Making our communities healthy for birds... and people

Town of Presque Isle

Community Achievements

Habitat Creation, Protection, and Monitoring

A. Comply with Wisconsin's "Smart Growth" law for land use planning and resource management. This criterion is an option only for applications submitted before July 1, 2017.

Presque Isle has adopted and approved an ordinance that is in compliance with Wisconsin’s “Smart Growth” law for land use planning and resource management and currently remains in compliance.

B. Describe organized bird monitoring or data obtained from researchers or volunteers in the local park system. (Exclusions: Programs that receive credit under 4C: Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, Swift Night Out)

Bird monitoring results obtained from local volunteers at the North Lakeland Discovery Center were submitted for the Town of Presque Isle Pipke Park Ponds, Van Vliet Hemlocks Natural Area and the Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area. Erica LeMoine, LoonWatch Program Coordinator at the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Northland College, in Ashland reports: “It looks like we have 4 loon rangers from Presque Isle who are monitoring Big Horsehead, Big Hurst, Annabelle and Van Vliet lakes for our Annual Loon Population Survey.”

2015 – Since the year 2009, Presque Isle has added Loon Rangers to the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, Loon Watch Program at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. The number of lakes monitored has risen from four (4) to thirteen (13) lakes.

Through the efforts of the Friends of VanVliet Hemlocks and the Last Wilderness Conservation Association, the Van Vliet Hemlocks area, was designated as a State of Wisconsin Natural Area in 2013.  The Van Vliet Hemlocks is an ecologically significant area of old-growth hemlock-hardwood forest and undeveloped lake frontage which harbors a diversity of tree, plant, wildlife, and bird species. The Friends of Van Vliet Hemlocks, the North Lakeland Discovery Center's Bird Club, staff from the University of Wisconsin Trout Lake Station and other volunteers often lead nature hikes and birding groups around the 5 miles of marked trails. There is organized bird monitoring by groups during the North Lakelnad Discovery Center's Annual Birding Festival.

D. Document that current municipal planning seeks to provide additional bird habitat.

Long-term plans seeks to add native fruit- and seed-bearing trees, shrubs and grasses to attract additional species to the 84-acre Pipke Park area which has two large ponds. The land was turned over to the Town of Presque Isle by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in 2007. In 2013, the Beautification Committee in Presque Isle  planted 94 new native trees and have plans of adding seed and fruit bearing grasses, shrubs, trees and other perennials to attract migratory birds, bees, and butterflies. This is in effort of a five year plan to renew and restore native trees and shrubs in Pipke Park. In addition, Beautification Committee coordinators have attended various workshops about landscaping for birds showing their dedication to providing a healthy community for both birds and people.

The Town of Presque Isle's Park and Recreation Committee and numerous volunteers have completed a 2 mile wilderness trail which was Phase II of the Pipke Park development project.  There are 5 foot wide foot bridges over wetland areas and part of the trail follows the South Branch of the Presque Isle River. The trail is located in the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest, providing a variety of habitats for the bird population and for bird watching.

F. Show that your community offers the public information on how they can control and remove invasive species in order to improve or maintain bird habitat.

The Town of Presque Isle has  active Aquatic and Terrestrial Invasive Species Committees. There are informational brochures about invasive species such as Garlic mustard, Japanese Knotweed, Exotic Shrub Honeysuckles, and Purple Loosestrife at town office, library and Chamber of Commerce. Ian Shakeford, Invasive Species Coordinator with the Ottawa National Forest produced maps of infested areas. Both Invasive Species Committee members oversee eradication of these and other invasive species. Volunteers with the Friends of Van Vliet Hemlock group monitor invasive species in that State Natural Area.

G. Document that there is a segment of the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail or a designated Important Bird Area within or adjacent to your community.

The Presque Isle and adjacent areas include many Important Bird Areas. Listed as part of the Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail, Lake Superior Northwoods Region are the Nature Conservancy's Catherine Wolter Wilderness Area, the Northern Highland - American Legion State Forest, the North Lakeland Discovery Center, and the Powell Marsh State Wildlife. Other important birding areas are the Van Vliet Hemlock State Natural Area,  and the Town of Presque Isle Pipke Park Ponds and Wilderness Trail. All areas provide terrific opportunities to observe and harbor wildlife and native vegetation.

V. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

The Town of Presque Isle's Park and Recreation Committee applied and received a grant to restore a large section of the shoreline of Presque Isle Lake at Wilderness Park which had eroded over the years. The Beautification Committee in conjunction with the Park and Recreation Committee planted over 1800 native plants, shrubs, trees and new plants are maintained and irrigated year-round.

In addition, the Beautification Committe coordinators have attended:  Landscaping for Migratory Birds, February 12th, 2014 at Northland College in Ashland, WI and Grosbeaks Galore, Birds in Your Landscape, May 9th, 2015 at Woodland Dunes Nature Center, Two Rivers, WI.

Community Forest Management

F. OTHER: Demonstrate in a narrative.

Steve Petersen, superintendent of the Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest, reports:

A large part of Presque Isle is owned by the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources and managed as the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest (NHALSF). The NHALSF was established in 1925 and much of the ownership in Presque Isle has been continuous since the early 1900’s. The NHALSF operates under a master plan approved by the Natural Resources Board in October, 2005 and which was developed with significant public input. In addition, the NHALSF is certified as sustainably managed by both the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and by the Forest Stewardship Council. Both of these programs promote and assess effective community forest management practices.

There are also significant blocks of private lands administered under the state’s Managed Forest Law program, assuring that there is a professionally prepared management plan that guides forest management and it is certified by the Tree Farm organization.

Limiting or Removing Threats to Birds

A. Describe your community’s educational program to control free-roaming cats and/or the manner in which you actively publicize the Cats Indoors! initiative.

The Town of Presque Isle provides informational brochures from the American Bird Conservancy including “Cats Indoors!” and  “Cats, Birds and You” They are distributed at the Presque Isle Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Presque Isle offices.

B. Demonstrate that your community provides property owners with information on how to protect birds from window strikes (e.g., online links, brochures).

The Town of Presque Isle provides easy-to-obtain information to property owners regarding protecting birds from window-strikes. The American Bird Conservancy leaflet, “You Can Save Birds from Flying into Windows” is distributed at the Presque Isle Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Presque Isle offices.

Public Education

B. Provide web links or a community newsletter demonstrating that your community educates property owners on methods to create and enhance backyard habitat for birds.

The Town of Presque Isle provides information to property owners on methods to create and enhance backyard habitat for birds. The Presque Isle Town office and the Chamber of Commerce provide the Audubon brochure “Bird Feeding Basics” and makes available “Beyond the Bird feeder: Creating a Bird-Friendly Yard with Native Wisconsin Plants.”

C. Demonstrate that your community is represented in at least one citizen science bird monitoring program (e.g., the Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, Swift Night Out).

Members of the Presque Isle community participate in the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II with the WI Society for Ornithology, in the Great Wisconsin Birdathon promoted by the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, with the North Lakeland Discovery Center Northwoods Birding Festival, and in eBird by uploading bird data to the website sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audobon Society.


D. Describe your community-sponsored annual bird festival. This must be a multi-day event or a truly exceptional one-day event.

The Presque Isle Chamber of Commerce is a sponsor of  the Annual North Lakeland Discovery Center and Discovery Center Bird Club annual Northwoods Birding Festival. The Bird Club is trying to develop, with the chambers and towns, a corridor of bird viewing areas to educate the townspeople and visitors of the Northwoods.

G. Provide a link to your community’s Bird City Wisconsin webpage, which must be visible from the main page of your municipal website (it may be located at the first level of a drop down menu on the main page but cannot be any less visible) OR demonstrate that your Bird City effort has a significant social media presence.

H. Document a substantial regular program that educates young people on any of the following topics: climate change, energy efficiency, green/bird-safe buildings, or environmental sustainability.

The local elementary school, North Lakeland has a Fall, Winter, and Spring Outdoor Education program at the primary through 8th grade levels. The program progresses in knowledge and skill levels by grade in the areas of human interaction with wildlife, forests, water, limnology, biodiversity, environmental change, Wisconsin natural resources, ecology, sustainability through educational programs, canoeing, camping, outdoor cooking, tracking skills, leadership and many other topics designed for each grade level.

The current Outdoor education teacher has described a bird garden established on school grounds which is cared for by the 6th grade students with assistance from the North Lakeland Discovery Center.

Energy & Sustainability

A. Document an energy audit for a municipal building and show that your community is working to implement its recommendations.

When the Town of Presque Isle built an addition to the Presque Isle Community Library in 2006-2007, energy savings standards were used and included: programmable thermostats, good insulation, clerestory windows to reduce the need for electrical fixtures since the outdoor light from the windows would illuminate the the book stack areas, and when electrical lighting was needed the fixtures installed were energy efficient. The lower level has motion sensor fixtures in all areas. On the main floor of the library during summer it is possible to turn off the air conditioning and open windows to save on energy use.

The library, town hall offices, and a large community room are located in the same municipal building. In 2009 there was an energy audit in the building and the energy efficient improvements were:  programmable thermostats in all areas, extra insulation installed in all ceiling areas, installation of energy efficient fluorescent lamps, computers in the office and library are turned off at night, motion sensors were installed in the restrooms, all thermostats are programmed to turn down at night, pipes were wrapped near water heaters and water heaters were set at 120 degrees, furnace filters are changed on a regular basis, and a professional HVAC company tunes up and replaces parts as needed for our heating and air conditioning systems every year.

B. Show that your community goes above and beyond in its support for, and implementation of, green transportation (e.g., bike trails, rideshare programs, bike trails/lanes, etc.). Be sure to utilize the narrative to illustrate why your community is exceptional because standard practice will not receive credit.

Our community has a nonprofit local organization, called Wilderness Pedalers, whose members plan routes for more extensions of current bicycle trails in the Presque Isle and Winchester communities. A few years ago the group purchased and installed signage on posts so that one 10 mile on the road bicycle trail is clearly marked. They collaborate with 3 towns and the Wisconsin DNR and the Northern Highland American Legion Forest staff with an attempt to build off highway, paved bike routes for greater safety. Due to the high number of wetlands in the area and the need to build bridges, the cost per mileage is more than any other area in the northwoods so fundraising is problematical but there are some potential large donors. The idea is to connect a bicycle trail from Presque Isle and Winchester to the Manitowish Waters section of the 45 mile Heart of Vilas Paved Bike Trail System which is a very popular, family friendly, and important bicycle trail in Vilas County. A quote from a newsletter sent to Town of Presque Isle property owners says, "A State official stated he sees more bikes and kayaks in state campgrounds now then boats. Resort owners report prospective visitors frequently ask how close to the bike trails resorts are located." This statement points to sustainable economic development in conjunction with the establishment of more bike trails.


International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD)

A. This community's municipal body passed the required International Migratory Bird Day resolution.

B. Document and describe your event that incorporates the annual IMBD theme in some fashion. If the event has not yet occurred, please share your detailed plans. For information on the current year’s theme and event materials, please visit the International Migratory Bird Day website. To see what other Bird City communities have done in the past, please view some other profiles on our website.

The Town of Presque Isle celebrates IMBD in conjunction with the Bird Club and the North Lakeland Discovery Center’s annual Northwoods Birding Festival in May of each year. Some outings take place in the Catherine Wolter Wilderness, the Pipke Park Ponds and Wilderness trail, and the Van Vliet Hemlock State Natural Area all located within the Town of Presque Isle. The year 2018 marks the 14th year of the Festival. The Festival welcomes both experienced and novice birders so participants can learn from each other. The Festival offers warbler walks, marsh area and forest field trips, and educational programs and break-out sessions, a keynote speaker, bird banding, birdhouse making, and many other activities, field trips and programs.

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Community Details

Joined Bird City: 2011

Population: 616

Incorporated: 1907

Area: 74.4 mi2

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