U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Banner graphic displaying the Fish & Wildlife Service logo and National Wildlife Refuge System tagline

Whittlesey Creek
National Wildlife Refuge

coastal wetland with forest behind
Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center
29270 County Hwy. G
Ashland, WI   54806
E-mail: whittleseycreek@fws.gov
Phone Number: 715-685-2678
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Whittlesey Creek Refuge protects coastal wetlands on Lake Superior.
Gray horizontal line
Continued . . .

Whittlesey and fellow settlers cleared the land of the pine forests, milled the timber, and shipped it east to growing cities such as Chicago and New York. The pine stumps were cleared by industrious settlers who eventually farmed the land. These major changes in the landscape altered the runoff of rain and snowmelt into Whittlesey Creek, creating flash flooding and bank erosion. Huge sediment loads were carried down the river into coastal wetlands and Lake Superior.

Even so, Whittlesey Creek remained important fishery habitat because of its numerous springs and groundwater discharges. Its cold, clear water that flows all year was especially important for trout and salmon that spawn in the fall and incubate their eggs overwinter in the stream.

In the early 1950s, several local agencies recognized the importance of this stream and began working with private landowners to improve land management along the stream. Their efforts helped reduce the amount of sediment that was carried into the stream and highlighted the importance of Whittlesey Creek for Lake Superior's aquatic life.

When a proposal to develop a golf course along Whittlesey Creek failed in the mid 1990s, many local residents proposed to establish the lower end of Whittlesey Creek, with its coastal wetlands and riparian habitat, as a national wildlife refuge. They were successful in working with local, State and Federal agencies to establish the refuge in 1999.

The vision for this refuge is to restore habitats, fish and wildlife to mimic the land that Asaph Whittlesey saw 150 years ago.

- Back -