If you are looking to escape suburbia and trek into the wilderness, look no further than L.H. Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve in Suamico. Situated along the western shore of the Bay of Green Bay, this natural area is a destination for all seasons.
Barkhausen has 920 acres of forest, meadows and wetlands. It also has more than 9 miles of easy-to-travel hiking trails, which are open from sunrise to sunset.
The abundance of wildlife is one of the main reasons why Barkhausen is such a treasure. You’ll find a variety of waterfowl in the ponds surrounding the visitor center, including Canada Geese with their goslings (Sorry, ladies, Ryan won’t be there) and Mallards. Looking closer at the ponds, you can almost bet on seeing bales of turtles sunning themselves on logs.
Moving into the forest, you may be lucky enough to spot a deer or another furry critter. A word of advice — if you hear leaves rustling, pause for a moment and look around. You’ll be surprised at what you might find. During one hike, I observed snakes (ew, gross . . . actually, these little guys are harmless) crossing the trails.
Most of Barkhausen’s paths are covered in gravel or grass and are easy to walk or push a stroller on, which makes it a great place for all ages. Along the trails, you’ll also find wildlife viewing platforms. Grab your binoculars, take a seat and watch a real life Animal Planet . . . you’ll be stunned at what’s flying around Barkhausen.
If you haven’t figured it out already, Barkhausen is a place of discovery. One of my favorite things I’ve uncovered is the Schmitz homestead. It’s marked with a sign detailing the history, but you’ll probably spot a silo peaking above the trees first. It’s amazing that the land around the crumbling foundations was once farm fields. You’ve gotta love how fast a forest can grow. In 1971, the Fort Howard Paper Company purchased the property and some of the surrounding areas. That land was donated to Brown County in 1976 to be used for wildlife management and educational purposes.
Speaking of education, Barkhausen is a great place to learn about nature. I can remember making plaster castings of animal tracks there during my grade school years. And the workshops aren’t only for kids; there are year-round classes for all ages. Have you ever wanted to make a bat house or maple syrup? Well then, you better check out Barkhausen.
And the activities aren’t limited to spring and summer. The preserve also offers an escape from the mundane days of winter. The trails are a great place for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Barkhausen has a total of 9 miles of cross-country ski trails, which you can enjoy for as little as $5. If you don’t own skis, you can rent snowshoes. There are also guided hikes, including a moonlight one. I’m definitely going to check it out this winter.
Slideshow – L.H. Barkhausen Waterfowl Preserve
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