“providing spectacular views from the bluff tops”
Ellison Bluff features a densely wooded two-tiered rock terrace -- part of the larger Niagara Escarpment rock formation that stretches and winds though the site providing spectacular views from the bluff tops. Extending from New York, into Wisconsin and forming the Door Peninsula, the limestone-capped Niagara Escarpment was formed through sediment deposition of inland seas more than 425 million years ago and contains fossil-rich sedimentary bedrock. Over time, the soft rocks under a more resistant limestone cap wear away leaving bluffs, which rise 200 feet above the Bay's shore. The cliffs, free face and sheer in places, contain sufficient ledges and fractures to support a vertical, talus slope forest of white cedar with Canada yew, mountain maple, red pine, basswood, and red elderberry. One cedar was determined to be 250 years old. The talus slope also supports 26 species of land snail including five rare species and two glacial relict species. The forested bluff top contains a northern mesic forest dominated by sugar maple, white ash, red oak, and beech. Also present are paper birch, big-tooth aspen, and hemlock. The understory is composed of wild sarsaparilla, big-leaved aster, Canada mayflower, large-flowered trillium, wood-betony, and bracken fern. At least two rare plants are also present: rock whitlow-grass (Draba arabisans) and broad-leaf sedge (Carex platyphylla). Birds include great-crested flycatcher, least flycatcher, winter wren, black-throated green warbler, and blackburnian warbler. Ellison Bluff is owned by Door County and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002
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Ellison Bluff State Natural Area
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