National Wildlife Refuge
Door County, WI
Phone Number: 920-387-2658
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|Herring gulls nest on Hog Island. (Photo by J.A. Spendelow)|
Continued . . . Today the vegetation consists mostly of red-berried elder, red raspberry, and other weedy shrubs. A few red-breasted mergansers and great blue herons nest on the islands as well. Hog Island is home to Canada yew, a native shrub that was once common in the area but has become rare due to over-browsing by white-tailed deer.
Plum Island is dominated by sugar maple and a basswood forest, White cedar is dominate near the coast, especially where dolomite is near the surface. The forest has been significantly impacted by heavy selective logging and an overpopulation of deer. The federally endangered dwarf lake iris is found on the island.
Since then, this landscape has been shaped and re-shaped by receding oceans, powerful pre-glacial rivers, and advancing glaciers. The islands, which rise abruptly out of Lake Michigan, are a product of these immense geologic events.
In 1912, Hog Island was set aside as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds. Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge became the 28th refuge in the U.S. and second in the Great Lakes region. Hog Island and Gravel Island National Wildlife Refuge make up the Wisconsin Islands Wilderness Area. It became one of the smallest units of the Wilderness Preservation System in 1970.
Today Green Bay NWR consists of Plum, Pilot, and Hog Island. Portions of Plum and Pilot Islands were developed to serve as lighthouse facilities or life saving stations during the late 19th century. Many of the historic structures remain, some of which are included on the National Register of Historic Places.
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