Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Kangaroo Lake State Natural Area: Thomas Meyer

Kangaroo Lake State Natural Area
Thomas Meyer

August 2014

Wisconsin, naturally

Kangaroo Lake State Natural Area

Thomas A. Meyer, State Natural Areas Program

Notable: Kangaroo Lake rests in a trough–like depression of the Niagara Escarpment in what was once a bay of Lake Michigan when postglacial lake levels were higher. The shallow, marl–bottom lake is fed by Piel Creek, which originates from a series of alkaline springs a few miles upstream. The stream and surrounding wetlands are haunts for the federally endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly (Somatochlora hineana). A dolomite plateau punctuated with bedrock exposures and forested with beech, sugar maple and red oak is found on the western flank of the preserve. Wet–mesic forest of white cedar, black ash, tamarack, black spruce and balsam fir surround the north and east sides of the lake. Floating, fen–like sedge mats and emergent marsh are found closest to the water, vegetated with twig–rush, sedges, cotton–grass, meadowsweet and bog willow. Beds of bulrush and yellow pond–lily are common in the shallows, providing cover for a diversity of fish, amphibians and other aquatic animals. The marshy wetlands also provide important breeding and migratory habitat for black terns, sandhill cranes and waterfowl. The Nature Conservancy and Door County Land Trust have worked in partnership to acquire lands at the Kangaroo Lake preserve with funding provided, in part, by grants from the Knowles–Nelson Stewardship Program.

How to get there: From the junction of Highways 57 and F in Baileys Harbor, go south on 57 for 1.4 miles, then west on County Highway E for 2.4 miles, then north on North Maple Road 100 feet to a parking area. The parking area and trailhead are on the east side of the road. The wetlands are best viewed by canoe. Put in at the west end of the Highway E causeway. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search "Kangaroo Lake" for a map and more information.