Outdoor Wisconsin | Program | #3505 – Lighthouses/Beaver Creek Reserve/Fisheries

Outdoor Wisconsin | Program | #3505 – Lighthouses/Beaver Creek Reserve/Fisheries


– We’ve come out to Wind Point on Racine County’s Lake
Michigan shoreline. And the lighthouse here has been in continual
operation since 1880. And it’s listed on the National
Register of Historic Places. Prior to electronic navigation
lighthouses like this played a critical role in the
Great Lakes shipping industry. In just a few minutes
Elizabeth Cramer tours several lighthouses
in Door County. And then we’ll talk with
a fisheries biologist about the impact of
last summer’s storms on stream fisheries
in Dane County. But first we’ll visit Beaver Creek Reserve
in Eau Claire County. I’m Dan Small and
it’s time once again for Outdoor Wisconsin. ♪ Summer to fall ♪ ♪ Winter to Spring ♪ ♪ From Green Bay to where
the Saint Croix sings ♪ ♪ From Kettle Moraine
to Superior’s shore ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin ♪ Wisconsin is blessed
with hundreds of parks and nature
centers including the lighthouse grounds
here at Wind Point Park. And the garden
here is maintained by the Racine Kenosha
Master Gardeners. You should visit
it in the summer when the flowers are in bloom. Last summer I visited
Beaver Creek Reserve in Eau Claire County
where visitors can hike the trails, explore
the nature center, and attend a variety of
programs throughout the year. – So Beaver Creek
Reserve started in 1947. It was right after the war. And the citizens of Eau
Claire County wanted a place for youth to gather. And it was this big
recreational movement. All the GIs had been out and
had all this camping gear and experience so
they decided having a place in the woods for
these kids to recreate was a good idea. And so they built a main
lodge and a bunch of cabins and they started
bringing kids out to the woods to
experience nature. And just get outside
and enjoy it. And from there we kind of
fast forward to the seventies and this whole
environmental movement. And they started putting
in an observatory to view the stars. They built the nature center. That got added on
to in the nineties. We built the Citizen
Science Center. We have the only Citizen
Science Center in the state. And that was built in 2004. So we’ve gone from kind of
the recreational movement to kind of this astronomy
space race stuff. Through the nature center and
that whole educational piece. And then into the
citizen’s science part which really gets the
community involved with environmental
education as well. So the Wise Nature Center really happened with
again community support. This has been a grass
roots operation. And the Wise family has
been one of the key people to help facilitate this. Our mission is connecting
people with nature. And we are able to do
that to the nth degree. Because we have low
admission rates. It’s $3 for an adult,
$1 for a child. We have nine miles of
trails and 400 acres. And that’s all accessible. In the winter we rent out snow
shoes and cross country skis. And it’s $3 a person
to rent that out. And we have brand new equipment. I grew up in the Chippewa Valley and when I was three years old
I came to the nature center. It looked the same as when I started here
just six years ago. Part of the movement
with the board was to how do we
reinvigorate the community to come out here and enjoy
everything that’s been so special about Beaver Creek. And we got a matching
grand from SCHEELS. And took a 11 month
design process and our discovery room that
we have all of our mounts. Our displays, our
turtles and fish, is really a commercial for what
you can do at Beaver Creek. Every single thing that
you see in that room is tied to a program or
event that we do here. So there’s a maple syrup
bucket on the tree. We harvest maple
syrup and that goes on our French toast breakfast. And we have a big fundraiser
feed in the spring. There’s bees and we
teach bee classes. There’s brook trout in the
tank that’s actually from Beaver Creek the namesake. And so all of that
you know hopefully will spark some interest
from the people visiting and want to leave
the discovery room and go out and discover the
actual 400 acres that we have. Or want to spark an
interest to learn more and sign up for
one of our programs so that they can develop
more of an education on the topic of interest. – [Woman] Let’s go in. – The SCHEELS Discover Room
in the Wise Nature Center has four different
components in it. One of the first things
that we have identified at Beaver Creek is
that we wanted to get more younger families here. And so the first area
that you walk into is an early childhood area. And we’ve also developed
three other play areas outside that once you get inside
and the kids get comfortable with some of the
concepts you can go out and explore further
on our trails. And get the kids playing
outside in nature. And then it’s not
even that much harder of a transition to
go down the trail and see all the
beautiful scenery and habitats that
we have out there. We want you to have a
full spectrum of education with the end goal of actually
participating in the nature. And that early
childhood movement is a big development in
nature centers throughout the country and we’re glad
that we’re on the cutting edge of that and bringing it
to the Chippewa Valley. And the goal is to get kids
comfortable in this area. Start experiencing and asking
questions about butterflies and bees and deer and mice. And then along our
handicapped accessible trail, there’s three play pods
that are also designed for early childhood interaction. And the families
can go out there and now they’re
playing out in nature. And the next bridge is that
once they’re at the end of that trail they
can actually walk off into our nine miles of trails. So there’s a developmental
process from the inside to outside and then actually
walking on the trails. And we’re hoping to get
more and more families to experience because as they
fall in love with nature, they’re going to carry
that in their hearts for the rest of their lives. – [Man] What you got? – Looks like The
Scientist and the Crib. What early learning
tells us about the mind. What a perfect pick
for talking about our early learning nature nooks. – Cool and that’s down here? – That’s this way, yup. – All right. And this is the
storybook trail right? – [Brianne] So this
is our paved trail. This is the storybook
hiking trail. So in each season we
have an illustrated book that kids and parents,
families can read together. Panel by panel as
they walk through. And then we also have
interpretive panels for adults and we have a little panel
here about daddy long legs. And of crouse
overlooking some probably pileated activity
on that pine there. – It’s kind of unusual to have musical instruments
that are made, some of the made out of
stuff that was right here, that grew right
here of these trees. But some of these sounds are
not natural sounds are they? – No they’re not. But they do still echo nature. I think one of the
concerns we had is you know are we going to
scare off the natives? And I’m hoping in the
background you can hear that it has not been a
challenge whatsoever. So I think there’s
sounds that are inspired by nature and the idea was that there’s so many more ways that
people can connect to nature. You know tactilely but
also through sounds. That we wanted kids to be
able to make those sounds, be aware of sounds, but
then also on a larger, you know larger piece, be more aware of the
sounds of nature. The different bird calls,
the rustling of the trees, you know some of the other
sounds that you’d hear here. – Tell me about this space here,
this is really interesting. – So we call these
our nature nooks. They’re outdoor play pods. They are intended for kind
of an earlier childhood up to upper middle or upper
elementary school age. They came about just as an
extension of our discovery room. It was all made possible
the a grant from 3M. And it started with
just a few pieces. And each year because of
grants and other funding, we’re able to add on
some other pieces. This is the nature symphony. So we know that
there’s so many sounds that you can hear in
nature not just the birds and the rustling of the trees. But then some other
sounds that kind of kids can make too echo some
of those sounds out in nature. – And this is really a
drum set it looks like. – It’s a drum set
made out of trees. You know cut down here right
at Beaver Creek Reserve. We’ve got some cymbals
that need some replacing but we’re getting ready
for that for our summer. And you’ve got another bird
talking to you as well. – [Dan] Cool. – Behind us there’s a
couple names for this one. I’ve always called
is a sousaphone. And so or a slapaphone. So you can either
slap with your hands. Or with the spatulas
that you can use. So go ahead. – Ooh. That’s the way to go. And you don’t need to
read music to play it. – Nope not at all. – That’s the best part. – The tympani mushroom
drum is the yellow. So that was handmade for us. We have some
renewable resources. So while these were
originally actual drum sticks, they have been filed down. We can in fact just
pick up a stick and use them as well. – [Dan] Cool. This door? – [Brianne] Do have it open. – [Dan] Oop, oop there goes one. – [Brianne] Don’t let ’em out. Don’t let ’em out. – [Dan] One got away. – [Brianne] That’s
like the first rule of the butterfly
house, that’s fine. – [Dan] He was waiting. – [Brianne] Oh look
we’ve got lots. – [Dan] Oh yeah. And they’re doing something. – [Brianne] We call
that the special dance. – [Dan] The special
dance that’s cool. – [Brianne] That’s
the special dance that the butterflies do. – [Dan] This must be
really spectacular when it’s full of butterflies. – Yes so we open on
July 5th every year. And then we’re open
through the last Sunday of Labor Day weekend. And in high season
kind of towards the end of July
and early August, this place will just be all
a flutter as you can see. We’ll have lots and
lots of Monarchs that we actually raise from
egg in our caterpillar lab. And then one of my
favorites is kind of this plume of cabbage
whites that happens. So it almost looks like it’s
snowing at certain times ’cause you get so many white
things fluttering around. – [Dan] I’ll bet
the kids love it. – The kids do love it. It’s very magical and
we’re very different than a lot of the other butterfly
houses that you kind of see across the country. Some of the zoos and
other nature centers. They have a lot of exotics. All of our butterflies
are native to Wisconsin. In fact if we don’t raise them we live catch them, put
them in the butterfly house. What it allows them to do
as we probably saw earlier is you know reproduce
in captivity where there’s no really
no predators, no worry. And that’s how at
the end of the year, at the end of the
season, we open this up and everybody gets to go free. – We’re really excited to
see our trail infrastructure improve not only
through the expertise of our education
but also through the experience of
these individuals that come to us from Wisconsin. So we’re really
excited for guests to come out and really
have a class A experience when they walk the trails. – The Wind Point lighthouse
has been guiding ships to safe harbor here on
Lake Michigan since 1880. But some Lake Michigan
lights have been in operation even longer. Last summer Elizabeth
Cramer and our crew took a road trip
up to Door County to visit some of the
historic lighthouses there. – Door County, Wisconsin. Known for its state parks,
wine, and cherry pies, is also home to 11
historic lighthouses that have lined the picturesque
shores of Lake Michigan. Today the Outdoor
Wisconsin crew, Brian, Chris, and I, are spending the day
exploring lighthouses in a way that’s sure to create a
lot of great memories. A classic Wisconsin road trip. (upbeat music) I got ice cream. – [Man] Sweet. (laughing) – [Elizabeth] All these maps. Our first step takes us
to Peninsula State Park. Located on the bay side of
Door County in Fish Creek. – Well welcome to Eagle Bluff. Here at Eagle Bluff we’ve had three different lighthouse
keepers who lived and worked here over
a period of 58 years. The one we talk about on
our tour is William Duclon. Eagle Bluff was one of
the earliest lighthouses in our country to
go to automation. Well 1926 the light
here continued to shine but this
home grew dark. You know and it sat vacant
for many many years. Starting in 1960 they began the challenging task
of restoring it. It took a dedicated
group of people over three years of
working on this home to bring it back to life. So as you tour the home today, it still looks just like
it did in the late 1800s when the Duclons
were living here. And that’s what makes
Eagle Bluff unique. The only way to get
to the second floor is through the tower and up the original cast
iron spiral staircase. There are 55 steps from the
basement to the lantern room. Here at Eagle Bluff
we are lucky enough that we still have our
5th order Fresnel lens. Now these were all
made in France. Each glass prism was hand cut. And then it was
assembled on site. This 5th order would
project 10 to 12 miles out. – Junction F, okay
hold on one second. Yes we went the wrong way. Hey! The next lighthouse we’re
headed to happens to be on the quiet side
of the peninsula. However getting to Cana Island from Baileys Harbor
requires a creative method that the locals have
been using for years. – [Man] Hey wait wait wait! – Have you been here before? – No this is our first time. – Well let me give you
a little background. First of all there’s
more than just a dumb lighthouse out there. There’s really cool
rocks to look under. – Whoa, grab collection. – You’ll find crayfish
and all kinds of gobies and all kinds of cool stuff. – [Man] Oh wow. – Is there eels too? – I’ll say you never know. If you don’t look
you won’t find it. – Welcome to the 19th century. Everything that happens out here happens the way it
was when we began. That beginning
occurred back in 1869. Cana is here to
answer the question where am I? It’s a coastal light,
it’s a navigational aide. What makes it unique you ask? You’ll climb those steps, you’ll go through
the same hatchway that the keeper
did 149 years ago. Up on top that tower
is the optics and lens as it was created
in Paris in 1867. Installed here
brand new in 1869. But that’s not all. The small door, when you
go through the small door, you’ll be outside on
what we call a gallery. It’s the railed area that goes
around the top of the tower. And from there, from
there you look out over the waters
of Lake Michigan. Maybe imagining what it was
like in the 19th century. Door County is known
for its lighthouses because of its need for
navigation in the 19th century. Every place you
see a piece of land that sticks out into
the bay of Green Bay or into the waters
of Lake Michigan, that doesn’t stop at water. It continues out under water. Imagine it’s the 19th century and you’re sailing
a wooden schooner. Source of navigation
is your lighthouses. They tell us two things. Where am I and don’t
run into stuff. That stuff being
the rocky shoals. It’s a basic plan called
don’t wreck your boat. – Lighthouses serve Great
Lakes sailors day and night and in all kinds of weather. But they’re especially
important during those terrible
storms that the lakes can serve up any time of year. Last summer heavy rains
caused extensive damage to shoreline properties
here on Lake Michigan and elsewhere in Wisconsin. We saw some of that storm
damage last week on Lake Monona. Some trout streams in
Southwest Wisconsin sustained severe damage
but others weren’t harmed at all thanks to good
stream bank management. As we learned when DNR
Fisheries biologist Bradd Sims gave us a tour of Gordon
Creek, west of Madison. – Gordon Creek is
considered a class one and class two trout fishery. It has a total of
about nine to 11 miles of classified trout water. Currently we have a
little bit of high water so the stream’s probably about two to three times above
normal currently as we see it. With that and also a little bit more turban than we
normally see in it. We’ve seen kind of
an increased rainfall over time within this area. And so from the
fifties and sixties and early seventies both
through increased rainfalls which leads to more
groundwater recharge. More springs flowing
into the stream and with the springs
being around 50 degrees coming into Gordon Creek, leads to the cold water which
supports trout fisheries. So once where there
used to be rough fish, small mouth bass,
channel catfish walleye
it might’ve been. Now we’re seeing the
brook trout, brown trout, Northern book lamprey,
mottled sculpins, and the cold water species. Over time this watershed
has transitioned from a warm water to
a cold water system the way we see it today. The most recent
rainfalls we’ve had and then also in
the past when we get a flooding event and a
system such as Gordon Creek with that typically it’ll have a short term detrimental
effects as far as increased erosion
from the banks. But overall it can have
positive effects too in regards to scouring
out of the stream bottoms for better substrates
and particular for aquatic invertebrates
and then also today we’re talking
about the trout. And for trout spawning also. Gordon Creek, it has
both natural reproducing brown trout and brook trout. And it has some supplemental
stocking of brook trout which occurs in the
German Valley area. This bank was sloped as part
of the trout habitat project that was completed
back in 2006 from 2009. With that and behind
us you can kind of see the top of the banks. Well this bank was typically
in that five foot range. So it came out and kind
of had a 90 degree angle. So as part of what we do
is slope the banks back. Try to get a two to
three to one slope. And that helps when
the stream comes up it helps widen the stream. It helps reduce some
of the velocities. And it helps lessen the impact, the force of the
water coming through. We also have a really
nice grasses established here on the banks
which helps protect it. And so this most recent floods as you can see the
bank’s still intact. The grasses are still here and everything
looks really good. – And I see the
water must’ve been at least this high because
here’s some debris. – Yeah you can see
coming up you know and historically here it was, last few weeks it’s
been up as high as four to four and a half feet
above the water level where it currently is. With that and debris kind of
spread out all through here. And being here in
a driftless area with our higher
gradient streams, the floods tend to
recede a little quicker than we might have in some
of our lower gradient areas. So the water will
come up fairly quick. Spread out of its banks. And then also reduce
fairly quick as well. And that’s beneficial not only to the species
living in the streams but then also the habitat
itself and the bank erosions and stability of the system. – What is the fishery like here? If a person wanted to
come and fish for trout. – Currently the status of
the Gordon Creek fishery where we’re at here today has a very abundant
brown trout population. And so there’s gonna
be a lot of fish from that eight
to 13 inch range. And because of that
what we’re trying to do is help
reduce the numbers. We were up to anywhere from
300 in brown trout per acre which is quite a bit compared
to other streams in our area. So what we have here on
this stretch of Gordon Creek is what we consider
a maximum size limit. So it’s a 12 inch maximum. So anglers can harvest
fish under 12 inches. And it’s a daily
bag limit of three. And we’re hoping
what that will do is reduce some of those fish
in that nine to 12 inch range and then when those fish
get up over to 12 inches of that quality and
maybe even trophy size, those are released
back into the system and here for a quality
fishery as well. So anglers that come
to this Gordon Creek here in Iowa County can
expect good fishing action. A lot of fish. Most of the fish
you’re going to catch will probably be in
that nine to 12 inches. But then there are
quite a few in that 14 to 17 inch range as
well for anglers to see. What we have here is considered a backpack electro-fishing
unit that we use to survey streams
this size and smaller. And so basically it’s
a backpack powered by a 12 volt battery. And behind me is the
negative that we ground, the ground or negative
that we drag behind us. And in front of me
is the positive. With the probe. And the fish exhibit a
electro taxi which they swim into the electric current. Which once they swim
in the probe allows us to scoop up and sample and
it’s particularly handy in streams such as this
where there’s a lot of high current velocity
and low visibility to where they can
come right up to where we can see them to scoop ’em. All right. You want me to go ahead
and sock upstream then? These are the mottled
sculpins here. So these’ll be bait fish
for the trout more or less. But then they’re
also an indicator of good cold water
quality for our area. So a typical cold water stream you’re not gonna have
too many species. You’ll have trout, mottled
sculpin that we have here, and then maybe some light
suckers and the brook lampreys. The mottled sculpins, basically it’s telling
us that we’ve got good water
temperatures for trout. Because they’re both
a cold water species. So we’re looking at
water temperatures. The yearly water temperatures, some are in the neighborhood
of 60 to 65 degrees year round as far as the
mean water temperature goes. Here we go. There we didn’t have to go far. With that one. Okay so this guy is
gonna be a brown trout. Maybe 15, 16 inches or so. So we’re on German Valley Creek. Which is a tributary to Gordon. And what we have, we have
the German Valley Creek and Big Spring Creek come
together to form Gordon Creek. And we’re on German Valley. So and this is the brown trout. These are the ones
that were introduced to Wisconsin from Europe. So a really nice look if
you can here on the specs it’s got the two black holes. That’s from where looks like a
heron or a kingfisher hit it. So we’ll let this
guy go and we’ll see if we can find any others. So this is another nice
brown trout that we have. You can see the marking
a little bit different. Fish are kind of like people. They all have
individual markings on them a little bit different. Now the trout, the brown
trout and brook trout, both they’ll spawn
in the fall so in middle of October
through deer season when we’re out deer hunting, the trout will be on the red
spawning laying their eggs. So we’re looking
at February, March for the hatch of the eggs. Typically their reproduction is in a good time of
year ’cause in the fall it’s usually a dry time
of year, low flows. Good time to lay eggs. The eggs will be
there all winter. And then by the time
the spring floods come, the young have already
hatched, oop there he goes. So the reproductive or a
life cycle of the trout is kind of advantageous
to the water cycles that we have in the area also. – Well Brad those are a
couple of nice brown trout. We only shocked about
50 yards of stream here. Any trout angler would be
happy to catch those fish. – Yup they definitely would
and fish that size are you’re going to want a
stream like German Valley or here around for
anglers to be able to come down and try catching. And you know in this
area, Western Dane County or Eastern Iowa County holds
a lot of good trout fisheries and folks should come
out and enjoy ’em. – To learn about
this week’s features visit the Milwaukee
PBS Facebook page or log on to milwaukeepbs.org and click on Outdoor Wisconsin. Well next time Emmy Fink visits Allen Centennial
Garden in Madison. Tracy Newman takes in the 40th Annual Frank Mots
Kite Festival in Milwaukee. And I’ll talk with
photographer Larry Michael whose image of a
Wisconsin grain field was featured on a
US postage stamp. Saying goodbye from Wind
Point, I’m Dan Small. Join us again next week
for Outdoor Wisconsin. – [Brianne] Go ahead. – Ooh that’s the way to go. ♪ Flash of a white tail
moving through the pine ♪ ♪ Long bell of the
owl in the evening ♪ ♪ Loon on the lake ♪ ♪ A muskie on the line ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin ♪ ♪ Free yourself like
an eagle in the air ♪ ♪ Feed yourself like a
bear in the blackberry ♪ ♪ Like a hawk perch and stare ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin ♪ ♪ When the working
life is way too much ♪ ♪ You’re in too deep
and out of touch ♪ ♪ Lace up your boots ♪ ♪ Get out of town ♪ ♪ A walk in the wild to
sit down and listen ♪ ♪ Listen to the sound of
the critters of the night ♪ ♪ To the wind and the leaves
and the little river run ♪ ♪ Coyote brother
howling the moonlight ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin ♪ ♪ Hike fish hunt
camp sail a canoe ♪ ♪ Sky photograph life
do what you want to ♪ ♪ Stick your nose where
the wild rose grows ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin ♪ ♪ Outdoor Wisconsin ♪

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