The Baileys Harbor Rangelights have been welcoming visitors to The Ridges area since 1870 – long before the Sanctuary was officially established in 1937.
Built in 1869, the lights were built to keep ships off the treacherous reefs and shallows at the entrance to Baileys Harbor. From the water, sailors could line up the white light from the Upper Rangelight, which shone 39 feet above the water, with the Lower Rangelight’s red beacon, 22 feet above the water.
Not long after the lights were automated, the land surrounding them became a wildflower preserve, managed by the newly-formed Ridges Sanctuary, Inc. The Ridges eventually took over maintenance of the lighthouse buildings, and is now in the process of raising funds for much-needed restoration work on the Lower Rangelight.
On Thursday, July 28, Neal Vogel will present “Light Up the Rangelights.” During his program, he will describe the history of the Rangelights and share what he has learned in his preparation of an Historic Structures Report for the Lower Rangelight. The program begins at 7 pm at the Baileys Harbor Town Hall and is free to the public. Donations to the Lower Rangelight Restoration Project will be gladly accepted, and anyone donating $20 or more will receive an art print of the Rangelights done by Phil Austin.
From the endangered Hines Emerald dragonfly to the rare Ram’s-head Lady Slipper orchid, the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor provides refuge for some of Door County’s rarest treasures. But the Sanctuary provides refuge for people as well – it was described by a visitor as “a spot of heaven on earth in the midst of the chaos going on in the outside world.” Over 5 miles of trails are open year-round for self-guided hiking. Naturalist-guided hikes are offered at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm Tuesday through Friday, and 9:30 am on Saturday. The Nature Store, featuring a wide selection of nature-related books, puppets, T-shirts and gift items, is open daily from mid-May through mid-October. The Sanctuary is located at 8288 Hwy Q, just off Hwy 57, in Baileys Harbor. For more information, call 920.839.2802 or visit RidgesSanctuary.org.
Thursday, July 28
7:00 PM – Light Up the Rangelights
The Baileys Harbor Rangelights were beacons of safety that guided ships into Baileys Harbor for 100 years. Today they lead visitors into the Ridges Sanctuary, an area of incredible natural diversity and beauty. Neal Vogel, with Restoric, LLC, will share plans for restoration of the Lower Rangelight building. 7:00 PM at the Baileys Harbor Town Hall. Program is free, but donations are gladly accepted.
Saturday, July 30
6:30 AM – Discovery Bird Hike
The Ridges’ bird hikes are led by local birders, but all participants will be involved in discovering and identifying the species seen. Everyone is welcome, from beginning to seasoned birdwatchers, as we explore various birding hotspots around The Ridges and Baileys Harbor. Meet at the Nature Center. Donations accepted.
Monday, August 1
2:00 PM – Geocaching: A GPS Treasure Hunt
Geocaching has been described as a “high-tech treasure hunt.” After discussing what geocaching is and learning some tips and tricks, you’ll head into the woods to seek out caches hidden on the Ridges trails. A “No Family Left Inside” program. $10 per family, preregistration required by calling 920-839-2802.
Tuesday, August 2
9:00 – 11:00 AM – Barberry Pirates
The Barberry Pirates are a hearty crew of volunteers who work to control the exotic plants that threaten the Ridges. Each week we attack the dreaded barberry, the pernicious crown vetch, as well as swamp thistle and a host of others. New pirates are always welcome, and snacks are provided after the raid!
Tuesday through Thursday, August 2-4
9:00 AM to noon – Camp Taiga
Three mornings of fun and learning for children entering first and second grades. We will learn what animals need to survive and take a close look at the unique habitats found in the Ridges Sanctuary. Each day’s activities include games, crafts, stories and a hike. Preregistration is required for this program – call for more information.