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Newly preserved land near John Muir’s boyhood home in central Wisconsin contains a mosaic of wetland and upland habitats for migratory birds. Photo courtesy of Brant Erickson.

Newly preserved land near John Muir’s boyhood home in central Wisconsin contains a mosaic of wetland and upland habitats for migratory birds. Photo courtesy of Brant Erickson.

Fox River NRDA Trustees Support Muir Family Land Preservation

Thanks to partnership efforts, 198 acres of land near John’s Muir boyhood home in central Wisconsin has been preserved to provide migratory bird habitat and recreational opportunities for the public. Project partners recently met at the site for a dedication ceremony to celebrate the preservation of this special land.

Located near the headwaters of the Fox River, the Muir family homestead was in Marquette County, Wisconsin, about an hour north of Madison. Ancestors of the Muir family still live in the area and until recently, actively farmed the same lands the Muir family cleared in the mid-1800s when they arrived in Wisconsin from their native Scotland.

These new parcels will add to other adjacent lands already preserved for conservation. The nearby Muir County Park pays tribute to the family and contains a small lake, picnic shelter, and trails. The Fox River National Wildlife Refuge is also located nearby, along with Muir State Natural Area and adjacent lands managed by the Ice Age Trail Alliance. Local conservation groups, including the Wisconsin Friends of John Muir and others, actively promote the Muir family heritage through community events and celebrations throughout the year.

A variety of wetland habitats such as sedge meadow and forested wetlands occur on the site along with an unnamed tributary of the Fox River. The project will benefit migratory birds and improve water quality along with providing benefits to many other species. Project partners intend to implement restoration projects in the future. The site is open to the public for hiking, bird watching, and other recreational opportunities.

The Fox River Natural Resource Trustees include the Oneida Tribe, Menominee Tribe, Wisconsin DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The trustees support projects that restore and preserve habitat for fish, wildlife, and cultural resources injured by the release of PCBs in the Lower Fox River/Green Bay ecosystem.

By Betsy Galbraith
Green Bay Ecological Services Field Office

Projects partners participated in a land dedication ceremony near John Muir’s boyhood home. Attendees included Kathleen McGwin, Muir family ancestor; retired Congressmen Tom Petri; Jim Welsh, Natural Heritage Land Trust; Steve Lenz, Horicon National Wildlife Refuge; and Mark Huston, Dept of Interior NRDAR Program.  Photo by Betsy Galbraith/USFWS.

Projects partners participated in a land dedication ceremony near John Muir’s boyhood home. Attendees included Kathleen McGwin, Muir family ancestor; retired Congressmen Tom Petri; Jim Welsh, Natural Heritage Land Trust; Steve Lenz, Horicon National Wildlife Refuge; and Mark Huston, Dept of Interior NRDAR Program. Photo by Betsy Galbraith/USFWS.


Last updated: June 8, 2020