls in New York State.
The largest portion of The Ridges Sanctuary’s land, about 1,400 acres, is located on the north end of the bay of Baileys Harbor. Much of this area is made up of a series of low, sandy ridges, alternating with wet areas called swales. The ridges run parallel to the shoreline of Baileys Harbor, and extend inland about a mile. Cooling breezes from Lake Michigan help to sustain a boreal forest in The Ridges Sanctuary – a forest type that is more characteristic of most of Canada. This forest, in which white spruce and balsam fir predominate, continues around the northern rim of the Door Peninsula.
Many of the plants found in this portion of the Sanctuary are more typically found further north. However, they survive here because of the cooling effect of Lake Michigan.
The Ridges Sanctuary also manages the Logan Creek Property, a parcel of 170 acres located south of Jacksonport, on the north end of Clark Lake. This land is comprised of a variety of habitats, including upland hardwood forest, lowland cedar-hemlock forest, and frontage along Clark Lake and Logan Creek. Mature Beech, Hemlock and Sugar Maple trees are found throughout the property. Spring wildflowers are outstanding on this site, with Hepatica, Spring Beauty, Trilliums and Trout Lilies putting on a show from mid-April to the end of May. A trail system and parking lot have been developed on the site, at 5724 Loritz Road.