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Contact information
For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Europe Bay Woods (No. 379)

Europe Bay Woods

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer

Resource links:

Newport State Park


Overview

Location

Within Newport State Park, Door County. T32N-R29E, Sections 8, 9, 17. 200 acres.

Description

Description

Europe Bay Woods is located on an undeveloped isthmus between Lake Michigan and Europe Lake featuring over one mile of Great Lakes dune and beach communities, red pine groves, boreal forest, and northern dry-mesic and mesic forest. The isthmus, once the ancient shoreline of Lake Michigan, was created through wave action resulting in sand and gravel deposition and today contains northern dry-mesic forest dominated by red pine and red oak with scattered hemlock, beech, and red maple. Common understory plants include beaked hazelnut, wild sarsaparilla, wintergreen, Canada mayflower, and rough-leaved rice grass. Also present is a mature mesic forest consisting of beech, sugar maple, red oak, and yellow birch on undulating topography. Along Lake Michigan is an undeveloped sand beach and low dunes grading to cobblestone beach and finally dolomite bedrock. The dunes contain extensive mats of bearberry and creeping juniper intermingled with rabbit-berry, sand cherry, and the state threatened prairie sand-reed (Calamovilfa longifolia var. magna). The area harbors numerous rare plants and animals including bird's-eye primrose (Primula mistassinica), dune goldenrod (Solidago simplex var. gillmanii), seaside spurge (Euphorbia polygonifolia), lesser fringed gentian (Gentianopsis procera), Lake Huron locust (Trimerotropis huroniana), and beach-dune tiger beetle (Cicindela hirticollis rhodensis). On gently sloping sandy soils is a boreal forest of balsam fir, white cedar, quaking aspen, white birch, and white spruce with white and red pine as the site grades into a forested ridge and swale community. Rare species include the federally threatened dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris), giant pinedrops (Pterospora andromedea), crawe sedge (Carex craweii), Cape May warbler (Dendroica tigrina), and black-throated blue warbler (Dendroica caerulescens). Europe Bay Woods is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.

Access

Driving directions

From Ellison Bay, go east on State Highway 42 about 2.3 miles to the broad curve to the north, then continue east on Europe Bay Road about 2 miles to town park along Lake Michigan. The natural area lies north of the road between Lake Michigan and Europe Lake and is accessible via the Hotz and Europe Bay hiking trails. A Wisconsin State Park sticker must be displayed on all vehicles entering the state park.

Ownership

Europe Bay Woods is owned by:

  • WDNR

Maps

The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities. Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details.

The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries.

Objectives

Site objectives

Manage the site as a reserve for northern dry-mesic/mesic forest, boreal forest and Great Lakes dune/alkaline beach, as a wetland protection and restoration site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the natural communities represented here.

Management approach

Native species are managed passively, allowing nature to determine the ecological characteristics. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, and maintenance of existing facilities. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.

Site-specific considerations

  • Site is within Newport State Park. Access is via park trails. Manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized when maintaining park trails within State Natural Area.

Recreation

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the "Access" tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

Allowable activities

In general, the activities listed below are allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted under the "Access" tab above and posted with signs on site.

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Hunting
  • Trapping

Prohibited activities

  • Camping and campfires
  • Collecting of animals (other than legally harvested species), non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead. Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
  • Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
  • Drone use, unless authorized by a SNA research permit
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]

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Last revised: Thursday, October 19, 2017