Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Beulah Bog (Blog)...

Beulah Bog State Natural Area is perhaps not that popular as it is not that easy to navigate for some people. The trail is direct and ranges from easy, to moderate terrain and then to difficult toward the end. With that being said, the views at the end of the trail are an absolute delight.

HERE's the Youtube video

Beulah Bog lies in a series of four kettle holes and features an undisturbed bog with many unusual plants more typical of northern bogs. Classical stages of ecological succession are exhibited in the bog including: a shallow bog lake dominated by watershield with white and yellow water-lilies and extensive floating mud flats; an advancing, quaking sedge and sphagnum mat between 25 and 50 feet wide; northern wet forest of tamarack and bog shrubs and; a wet open moat surrounding the main bog, dominated by wild calla and cat-tails. Undisturbed bogs in this area are rare and the site supports a number of regionally rare plants with more northern affinities including dense cotton grass, large and small cranberry, and small bladderwort. The site harbors six species of insectivorous plants including pitcher plant, sundew and bladderwort. The bog lake provides habitat for bullfrog, several dragonfly species and other invertebrates. Beulah Bog is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1975.

Enjoy the views!

 Site objectives
Manage the site as a reserve for northern wet forest and open bog, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection area, as an ecological reference area, and as an exceptional education/research site. Natural processes will determine the structure of the natural communities represented here. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native northern wet forests. Note: Uplands provide a buffer for the site's primary features; restoration of lost natural communities should be considered an enhancement activity.

 Management approach
Native species are managed passively, allowing nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, and maintenance of existing facilities. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the "Access" tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Cudahy - an unofficial museum of Wisconsin history

The corner of S. Lake Drive and E. Armour Avenue is a sight to behold. In addition to the partially buried 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood, the yard, at 4531 S. Lake Drive, features a 1946 Farmall McCormick tractor with a mannequin farmer driving it and waving an American flag.

Rick Serocki has turned his small yard into an unofficial Wisconsin museum with vintage call boxes, street pavers, telephone booths and other items salvaged from around the state. The addition of the Cadillac to the collection has prompted complaints.  

Over the years, Serocki added to his exhibit rapidly and randomly. He found old Milwaukee downtown street bricks and created a walkway. He spent hundreds of dollars buying lightning rods from Waukesha County barns, farm equipment from Racine County and even a large gazebo from a former West Allis bookstore.

The backyard is filled with more figures — plus Milwaukee Harp Street lights, an old City of Milwaukee emergency call box, a traffic signal, and a large, pointed pink gazebo from an establishment we do not remember.

The collection has attracted so much attention that Serocki has grown to look forward to Sunday afternoons chatting with strangers about their memories.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center

The first week of summer had arrived when these were taken...

Summer has arrived, and lush leaf cover shades much of the Center’s six miles of trails. Flowering prairie plants rise to greet the bright summer sun and a cool breeze accompanies the fossils washing up along our Lake Michigan shoreline.

My adventures generally start as a purpose for a walking exercise, where I just happen to bring my camera along. While these images may not necessarily be newsworthy, they do serve a purpose for exploring the beauty of what surround us. And to get away from the tribulations we experience today. Thank goodness for these natural sanctuaries. 

Schlitz Audubon Website

 Reflecting clouds at the Teal Pond

The new boardwalk on Mystery Lake

 A popular homesteader

Lilies abundant

 Young adults awaken from their nap


 A walk around the West Meadows Trail

Schlitz Audubon Website

Monday, May 8, 2017

Springtime at the Blue Heron Wildlife Sanctuary

Blue Heron is a 90-plus acre wildlife sanctuary, which was once a farm, and has been dedicated to protect native wildlife and plants. The property is on the west bank of the Milwaukee River, contains a pond and a number of streams, and is open to the public during daylight hours. Members of the public are welcome to walk Blue Heron's trails, take a boardwalk to the pond (north and west of the log-cabin style visitor center, picnic along the Milwaukee River (follow the trail from the parking lot down to the River), or snowshoe or cross-country ski in the winter. Enjoy the scenery and the diverse plants and animals.

Bordering the Milwaukee River, the Blue Heron Sanctuary has seemingly endless well maintained trails for hiking year round and cross-country skiing in winter. The trails move through different habitats including wooded areas and grasslands. President of the board, Annamarie Dittmar, said that otters have been sighted on the river as well.

The sanctuary is also part of an animal rehab program. Wild animals are rescued and afterward released onto the property.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Solvay Coke, the ideal fuel

... and the land can be yours for $4,200,000

The Solvay Coke & Gas plant originally opened in 1906 and closed its doors in April, 1983. Plans to demolish the expansive site have been in the works for years, but the intensive cleanup efforts mandated by the EPA have put this plant in limbo. It is, after all, a Superfund site: arsenic, lead, asbestos, and a whole host of other chemicals have been mixed into the ground.

The 46-acre Solvay Coke & Gas site is privately owned, and discussions over its future have centered on whether it should become a light industrial park or mixed-use commercial and housing development. It has been tied up in a bankruptcy lawsuit for years, and is contaminated.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Illinois last month signed off on a plan to sell the land this spring. Wisconsin Gas, a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group in Milwaukee, is the leading bidder to buy the property with a $4 million offer. WEC Energy has said it wants to work with the city and Harbor District to revitalize the property, but hasn’t released any specific plans.

The court-appointed receiver overseeing the property has hired Hilco Real Estate LLC of Northbrook Ill., to market the property to other potential bidders. Other companies must submit offers of at least $4.2 million by March 21. If any competing bids emerge, an auction will be held April 3.

“This site could essentially be the keystone for any future development of Milwaukee’s harbor area, especially given its proximity to the interstate and public transportation,” said Joel Schneider, senior vice president of Hilco Real Estate.

HERE is the source and some history…

HERE is a collection of images from the past…

These images have been digitally processed in Lightroom, MacPhun Software and have a texture overlay.