The VVLA has been active for many years in supporting the preservation of approximately 400 acres of land bordering both Van Vliet and Averill Lakes known as the “Van Vliet Hemlocks”. This land has been owned by the State of Wisconsin since statehood and was first managed by the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. The Association sponsored many hikes on the property.
In 2010, a dedicated group of community members began meeting with the BCPL in order to define ways the public could support the preservation of the parcel for future generations. Efforts began to create a hiker-friendly set of trails and provide an accurate map of the trail system. Information signs for the east entry were designed.
The Friends of Van Vliet Hemlocks was established as a separate organization in March, 2011. The goal of the Friends for this property to become a State Natural Area became a reality in 2014.
The Friends aim is to improve public access and increase educational opportunities, leading to greater utilization, awareness and future care of this true treasure. The Friends is an affiliate of the North Lakeland Discovery Center ( https://discoverycenter.net/clubs/van-vliet-hemlock/van-vliet-hemlocks-overview/ ) and more information about the organization can be found at that website.
The Van Vliet Lake Association is a charter member of the Friends and has a representative on their board. Lake Association members are a vital component of the group. Please consider joining the Friends of Van Vliet Hemlocks and continue to enjoy hikes on the site that are now sponsored by the Friends group.