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Red Banks Alvar State Natural Area

Location:​ Brown County

Area Protected: 143 Acres


In 2017, Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust purchased and permanently protected 143 acres of extremely rare land in Brown County adjacent to the Red Banks State Natural Area. The addition of this property to the State Natural Area, nearly doubling the size of already-protected lands, was only possible through strong local partnerships and committed landowners.

The Red Banks Alvar State Natural Area is now Wisconsin’s largest and best example of a Great Lakes Alvar community, a rare community type that occurs on flat limestone or dolomitic bedrock with shallow soils. Alvar areas are found in only five regions in the world, and this is Wisconsin's best example of the environment.  We couldn’t be more pleased to know that this property is conserved forever.

The land includes nationally declining wetlands types, wetlands that drain into the Bay, and is an important stopover site for migratory birds in spring and fall. The Red Banks preserve will permanently protect these declining coastal wetland ecosystems that are home to threatened and endangered species found only in this area.

Not only will the Red Banks State Natural area benefit a threatened habitat, but preservation partners have worked hard to ensure it remains open to the public for recreational bird-watching, fishing, hunting, and hiking.  Faculty and students at the nearby University of Wisconsin–Green Bay will also conduct environmental research at the site.

We are grateful to the community's conservation partners who have helped protect this land.

click on PDF for map of access and parking

Driving Directions to Red Banks State Natural Area

From the South via HWY 41:

Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 170 A-B for I-43 S toward Milwaukee, continue onto I-43 S, take exit 185 to merge onto WI-54 E/WI-54 Trunk E/WI-57 N/Sturgeon Bay Rd toward Sturgeon Bay/Algoma.

Travel about 8 miles. After Pleasant Hill Cemetery on the right, you can either turn onto Gibson Lane, drive down 0.6 miles and park at the property gate on the left, or go back out to Hwy. 57, take a right, go up WI-57 1/2 mile, and park at the WDNR parking lot (just off of WI-57). 


From the North via HWY 41:

-Take HWY 41 South to Interstate 43 South

-Travel along I-43N until you merge with HWY 54/57

-Follow HWY 57 north (HWY 54 will split off – stay on HWY 57)

-Follow HWY 57 for about 8 miles, until you reach Gibson Road. Turn right, travel 0.6 miles, and park by the gate on the left (with NEWLT kiosk).

From the East:

-Travel to I-43N and follow above directions


From the West:

-Travel to HWY 41, or I-43 and follow above directions

*For more precise directions, visit Google Maps and follow directions to 4900 Gibson Lane, New Franken, WI.

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