The Bayfield Regional Conservancy is a land trust that works in northern Wisconsin’s Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas and Sawyer Counties. To date the BRC has protected close to 3,000 acres within their service area.
Like many land trusts in Wisconsin, the Conservancy protects land for habitat and recreation. Part of its vision is to preserve places that serve to connect people to nature. This includes the establishment of nature trails.
The creation of the Brownstone trail was the Conservancy’s first project in 1996. It took four years to complete through the dedicated work of an all volunteer board.
The Brownstone trail is home to a unique and peaceful habitat and it features views of Lake Superior along the way.
The trail is frequently used by school children, area residents, tourists and dogs and it provides a scenic recreational opportunity for hikers, joggers, cyclists, while providing a means for commuting to work or school from the city on foot.
The trail follows the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad beds which, in 1883, carried passengers to Bayfield for the summer.
Once the railway became defunct the private landowners along the railway were granted ownership of the properties.
Establishment of the trail required the Conservancy to secure trail easements from private landowners.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this 2.5 mile trail is it consists of 23 trail easements over private land, that were all donated to the BRC by the landowners.
Hikers experience stunning views of Lake Superior
Woodlands are graced by wildflowers in the spring and fall colors in autumn.
There are even places for contemplation of nature.
A hardcore all-volunteer work crew makes improvements to the trail as needed and on a regular basis.
The BRC was recently awarded several grants from local organizations to relocate the trailhead next to the new City of Bayfield Ernie LaPointe Boat launch, making it home to the historic lakefront district.
Since the creation of the Brownstone trail fifteen years ago the BRC has created several more trails open to the public in the Chequamegon Bay area; including the Big Ravine trail, Houghton Falls and Mt. Ashwabay just to name a few.
BRC volunteers are the heart of the organization; it is only through their steadfast dedication that the BRC can continue to protect special places.
If you would like to learn more about the brownstone trail or other BRC projects please visit them online at: www.brcland.org