Land Trust buys property for 32nd preserve

Ozaukee-Washington organization acquires Town of Saukville land highlighted by bog, unique glacial features for 104-acre natural area

ALTHOUGH MANY OF the unique aspects of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust’s latest acquisition, a 30-acre site off Highway Y in the Town of Saukville, are hidden under snow right now, the wide variety of trees and quiet of nature offer a sense of its importance. Land Trust Executive Director Tom Stolp stood at a sign near the entrance to the preserve, which was purchased from Dave and Karen Kinnamon last month. The couple, who have spent almost 50 years restoring and maintaining the land, have sold the Land Trust a total of 104 acres. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

For nearly 50 years, Dave and Karen Kinnamon have lovingly tended their Town of Saukville property.

They bought the land in the 1970s and invested time and money to preserve it privately, clearing it by hand until the former owner felt bad for them and came over with a tractor to help, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Executive Director Tom Stolp said.

In the process, they turned a former corn field into a high-quality prairie with more than 80 species of flowering plants and grasses, removing invasive plants and even setting up a one-acre spring-fed pond as a hatchery they stocked with native fish. The rolling land is prime wildlife habitat and home to an array of trees, including beech, white birch, yellow birch, cedar, shag bark hickory and tamarack that, in turn provide refuge to migratory warblers and other birds, Stolp said. 

The land, which is at the headwaters of the Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area — Cedar Creek and is a great example of a white cedar and tamarack bog, also has some unique landscape features, including a prime example of a glacial esker or serpent kame — a long, narrow winding ridge shaped by glacial deposits of sand and gravel.

And now that property off Highway Y on the far west side of Ozaukee County will be preserved in perpetuity. The Kinnamons sold 30 acres to the Land Trust on Feb. 21, complementing a 74-acre parcel they sold to the organization two years ago.

“We’re pretty excited about this,” Stolp said, noting this is the 32nd nature preserve held by the Land Trust.

“One of our primary considerations in partnering with the Land Trust was that this property, which has remained undisturbed during our 47 years of ownership, will be carefully tended by talented and dedicated stewards,” Mr. Kinnamon said.

The Land Trust has already worked with the couple to deal with invasive species, he said, adding, “that is the kind of hands-on care we are elated and grateful to have.”

The Kinnamon property, along with 60 acres previously owned by Ed and Janet Beimborn and a 110-acre privately owned property protected through a conservation easement held by the Land Trust, means the organization now protects 274 acres of “significant habitat and scenic beauty” in the Cedar Sauk project area, Stolp said.

The land will not only be protected, he said, it will — with the exception of the privately held parcel — also be open to the public. Trails will be cut and informational kiosks installed to make it easier for people to access and enjoy the natural features.

The preserve hasn’t been formally named yet but is informally known as the County Line Preserve, given its location on the Ozaukee-Washington county line, and as Cedar Sauk Woodlands, Director of Development Tom Mlada said.

“It’s a really special piece of land,” Mlada said. “The goal is for the public to understand this isn’t just our special place but their special place, too.”

The property was purchased in large part with funds from the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s Greenseams Program, Stolp said.

The new preserve amounts to a legacy not only for the Kinnamon and Beimborn families but also of Steve Seyfert, the Land Trust’s first director, who sowed the seeds of the acquisition by talking to the families about preservation decades ago, Stolp added.

“It’s an enduring legacy that this land is going to be protected forever,” he said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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