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Boreal Forest



Boreal Forest

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At Brickyard Creek we have a tradition of being an engaged partner with the greater Bayfield Community. We do this through formal partnerships between BYC and selected organizations. Informal partnerships also exist due to personal interest and volunteerism in organizations with which we share common goals for the Bayfield Community.

Apostle Islands Area Community Fund

Created in 2000, the Apostle Islands Area Community Fund (AIACF) supports area nonprofits through annual grant-making and provides individuals who love their community a way to give back. Currently, BYC neighbors Joan Cybela and Chere Gibson serve on the Board of Directors and in the past neighbor John Cory has served as Chairman of the Funds Board. Many BYC residents are regular contributors. For more information about the AIACF contact Joan, Chere or John, or visit the AIACF online at:

Apostle Islands Area Community Fund

CORE Community Resources
CORE Community Resources’ mission is to help seniors, defined as over age 55, stay independent, active, and valued members of their community. Services are offered free of charge and include community liaison aid, health & wellness programs, and Superior Life Long Learning activities. Participates have enjoyed educational nature walks throughout the Brickyard Creek Boreal Forest with community naturalist Erica Peterson. 
Friends of the Apostle Islands

Friends of the Apostle Islands are a diverse group of sailors, kayakers, boaters, divers, lighthouse lovers, hikers, fishermen, beach-combers, wildlife watchers, and many others, who share a love for these 21 islands and the 12 mile section of mainland that make up the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore of Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shore.

We invite you to join us, and be a voice for these Islands.

Our Mission is to promote an appreciation for, and preservation of, the natural environment and cultural heritage of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.
Our Efforts connect people with the history, beauty, and adventure of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; support the educational, recreational, and resource protection efforts of the National Park Service; raise funds to support park projects and events, and increase community involvement with the Islands.

Friends of the Apostle Islands

Landmark Conservancy

Landmark Conservancy was born of a merger between two nationally-accredited land trusts: West Wisconsin Land Trust and Bayfield Regional Conservancy.

Landmark works with citizens, local government, private landowners, tribes and state and federal agencies to protect important habitats on Lake Superior, north woods forests, inland lakes, rivers, wetlands, and farmland.
A healthy environment is vital to healthy communities and nature inspires us and nourishes our soul.

Close to home, Landmark has been the moving force behind the creation of the Houghton Falls site, and an active partner with the Red Cliff Tribe on the development of the Frog Bay Tribal Park.

Learn more: Landmark Conservancy


Red Cliff Police Department

The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is our closest neighbor. The Tribal Council has given permission to their police department to drive through Brickyard Creek property at our request. BYC is very fortunate to have this courtesy provided on our behalf. The Board now meets regularly with the Chief of the Red Cliff Police Department.

Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute

The Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute (SOEI) is an outreach division of Northland College founded in 1972 and named after its famous alumnus, writer/wilderness advocate Sigurd F. Olson. SOEI has a mission to increase public understanding of the relationships between natural and cultural environments in the Lake Superior region and, along with college faculty, students and other partners, develop solutions to environmental challenges facing the North Country.

SOEI exists to serve the conservation needs of the region, to protect and preserve world-class resources that make the Lake Superior region wild and beautiful and unique. Further, their aim is to ensure that the next generations of conservationists have the skills they need to be effective.

Our partnership is mutually beneficial and strongly supports the BYC identity and vision. As home to an important boreal forest and creek on the shores of Lake Superior, BYC provides a real world experience for students and faculty while their expertise aids in the preservation, protection, and restoration of our surroundings.

Learn more: Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute 

Superior Rivers Watershed Association

Superior Rivers Watershed Association engages with citizens as a community and helps to develop the ties between individuals and the broader watershed system they depend on. Their high-level training, support, and coordination provides volunteers the ability to assess, maintain and improve watershed integrity for future generations.

Forest & Watershed Committee members Dan Wilczek and Steve Sandstrom are currently monitoring Brickyard Creek. If you would like to help with creek testing, please contact Community Manager, Jeffery Garrett. Read about this ongoing effort.

Learn more: Superior Rivers Watershed Association

Unbridled Hope

Unbridled Hope (UHEAL) is a program working with many Red Cliff youth to foster learning, development and healing through equestrian husbandry and horsemanship.

Unbridled Hope (UHEAL) is situated on 120 acres with 45 acres fenced in. Within the 45 acres, 15 acres are wooded. There is a man made pond in the pasture area created by my husband as a bird sanctuary. We believe that the “all natural” setting is perfect not only for the horses but for everyone to enjoy.
Unbridled Hope services include:

  • Read and Ride: An after school program focuses on kids that need a little extra help in reading and spelling. It is also beneficial for those that may need help with interpersonal skills or that may have autism. The outdoor learning environment is a perfect setting.
  • Art Therapy: Kids can actually paint on the horse. A sensory garden has been developed where young and old alike can come, relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. I look forward to sharing Unbridled Hope and what I have learned, with everyone. It’s all about the horse and the human relationship.
  • Therapeutic Riding: Children on the autism spectrum, ADHD, and many other physical and mental handicaps can learn to communicate verbally and physically with their horse. They learn to focus on something outside themselves.

For more information, visit them on the web at Unbridledhope.net.

Wilderness Inquiry

Wilderness Inquiry’s (WI) mission is to connect people from all walks of life to the natural world through outdoor adventures. Through the medium of adventure travel, WI seeks to inspire personal growth, enhanced awareness of the environment, and community integration. WI adventures encourage people to open themselves to new possibilities and opportunities. In addition, WI conducts a number of specific programs designed to share the benefits of nature with youth, family, and people with disabilities.

Learn more: Wilderness Inquiry – Wisconsin

Brickyard Creek Looks Clear, but is it Healthy?

Brickyard Creek Looks Clear, but is it Healthy?

This piece is being shared with you by Boreal Forest Citizen and Brickyard Creek community member, Dan Wilczek. After practicing law for 35 years, Dan enjoys the opportunity to do some hard science as Steve Sandstrom’s biology student. Admittedly disappointed with...

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“The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land. In short, a land ethic changes the role of humans from conqueror of the land to a member and citizen of it.” ~ Aldo Leopold

Our People

Creativity abounds at Brickyard Creek! Authors, weavers, painters, jewelery artists, photographers.. Amazing! See some examples below.

Meet Nancy & Steve Sandstrom

Meet Nancy & Steve Sandstrom

Nancy & Steve Sandstrom Our Story In reflecting on the question of how we came to be residents of Brickyard Creek, we need to go back a few years — family histories and love of Lake Superior & Bayfield paved the way in this bumpy, exciting and wonderful...

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Vision & History

Identity Statement

Brickyard Creek (BYC) is an environmental residential community on the shores of Lake Superior dedicated to active stewardship and tranquility. BYC is focused on:

  • Lake
  • Land
  • Learning
  • Legacy
  • Lifestyle
  • Leadership
Mission, Vision & Values


We are a unique community of people focused on protecting our environment for future generations.


The citizens of Brickyard Creek are committed to the active stewardship of our environmental community through the promotion of ongoing education, achievement of continued economic stability and being active, good neighbors throughout our Lake Superior communities.


Environmentally Proactive

Guardians – Resilient – Agents of Change

We are focused and passionate about protecting, restoring and preserving our unique setting both within BYC and the surrounding communities, leading by example.

Economically Responsible

Transparency – Visionary – Accountable

We are deliberate and thoughtful in decisions and actions leading to community growth and improved infrastructure.

Socially Accountable

Common Concerns – Inclusive – Promotion of Learning & Growing

We are supportive of a diverse range of values-driven projects and activities that align with Brickyard Creek and the greater Bayfield community.

2020-2023 Strategic Plan

The BYC Strategic Plan was presented to the Board in May 2020, receiving unanimous approval. With that approval came the recognition that the BYC Board has needed to (and will continue to) serve as a working Board, actively addressing policy needs and decisions that will protect the vision and integrity of our community.

This plan specifically addresses actions in the following areas: Governance, Land and Lots (Future Development), Community and Communications. With this plan, future vision and planning work will be driven by the BYC Board with support from key committees.

2020-2023 Strategic Plan


A Short History of Brickyard Creek

Featured in the Boreal Forest Citizen Fall/Winter 2006/7 Vol. 1

Sitting very comfortably in the trade winds at my Caribbean home, I was struggling to envision the North woods. Bob, who was on St. John to work with me on an eco-tour resort, was describing land he had been purchasing near Bayfield. All I really knew from my geography books was that Bayfield was somewhere near the tundra, or on Lake Superior, or something like that. As Bob talked, I was picturing the quintessential small cottage nestled beneath the canopy of giant pines, surrounded with wild flowers, bear, and wolves – kind of like Little Red Riding Hood’s place. I was also wondering why most of his working trips to the tropics were in the winter. I didn’t give the North woods much thought after that, happy to be living in a place that never, in the darkest night in the middle of winter, saw a temperature reading below 63 F. – ever. Little did I know that two kids later, and with a lot of pressure from my now ex- wife, I would be moving back to America, where, after 15 years in the Caribbean, I landed in Northern Virginia with boxes of flip-flops and other useless tropical artifacts.

It wasn’t too long before Bob invited me to Bayfield to help him figure out what to do with all of those “North woods” properties he had purchased. I was looking forward to seeing this part of the world for the first time, but I was worried about the cold. Not having experienced winter in America for 15 years, I bought boots and a coat and headed to Minneapolis, where I was picked up at the heated airport in a heated car, parked in a heated garage and walked into a heated house. That was easy. The next day we started driving to Bayfield. I had always thought April was a relatively warm month. Not here. We stopped on the way and replaced my new boots and coat with newer boots and a warmer coat.

We drove through Duluth, where I got my first view of the largest lake in the world. There was ice in it. We traveled through a few small villages that seemed ready to be swallowed by either Lake Superior or the North woods, depending on which side of the highway you were on, and finally got to Bayfield. The trip left me a little puzzled. Some things were missing from my long held vision of the North woods. I turned to Bob and asked where all of the bear were.

  • They are still sleeping.
  • Where are the wild flowers?
  • It’s too early in the year.
  • Where is Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother’s cottage?
  • I don’t know.

After a brief tour of Madeline Island and the Bayfield area, I started the first of a hundred walks through the Brickyard Creek forest. I’m glad I bought the new boots. Fortunately, spring turned to summer and I started to feel right at home – with the mosquitoes; though they were thicker and more persistent here than I had ever seen in the Caribbean. I guess when you only have three or four months to do your thing; you are certainly going to be hell bound for glory to do it. I had a great time exploring the forest alone, and was only chased out twice, once by a mother bear, and the other time by a mother partridge.

Bob had just finished a marina – almost, and he had put up a new industrial looking building where the employees of the National Park Service were happily going about their business of maintaining the nearby islands – well, that’s not quite true either, they didn’t seem happy. The land around the marina was at issue. What could be done with it? Should anything be done with it? It didn’t take a seasoned developer or a highly educated environmentalist to see that this land was obviously very unique. Lots of wild flowers, lots of bear, a great tree canopy – well, except for the meadow. A past associate of Bob’s had prematurely cut two large swaths through the forest south of the creek assuming, I guess, that he would need a storage area for all of the boats in the new marina. We later cleared all of the felled trees and decided to call our new open space, “The Meadow”. It seemed that the easiest thing to do with Brickyard would be to sub-divide the whole thing. The lakeshore lots would sell, but what about second and third tier lots. And what would happen to the trees and the wildlife in a conventional sub- division? As I spent more and more time walking the land, I kept coming back to the vision I had had when first hearing about this property. Though the “cottage” idea had not hit home yet, I did see several areas where, if properly sited, a cottage could be built to look as though it was born there.

Unsure what to do, I decided to travel around the region to see what other developments in the North woods looked like. Throughout Northern Wisconsin and the North Shore of Minnesota I saw the standard fare of town homes, strip centers, and the ubiquitous plastic sided suburban homes sitting proudly just inches from the closest roadway. I was afraid that my vision of the quintessential “Cottage in the North woods” was busted.

Back in Bayfield, I suggested to Bob that we might have an opportunity to develop a world class “Cottage” resort on the land behind the marina. With some arm-twisting and after a lot of explanation, he agreed. The planning of Brickyard Creek had officially started. After a lot of tweaking, the “Cottage Resort” idea evolved into a low-impact cottage neighborhood to be marketed as second (or third) homes. We were starting to get pretty excited about this project. We imported some of the concepts from our past eco resort project, invented a few more, hired an architect who was well versed in vernacular design, printed up some nice brochures, and waited for the buyers. Nothing happened. The locals and the people who were hanging around the new Marina thought we were nuts. I remember a conversation I had with one of them. It went something like this -

We are going to build “turn of the century” style cottages in the forest behind the marina. What about the mosquitoes?

We will clear an area just large enough for the footprint of the cottage and chip up the felled trees to create nature trails to the beach. What about the mosquitoes?

We will create a set of legal documents that will allow for the forest surrounding each cottage to be preserved an even enhanced. We won’t allow lawns, clear cutting, traditionally designed foundations, or any other environmentally destructive convention. What about the mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes? We will use bacillus thuringinsis. What’s that? It is a soil bacterium that kills mosquito larvae naturally. What will the bats eat?

Things were pretty slow around here in the beginning. We had no buyers, but we did have a lot of head-scratching tire kickers who, once they learned about this crazy scheme, would go home to pack up their family and friends and bring them along just to see the circus. Encouraged, we decided to build a model cottage. We built a Creekside design just across the creek from the marina. We didn’t have a bridge so I placed a couple of logs over the creek for access to the model from our office at the marina. My contention was that anybody who couldn’t cross the creek on the logs without falling in shouldn’t own a cottage in the North woods. Bob didn’t agree. So, armed with a brand new vehicular bridge and our brand new Creekside Cottage, we prepared for the onslaught of eager buyers. Nothing happened.

One could have assumed that we were definitely way out on the fringe if compared to conventional projects. As I look back I am starting to realize that not only were we no where near the fringe, we weren’t even on the same planet. We didn’t clear lots. We only cut roads that were needed to access the few cottage sites we were offering for sale at the time. We planted native prairie grass in the meadow. We created several hundred feet of wood- chipped nature trails. We hoped that our prospective buyers would get to see a bear while looking at cottage sites and not run all the way home to Minneapolis. We actually condominiumized the cottages so that the land around the cottages would be protected through recorded restrictions. We designed a pier system that kept the cottages above the land so the foundations would not alter existing drainage patterns. We voluntarily reduced our allowed densities. We frowned upon turning the forest into a park- like setting. Trees that fell in the forest stay to add nutrients for the next generation. We didn’t even have a sign. Bob once commented to me that, “We are the best secret project in the state”.

We were stuck scratching our heads and wondering what else we could do to make this thing work. It is difficult to walk a prospective buyer onto a heavily wooded cottage site and show them the exact spot where their kitchen sink will be located. Not that we didn’t know where it was to be located, we did; or I did (Bob was still a bit behind the eight ball). It’s just that most people cannot envision a cottage when a cottage isn’t there. Bob asked me what we should do. After considerable thought, I concluded that I didn’t know. While still scratching, and to our surprise, a few very brave buyers started showing up and signing up for cottages. We were finally able to build a microcosm of the proposed project, which made envisioning cottages, and sales, a lot easier.

A few of you bought into this concept early on. Some have just recently come aboard. But you were all obviously attracted to something here, and it wasn’t just our good looks. After all, even though we are developers, we refused to be looked upon as sex symbols. Whatever the attraction – the Lake, the meadow, the wildlife, the creek, the trails, the speed bump – let’s hope that we can preserve it far into the future so that our children and their children will be able to spend time at Brickyard Creek and enjoy the same things we have had the great opportunity to experience.

- Dave Culberson

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BYC Library

Visit our community library to read articles and watch videos produced by BYC residents. History, community, peace and reflection. It’s all in the library! Here’s an example:

Living the Vision

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