By Whitney Smith, guide at Door County Kayak Tours. Whitney recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration.
Quiet recreational activities such as kayaking provide an excellent, alternative and sustainable way to enjoy the outdoors. Because the kayak does not leave a wake in its trail, this kind of recreation has a relatively low direct environmental impact. Kayaking gives us a great opportunity to enjoy significant, but sensitive, wetlands.
Wetlands serve as imperative habitat for the biosphere. Not only do they function as migratory grounds for a diverse spectrum of birds and marine life, wetlands also increase the water quality for various freshwater systems, clean the air, and combat climate change. In addition to being an essential component to the natural environment, wetlands are also important to developed areas, especially those surrounded by rivers and streams, because they pose as flood mitigation.
Due to various factors such as development, habitat fragmentation and urban sprawl, Wisconsin has lost an estimated 47% of its wetlands, with some areas as high as 75%, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. One way to combat wetlands loss is by increasing the awareness of the significance of wetlands and wetlands restoration.
Being exposed to the wetlands means being able to appreciate them that much more. Door County’s wetlands, considered globally significant by the international treaty under the Ramsar Convention of 2015, are pristine coastal environments. Logan Creek, managed by The Ridges Sanctuary, is home to a 5.4 mile creek jutting through Northern Wet-Mesic Forest and into Clark Lake. This area is a fantastic example of some of the unique geological formations in Door County, Wisconsin. Logan Creek is part of the Clark Lake watershed system, including twelve sensitive, Designated Critical Habitat areas along the shores of Logan Creek, Lost Lake and Clark Lake.
Door County Kayak Tours is proud to provide families and individuals the opportunity to experience Door County’s wetland environments, especially including Logan Creek State Natural Area. The wetlands tour involves a lake experience, contrasted by a creek experience. While Whitefish Dunes State Park can be seen from Clark Lake, the real experience is being surrounded by pristine wetland forest.
Getting people exposed to these unique environments is one step toward preserving the paramount habitat.
To learn more about what you can do to protect your local waterways, visit www.americancanoe.org/StreamtoSea