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Renard Swamp Area

Back to Northern Lake Michigan

Counties: Door


Renard Swamp. Northern mesic forest. Photograph by NHI staff.

Site Description

Renard Swamp Area is privately owned by a youth camp and is located in southwestern Door County, along the eastern shore of Green Bay just north of Shoemaker Point. This site lies on mucky, wet soils not commonly found along the western shore of the Door Peninsula. It features a significant stand of hardwood swamp, with an associated older growth maple-basswood forest occurring on gravelly former beach ridges.

The hardwood swamp is a large, pure stand of 12" - 27" silver maple resembling a riverine floodplain forest, with a weedy understory of wood and stinging nettles. The level flatlands both northwest and southeast of the beach ridge have mixtures of silver maple, green ash, and cottonwood (reaching 27" d.b.h.).

The maple-basswood forest has a diversity of tree species in its canopy and a mesic groundlayer. There is no clear canopy dominant, as sugar and red maples, white birch, hemlock, ashes, ironwood, red and bur (or swamp white) oaks, and basswood are all frequent. Yew is common, forming large patches on the bayside of the beach ridges. Deer browse levels appear low throughout the site.

The only current use of the site is recreational, with the hiking trails receiving rather heavy use from the camp. Logging has not taken place in the recent past, though large old stumps are present. Dame's rocket, an invasive exotic plant, is present and its further spread at this site is a threat. A mixture of private forest lands and a youth camp border the site, but agricultural and residential uses dominate the surrounding landscape.

There is a high diversity of species at this site. However, agriculture has had significant impacts on Renard Creek.

Additional Comments

Although small and isolated, this site supports relatively intact and potentially viable examples of native communities, one of which is quite rare along this stretch of the Lake Michigan coast. Use by animals has not been documented, but virtually every patch of coastal forest provides important stopover habitat for migratory birds.

Text describing this site was published previously in a 2002 DNR publication entitled “A Data Compilation and Assessment of Coastal Wetlands of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes” by E.J. Epstein, A. Galvin and W.A. Smith.

NOAA logo Wisconsin Coastal Management Program logo This project was funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Last revised: Wed, 20 Jun 2012 17:21:12 CDT