Grants preserve sandstone gorge along Lake Superior

Project Summary: The Town of Bayview, Wis., joined forces with two land conservancies to preserve 77 acres of ecologically significant land known as Houghton Falls, which includes 2,200 feet of shoreline along Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay.

Project name: Houghton Falls Natural Area.

Location: The Town of Bayfield, Wis.

Houghton Falls features a sandstone gorge that was carved by a stream that flows into Lake Superior. (Bayview Regional Land Conservancy photo)

Description: Houghton Falls is a natural area comprised of a scenic pre-Cambrian sandstone gorge that extends to the Lake Superior coast. The site affords stunning views of the Apostle Islands. Dense woods in portions of the natural area provided habitat for a variety of wildlife. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the waters off Houghton Point serve as a fish nursery and habitat area for Chequamegon Bay, which is a popular fishing destination. The Bayfield Regional Land Conservancy partnered with the Town of Bayview and the Trust for Public Land to acquire the property with the help of a Coastal Estuarine Land Conservation Program grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Fund of the Wisconsin DNR.  The Town of Bayview now owns the property and the Bayview Regional Land Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the land to ensure permanent protection and public access to the site.

Approximate cost of project: $2,832,600, half of which was provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Resource challenges addressed: Preservation of wildlife habitat on land and fish habitat in Lake Superior.

Key partners (public and private): The Bayfield Regional Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, the Town of Bay View, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Results and accomplishments: The acquisition preserved an ecologically significant natural area and guaranteed public access to the area, which has long been popular with hikers, birders and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Web site:

Originally Published: October 24, 2012