In 2010, the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog completed the interpretive signage for a larger project to improve both public accessibility and education for the bog. The 1,656-acre Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area in Ozaukee County is a conifer swamp, the largest example of the least abundant type of wetland in southeast Wisconsin.
This was made possible in part by the $1,000 grant from the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Affinity Card Naturalist Grant Program awarded in May 2010, an $800 grant from Milwaukee River Basin Partnership in 2009 and $680 from reserves held by the Friends from membership receipts.
The most recent grant was used in July 2010 to install 13 interpretive signs for a trail into the bog that is accessed from a well-maintained and highly visible DNR parking lot adjacent to Highway 33 between Saukville and Newburg. The trail is in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
The trail received much attention in the summer of 2010 with the staging of a Bog BioBlitz by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and the Treasures of Oz tour.
The Cedarburg Bog contains large expanses of cedar-tamarack swamp forest, in addition to marshes, shrub carr, swamp hardwoods, and both deep and shallow bog lakes. Its most unusual feature is the presence of a string or “patterned” bog, which consists of stunted cedars and tamaracks alternating with flatter, wetter areas dominated by sedges. String bogs are typically found much further north, and the Cedarburg Bog may be the southernmost string bog in all of North America.
The bog was designated a State Natural Area in 1952: it was the second property added to this program. It is owned primarily by the DNR and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which maintains its Field Station there.
The Friends of Cedarburg Bog is a nonprofit 501(c3) organization that supports preservation, stewardship, appreciation and scientific study of the Cedarburg Bog in cooperation with the DNR and UWM. Its interpretive efforts to date have revolved largely around a series of field trips and hikes into the bog and its adjacent woods. The interpretive signs, which include text and color photography, are an attempt to offer an educational experience to Bog visitors 365 days a year.
The signs interpret the value of wetlands, the role of the bog and Cedar Creek in the Milwaukee River watershed, the glacial history of the area, the physical makeup of the bog, Native American habitation, habitats, ecological relationships and individual plant and animal members of the bog community.