Planting & Forest Policies
The members of the Brickyard Creek Association and the Brickyard Creek Development Group preserve our vision for our boreal forest through active involvement in education programming, environmental practices coupled with community and policy development.
It has been determined that Brickyard Creek will be managed as a “native plant” community and that the community will work to minimize the environmental impact of residential community and the various impacts of the rental activities. For these purposes, the following resources have been provided for native plant and trees along with a group of policies and rules.
Common Use and Planting Overview
Brickyard Creek was created as a residential cabin community with an underlying vision that it would be built and maintained with lowest impact on the forest, creek and lake environment and sustained through a practice of protection and restoration of the native plant communities and the Brickyard Creek watershed. The community strives to sustain this combination of residential and environmental character in the light of human activities and commercial features such as providing opportunities to renters and timesharing. It also endeavors to manage, protect and restore the native forest, watershed and lake resources it enjoys.
The boreal forests of the Bayfield peninsula are very unique. The boreal forest along Brickyard Creek where we have chosen to build our cabins is the result of thousands of years of community building among the native trees and plants that have come to make their homes here long ago in northernmost Wisconsin along the shores of Lake Superior. As an extension of the most southern range of the Canadian boreal forest, this native forest community has been developed through the interplay of mutually beneficial species of trees, plants, animal, insects and microorganisms in response to particular soil and climate conditions. The Bayfield County boreal forest follows the clay soils of the original larger glacial lake and the Lake Superior microclimate. These native plant community members have come to depend upon each other for a strategic balance and on a process keeping the forest healthy and free of invasive non-native plants.
By building our homes in this forest, we have become participants in the interaction and management of this forest community. To do so is to work together as stewards in nurturing the healthy life of the forest, watershed and lake environment. To do otherwise, is to disrupt the native forest community’s harmony and serve to stress its integrity and survival.
Each BYC owner has been attracted to these special native qualities in building their own homes in the boreal forest. By becoming a member of BYC community each owner has accepted an essential covenant, an agreement to sustain the health and integrity of the boreal forest and its watershed as being not just “on the land” but “of the land” in holding this forest community in common.
Although each of us own only our cabin and its “footprint”, with the rest of the forest held in common, the association has recognized since its formation that individual cottage owners might have the desire to manage the appearance of their common-ground sites around their cabins. The following consists of approved guidelines and resources originally compiled by the Forest and Watershed Committee and approved by the Board of Directors in 2002 with further updates and approval by the Board of Directors in May 2010.
The Brickyard Creek Communities have been subdivided by condominium plats under Wisconsin Statutes. This means that each cottage Owner owns his/her cottage structure and the ground underlying the footprint of the cottage. The Condominium Association owns all of the remaining land in the condominium plat, which is designated “Common Property.” Each BYC cottage owner has an undivided interest in the Common Property by virtue of owning a cottage in the condominium. The purpose of the Hazardous Tree Policy is to clarify the responsibilities of the BYC Owner and to define the steps from assessment to removal of hazardous trees in the Common Property.
Definition of a Hazardous Tree
Although the definition of a hazardous tree is subjective by nature, a hazardous tree can be defined as a tree that is (i) dead or diseased and (ii) poses an immediate hazard or threat to a cottage, people, vehicles in their designated parking places, roads and nature trails in the Common Property.
An Owner of a cottage does not have the right to build structures or change the character of Common Property without the consent of the BYC Architectural Control Committee and the BYC Forest and Watershed Committee. This includes the cutting or pruning of trees and the planting of or removal of other vegetation in the Common Property.
Assessment to Removal
It is the responsibility of the cottage owner to periodically inspect trees adjacent to his/her cottage to make a preliminary decision whether they constitute a hazard to their property or person. Once a decision has been made, the owner should tag the tree with a red ribbon and notify the BYC Manager of the existence of the hazardous tree. Such notification shall be by telephone, email or mail, depending upon the urgency of the situation. The BYC Manager will in turn notify the arborist and the chairperson of the Forest and Watershed Committee of the concern and pending action.
It shall then be the responsibility of the BYC Manager to have the tree assessed by the arborist who will determine if it creates a hazard, and if so, cause the tree to be cut and removed in a prompt manner or suggest alternative action(s) to save the tree. (In those rare occasions where the threat of damage or injury is imminent in the judgment of the Owner, the Owner may cause the tree to be removed by contacting the association’s identified arborist directly for a remedy.)
The Forest and Watershed Committee in collaboration and a trained arborist will complete on a regular basis a Hazardous Tree Assessment to determine the existence and location of dead and diseased trees. These trees shall be left or cut in the discretion of the Forest and Watershed Committee. Bird and small critters will tell you that all dead trees are not necessarily bad trees. If cut, the trees should be left where felled or removed from the Common Property in the discretion of the Forest and Watershed Committee, it being understood that the over-riding philosophy of Brickyard Creek is to leave downed trees on the forest floor whenever possible to maintain a natural habitat for the animals and plant life.
Arborist Disclaimer: Trees can be managed but they cannot be controlled. To live near trees is to accept some degree of risk.
The roads, cabin sites and traffic provide opportunities for lots of invasive species to take root at Brickyard Creek. These roads and sites are disturbances in the boreal forest and because the wind and our vehicles bring in exotic species to these disturbed areas, invasive species will continue to find their way into the forest and roadsides. The most aggressive species will likely take over as there are no natural means such as fires to check them. The roads and sites will continue to provide sun light and access to these species and encourage their growth.
The best way to manage invasive species is to learn how to identify them from native species, to know their growing habits and to learn safe and effective ways to combat them. Plants such as Burdock can be managed by knowing that they are biennials and can be eradicated by digging them up and are effectively controlled by clipping them off at the flowering stage so they do not reproduce before each plant dies on it’s own.
The use of chemicals requires attention to safety for people, creatures and the environment. The brand name “Round-up” or its active ingredient “Glyphosate” requires a knowledge of safeguards and proper use to ensure effectiveness and to avoid harming yourself, others or wildlife. A video created by BYC and SOEI is available from the Forest and Watershed Committee, which illustrates the safe use of Glyphosate.
Native Trees and Plants
Plant only trees and plants that belong to the Wisconsin boreal forest plant community. Plants that are most native to this ecosystem (ecotypes) will naturally do well and find a balance in relationship to the other native plants and to the growing conditions relative to soil, moisture, temperature and light that exists at BYC. Planting non-native plants or hybrids (exotics) and cultivars can threaten the other native plants and trees or place the non-native plant at risk by setting it in plant community to which it does not belong or growing conditions that are incompatible. Non-natives can also become aggressive and invade the forest community without natural checks and balances. Plants do best if they are purchased locally or in similar climates so they are hearty and suitable to the climate.
A full list of native plants that make up the boreal forests of Bayfield County can be found on line at http://www.botany.wisc.edu/wisflora/ , then “search” by Habitat . On the page listing Habitat Descriptions, pull down the menu to “boreal forest” and search again and it will take you to a page with the list of plants from this plant community. You can also “browse” by common name on the first page and then check to see if the species fits into the boreal forest community.
The following is a partial list of many native plants that grow well in BYC. The best way to introduce wildflowers is to buy plants from local native plant nurseries (Note: see list in the following pages). Growing plants from seed is difficult and slow.
Planting and Landscaping
Any improvements or changes that you want to make to the common ground area around your cabin must maintain the natural and native makeup and appearance of our boreal forest environment and must be approved by the committee. Please submit a sketch and narrative of your plans by email or mail to the contact person on the Forest and Watershed Committee, Dale Klubertanz.
Use only native plants and trees for landscaping. The items below provide a reference list of native flowers, shrubs and trees. In addition to this list, please feel free to contact individuals (Note: see list in the following pages) with the expertise to advise you on the enhancement of your common ground area.
In recent years, the Forest and Watershed Committee has established an on-going relationship with environmental experts who provide on-site consultation. These resource people include Sara Bolles of Northern Native Plantscapes and the interns of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute (SOEI) at Northland College.
The members of the Forest and Watershed Committee are also available to help you with any of your questions.
Suitable non-plant landscape items are:
- Rocks: Sandstone, Granite, Basalt
- Tree stumps and branches
- Wood Chips and rock walkways
Please do not dig up wildflowers, shrubs or trees from the woods nor the common grounds. Many wildflowers, shrubs and trees do not transplant well and you could seriously disrupt or destroy them by digging. Let’s leave them where they are for everyone to enjoy. This includes the picking of flower bouquets.