Public asked to help design Cedar Gorge preserve

County will host meeting to gather input on amenities for 131-acre park in Port

A BANNER proclaiming the fact that the Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs Nature Preserve will be “forever conserved” was placed at the 131-acre property on Port Washington’s far southeast side in August by (from left) Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Executive Director Tom Stolp, Land Trust Operations Manager Marilyn Schlotfeldt, Lisa Leick, a member of the Land Trust’s Development and Communications Committee, and Development Director Leona Knobloch. Photo by Sam Arend
Ozaukee Press staff

The public will be asked this week to weigh in on proposed recreational amenities and restoration efforts planned for Clay Bluffs Cedar Gorge Nature Preserve, Ozaukee County’s newest park.

An online meeting to discuss a community forest plan for the area will be held by the Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8.

Andrew Struck, director of the Planning and Parks Department, will host the hour-long meeting, which will be held via Zoom.

This is the first of multiple meetings the county expects to hold regarding plans for the 131-acre park on Port Washington’s far southeast side.

The meeting will focus on the forest plan, which was developed with guidance from the U.S. Forest Service Community Forest Program as part of a grant to help acquire 42 acres of the property.

The park, which is not yet open to the public, was acquired by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust on Aug. 26 and  then transferred to the county.

The forest plan will be folded into a master plan for the entire park, which is expected to be completed this winter.

Acquisition of the property, especially the environmentally sensitive gorge and bluffs, has been a long-time goal of the Planning and Parks Department.

Cedar Gorge and the Clay Banks are important natural areas with unique vegetation and habitat for a variety of species, including the short-eared owl, which is a species of specific concern.

The land was platted for a subdivision decades ago as part of the Port Vincent development planned by Brookfield developer Vincent Kuttemperoor.

That plan fell through, as did a proposal to create Cedar Vineyard, a subdivision that would have carved out both land for preservation and a residential subdivision.

The Land Trust eventually made an offer to purchase the property and began fundraising. The goal was in sight until an anonymous legislator objected to a $2.3 million stewardship fund grant recommended by the Department of Natural Resources, stopping the approval process.

An anonymous person then stepped forward to say he would buy the property without any state funding, but the efforts galvanized the public and the Land Trust continued its fundraising.

But Gov. Tony Evers stepped in, awarding the Land Trust $2.3 million in pandemic relief funds to replace the money it was originally slated to receive, enabling the purchase to go through.

To register for the meeting, email Natalie Avallone at



Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login