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The shallow, 24-acre Little Lake is the only inland lake located on Washington Island. Located within 250 feet of Lake Michigan, it is primarily fed by groundwater springs and surface water. The small, landlocked lake was created thousands of years ago through deposition of wave-washed gravel across a shallow bay mouth of glacial Lake Nippising. As the glacial waters receded, a 250-foot wide cobblestone ridge was formed that helped create Little Lake. The present lake level is just three feet above that of Lake Michigan. On the north end of the lake is a coastal fen that supports many calcareous-loving plants such as buckbean, marsh bellflower, and marsh cinquefoil. Other species include swamp rose, grass pink, elliptic spike-rush, swamp loosestrife, bulblet water-hemlock, and numerous sedges. Older stands of white cedar and hemlock surround the lake.
Categories: Attraction, Nature Preserves
The wetlands and unfragmented forests provide critical foraging and nesting habitat for a host of migratory and resident birds including the red-shouldered hawk and black-throated blue warbler. The area was once home to a large village of Native Americans and hosts a Native American burial ground. Numerous artifacts dating back 3,000 years have been found here. Little Lake is owned by the Door County Land Trust and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.
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