Hello from the ‘Creek,
Already January is over, but in some ways I feel like winter has yet to begin. Any progress to the contrary has been quickly erased by misty, gray days reminiscent of late fall.
In fact, the open water makes the relatively recent Polar Vortex now seem like an obscure memory. Of course, even that event was not a harken back to winters of old, but rather the ushering in of a fierce unpredictability now evidenced by epic windstorms and rainfall totals often conveyed by inches.
Adaptation is becoming routine.
I recently read that the “word of the year” for 2016 was “normal,” as in normalize or perhaps best conveyed as the “new normal.” In the past, I thought any attempt to encompass an entire year with a word was a bit trite. If I happened to hear it I would make the obvious connection and then just as quickly forget it. This time, however, the irony has made it notable. It is normal to see change, but there has always been an underlying standard we could rely on.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
How many times have we used the adage? Too many to count because of the truth it conveyed and the assurance it offered. I suppose if we trace history long enough it will always prove valid, but in our lifetime the rapidity of alteration has never been more evident. It has left many feeling disjointed and grappling with the impact. How can we adjust to uncertainty and the bigness of circumstances beyond our control?
Almost at once I see and hear those around me turn towards home.
Perhaps what was initially instinctive has become a deliberate movement to protect and enjoy what is cherished. Acceptance of the “new normal” will be limited by our preparedness and the actions we take in our immediate vicinity. Offsetting the climate is monumental, but our focused efforts can make a difference on places we deem special.
Brickyard Creek is world class and becoming more important everyday. We serendipitously stumbled on a piece of property that we knew was beautiful, but now know to be exceptional. Moreover, this “sense of place” extends to the Bayfield Peninsula and the people that call it home. It is a privilege to live in a nature based, environmentally conscious local. Of course, with entitlement comes responsibility and our affiliation with local organizations is crucial to preserve the very reasons we chose to invest here. It has been an honor to attend meetings, gatherings, and events to share, learn, and strengthen Brickyard Creek ties to the greater community. As the original vision states, “Brickyard cannot be viewed as a stand alone community.” Certainly, it will take this understanding and our willingness to be active stewards to make a difference.
Brickyard Creek proudly partners with these organizations:
Bayfield Regional Conservancy
Farms Not Factories
Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute
Apostle Island National Lakeshore
Boreal Forest Citizens
Creating action is first accomplished by identifying value. I hope you have been enjoying the monthly essays that have been posted on the community website and emailed to your account. The Boreal Forest Citizen is a collaborative newsletter that offers each of us a chance to creatively share information about Brickyard Creek, Lake Superior, or the surrounding area. The possibilities are limitless and the effect powerful. Please contact me if you would like to submit a video, photo essay, or written article. Your participation will educate others and add to the growing appreciation for what we have been fortunate to discover.
Our shared identity lends itself towards a more connected and engaged community.
Projects this past year include:
- A Monarch Waystation was created near The Clearing viewing deck. After site prep, milkweed and other plants were added to develop habitat in an effort to assure the continuation of the monarch migration phenomenon. This is Brickyard Creek’s first certified conservation endeavor. A future Boreal Forest Citizen article will offer further information and perspective. Thanks to the Harrington family and Dale Klubertanz for your hard work and care to bring this project to fruition.
- A Little Free Library was built and installed on Creek Trail. This is essentially a book exchange so please leave a book when you take a book. Thanks to Mary Carlson for the idea.
- A kayak launching area was developed on the north end of the beach. Thanks to Peter Tropman and Jim Gilson for their vision and efforts.
More information regarding future volunteer opportunities and other get-togethers will be introduced in an upcoming Boreal Forest Citizen article.
Operations and Maintenance
Community interaction is an important component of the momentum we now enjoy and a requirement to preserve our long-term viability. Day-to-day operations assures our well-being and protects our investment. Maintaining Brickyard Creek’s infrastructure and grounds requires total vision with a careful eye on aesthetic.
The 2016 report:
- Well Operations
- Bacteriological testing was completed on cottage wells and all passed “safe.” Rental management services have received a copy to meet state health regulations. All tests are on file and available upon request.
- There are 33 wells throughout BYC I, II, III (the Condo Association). Almost all components are past their life expectancy with several requiring repair throughout the past year.
- A well cover was built to replace one destroyed by a tree in a wind storm.
- Road Maintenance
- All roads and driveways in BYC I, II, III were graded.
- The gravel rotation plan for 2016 was completed. This included all roads and driveways on Isabel, Tucker, Bjorn, Jordan, and Tamarack. Also, large segments of Brickyard Creek Rd.
- Roy’s Point Blvd. continues to be put on hold until a new lease is signed with NPS.
- Trail Maintenance
- The Sigurd Olson trail was rerouted with new logs and wood chips. Also, segments were added that lead to tucked away Listening Points. One winds back towards the creek through large cedar and the other is on the old railroad grade (south of the creek). Both areas have a newly built bench and wonderful views.
- The Brickyard Creek Trail from the road bridge to the Old Rail Trail was completely remade with new, mostly cedar logs, wood chips, and the addition of two Listening points. Both benches sit creekside with one accessed by walking under the arch created by the giant Black Willow tree.
- The narrow, unstable steps east of the road bridge were removed and replaced with a solidly built staircase that is wider and safer to use
- A needed bridge was added to the The Old Rail Trail. The Arts an Crafts inspired design will serve as a prototype for future structural improvements.
- Forest Maintenance
- The July 21st storm produced 80 mph winds that brought down approximately 40 large trees throughout the property. Work began immediately to remove trees and large branches from roads, driveways, and trails. Subsequent windstorms did require further clean-up.
- The arborist has completed the removal of hazardous trees that were on his initial survey. Inspections were performed following each significant windstorm and additional tree removal was required.
- The primary focus in 2017 will be the strategic removal of aged Popple.
- Entry Area
- Extensive weeding, pruning, and mulching has led to significant improvement
- Native ground cover plants will be added this Spring
- Replacement of the sign will likely be required in the next year or two due to rotting
- Cedar posts and new street signs were installed on Creek Trail, Olivia, Madeleine, and Brickyard Creek Rd. Replacement of all other rotting posts and cracked signage will be completed over the next two summers.
- Interpretive Trail Guide numbers have been reintroduced to the hiking trails
- Trash Coordination
- Both recycling and trash dumpsters are emptied every other week during the winter months
- A reminder that the dumpsters cannot be used for electronic items or construction material
- B.R.B Recycling Authority will take old appliances, furniture, electronics, etc.
- Thank you for breaking down all boxes for recycling
- There was no evidence of damage or report of break-in throughout 2016.
- I consistently walk around each cottage and lake home. Of course, you will be immediately notified if anything is amiss.
- The relationship between Brickyard Creek and Red Cliff remains excellent. The tribal police continue to voluntarily patrol our roads.
- Our community website is the go-to resource for everything you need to know about Brickyard Creek. In addition to articles and past reports you will find the handbook, owner contact information, service vendors, and architectural guidelines. Thank you for taking the time to learn about your community!
- A new print version of the nature trail guide is in the works. Currently you can download both the trial map and the trail guide on our community website. Trail maps are also available in the box attached to the trailhead located on the edge of the parking lot.
- If you are using your cottage in the winter you will need to make sure there is a path to your holding tank and the cover cleared if septic service is required.
- The freeze/thaw/freeze nature of our winter has produced icy roads throughout the property. Sand is available in the black barrels at the end of Sophie Lane and on the north side of the main entry.
- If your cottage uses a heat-line you might find it advantageous to order a back-up. I have had a number of people tell me that their original heat-line no longer works. I suspect these electrical devices are at or near their life expectancy. This is particularity true if it has not been unplugged during the summer months as recommend. Brickyard Creek uses the Retro line found under the products tab. The heat-line is working when the indicator light is on.
- For the latest information about Brickyard Creek, community partners, and happenings in the area please like us on Facebook at Brickyard Creek Community on Lake Superior.
As always, please feel to contact me with any thoughts or questions.