As I write this new years presidents message I realized that it was a little over 50 years ago that Lawrence and Ann Maurin moved into the new home they had built for their retirement at Lac Lawrann. They recorded new, and sometimes rare, species of wild flowers that year as they spent even more time hiking through the property that they were rehabilitating. Winters thereafter saw them cross-country skiing and ice-skating on the pond that bears the conservancy’s name. Throughout their time at Lac Lawrann the Maurins kept meticulous records of birds that visited their feeders and the other wildlife that roamed the woods and visited the ponds. White tail deer, raccoons, opossums and eventually, a few years later, beavers. At that time Lac Lawrann was on the outskirts of town and the habitat was adequate for some of the critters that wandered through. Years passed, the city grew, and what was once adequate is no more. The conservancy, while much larger than in Ann and Lawrence’s time, is now mostly surrounded by the city. With that enclosure come some problems relating to the wildlife that make their home at Lac Lawrann.
A survey done in cooperation with the Wisconsin DNR indicated a population of 28 deer on the Conservancy. Because of the high numbers of deer, most of the saplings needed to keep the forest healthy and re-generating are gone. Most maple, oak, beech, birch, basswood and cherry seedlings grow only a few inches before being eaten. You can see the evidence as you walk through our very open woodlands. The policy committee that oversees the management of the resources at Lac Lawrann addressed the need for deer population management many years ago.
To address the overpopulation of deer in the city and at Lac Lawrann, the city of West Bend has decided to allow a very limited and controlled bow hunt at the Conservancy and at Ridge Run Park. I won’t go into all of the details here, those are available on the city website, but you do need to know that Lac Lawrann will be closed to the public for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing from January 10 to 14, 2018. So keep an eye on our website for events that will happen after January 14 and we’ll see you on the trails.
Paul De Chant
President, Friends of Lac Lawrann Conservancy