The land on which Kishwauketoe sits was purchased in 1989, and formally dedicated as a protected conservancy on July 6th, 1990 “To The Children of Tomorrow”. It is steeped in Native American history, as the Potawatomi people, also called “Keepers of the Sacred Fire” or “The True People”, once inhabited the area. The name Kishwauketoe was selected because of its Potawatomi origin. It is loosely translated as “Clear Water” or “Lake of the Sparkling Water” – a perfect fit for a place that encompasses the beauty of Geneva Lake, with its lush and expansive pockets of nature, while also honoring the Potawatomi.
When the area train route was decommissioned, opening the way for development of the area, there were several plans for the property, including becoming a lagoon, a resort, and a mixed-use golf community with a hotel/condominium complex. Fortunately, the Williams Bay Village Board, along with an outcry from area citizens fearing development would damage the water quality in the lake, rallied to acquire the land and turn it into a nature conservancy. Today, Kishwauketoe represents a rare and evolving lakeside ecological area open to visitors 365 days a year.
Today, volunteers work diligently to remove invasive species and replace them with native trees, grasses, and wildflowers. They also continuously maintain the wonderful trails, so everyone can enjoy Kishwauketoe. While larger projects often require grants and/or support by other community organizations, and Citizens dedicated to supporting KNC’s Mission, the volunteers at Kishwauketoe have achieved an amazing amount of work, including:
- Restoration of over over 65 acres of prairie
- 4 miles of trails cleared and maintained
- An arboretum planted on the Harris Road entrance to conservancy
- Construction of a two story viewing tower
- Annual burns to keep invasive species in check
For more information, please read about some of the great progress and accomplishments from our volunteers for Kishwauketoe by reviewing our past newsletters and our social media history/updates.