TRAIL NEWS:
  • Trails are clear, but muddy in places. Big Creek is full of sucker, Canada buffaloberry is in bloom, and in the evenings, woodcocks are dancing at the Astronomy Campus.

Looking Ahead: Seeps, Creeks and Skies

Visible Seeps at the Cove

“Where Waters Meet” is the 2023 educational theme of Crossroads at Big Creek. The phrase describes our preserve, where the waters of the Big Creek Watershed flow into The Cove Estuary, which in turn exchanges water with the Bay of Sturgeon Bay. Waters meet.

But other waters meet at Crossroads … and, actually, at most of the land above the Silurian Aquifer. Unlike many other regions where the distinction between ground water and surface water is relatively clear, here the distinction is muddy at best. 

Seeping Up and Down

At Crossroads, we can observe numerous places where ground water seeps into our creek and estuary. But the reverse also is true. The creek and our wetlands can be brimming with water after a heavy rain, but it rapidly drains through the shallow soil into the fractured bedrock below. During the dry spells this past summer, Big Creek would be running in places, then disappear; later and downstream, water returned to the surface.

Dr. Maureen Muldoon

This surface water/ ground water issue will be the topic when the Door County Environmental Council offers the program, “Why is the Silurian Dolomite Aquifer So Vulnerable to Contamination?” with speaker Dr. Maureen Muldoon. This free program will take place at the Collins Learning Center on September 13, at 7:00 p.m., either in person or on Zoom. A link can be found at www.dcec-wi.org.

Dr. Muldoon is a licensed professional geologist and hydrologist in Wisconsin. She will be talking about the hydrogeology of Door County’s Silurian dolomite aquifer and explaining what the implications are for water quality. Muldoon will discuss the impact of manure spreading in Kewaunee County, recent research from a site in southern Door County, and share an update on the airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey, which shows soil depth to bedrock.

A Confluence of Culture and Heritage

Waters also meet at the area we now call the Hanson Homestead, for at this place, water from Big Creek flows into The Cove Estuary. For at least two thousand years, people have lived, at least seasonally, in this resource-rich area, and in the 1850s, Hans and Bertha Hanson built a snug two-room log home at this place. Until mid-October, on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 2:30-4:30 p.m., the Hans and Bertha Hanson House will be open to the public. 

The barn near the home is currently undergoing major renovations. Crossroads is re-purposing the barn to be a research field station, but though we are reinforcing the structure, Crossroads volunteers and the construction team from Carlson Erickson are making every effort to retain the historical, and admittedly quirky construction character of the barn exterior.

Folks stopping by will enjoy watching the progress, but we ask that visitors park across Utah Street in The Cove Preserve parking area so as not to damage construction materials, impede progress or detract from the historical character of the area. We appreciate the cooperation.

Learning to Look Up

With the excitement garnered by the new telescope at the Leif Everson Observatory and the Dark Sky Park at Newport, interest in astronomy is skyrocketing on the Peninsula, and a number of community members are exploring the possibility of purchasing a telescope. This month, at the meeting of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society (DPAS), Steve Hellman will offer the program, “Introduction to Telescopes.” If the sky is clear, the meeting will end with naked-eye and telescope viewing. The program is free and open to the public. Meet at the Stonecipher Astronomy Center, 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay. All are welcome at this free meeting.

As always, our trails are open all day every day, free of charge. Check the Crossroads website calendar for details.

The Cove Estuary

Upcoming Activities

Thursday, September 7

8:30 a.m. Pollinator Pals

If you like to garden and are interested in giving our native pollinators a helping hand, Crossroads at Big Creek could use your help! Volunteers are “editing” unwanted plants which will be replaced by native species. We provide the equipment. Meet at the Collins Learning Center.


Friday, September 8

2:30 pm – 4:30 p.m. Tours of the Hanson House

Enjoy a free tour of the Hans and Bertha Hanson House to learn about life in the 1880s. Hands-on activities for kids. No reservations needed. The Hanson House is located at 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay. Please park across Utah Street in The Cove Preserve parking area so as not to damage construction materials, impede progress or detract from the historical character of the area.


Saturday, September 9 

9:00 a.m. Habitat Healers

Help heal the earth! Volunteers of all ages are invited to help with our land restoration efforts. Wear clothing and footgear that can get dirty and wet and bring a water bottle. Instruction, equipment, and gloves are provided along with cookies and lemonade at the end! No need to register in advance and all ages are welcome. Meet at the Workshop.


2:30 pm – 4:30 p.m. Tours of the Hanson House

Enjoy a free tour of the Hans and Bertha Hanson House to learn about life in the 1880s. Hands-on activities for kids. No reservations needed. The Hanson House is located at 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay. Please park across Utah Street in The Cove Preserve parking area so as not to damage construction materials, impede progress or detract from the historical character of the area.


Sunday, September 10

2:30 pm – 4:30 p.m. Tours of the Hanson House

Enjoy a free tour of the Hans and Bertha Hanson House to learn about life in the 1880s. Hands-on activities for kids. No reservations needed. The Hanson House is located at 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay. Please park across Utah Street in The Cove Preserve parking area so as not to damage construction materials, impede progress or detract from the historical character of the area.


Tuesday, September 12

7:00 p.m. Meeting of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society

Visitors are always welcome at the monthly meetings of DPAS. The featured program will be “Introduction to Telescopes” offered DPAS Member Steve Hellman. If skies are clear, the organization will open the dome of the Observatory for an evening of night sky viewing. Meetings are free and open to the public. Meet at the Stonecipher Astronomy Center, 2200 Utah Street, Sturgeon Bay.


Wednesday, September 13

7:00 p.m. Why is the Silurian Dolomite Aquifer So Vulnerable to Contamination?

Dr. Muldoon will discuss the impact of manure spreading in Kewaunee County, recent research from a site in southern Door County, and share an update on the airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey, which shows soil depth to bedrock. This free program will take place at the Collins Learning Center on September 13, at 7:00 p.m., either in person or on Zoom. 

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