|P.O. Box 884 * Chippewa Falls, WI 54729|
Joas Park Nature Preserve
Joas Park Nature Preserve was created through the vision of the late Joe Joas, whose dream was to see this jewel of undisturbed woodland, creek, and wetland permanently protected. The Chippewa County Land Conservancy purchased the property with assistance from Chippewa County's Land Conservation Fund in November, 2010.
The preserve is a 52 acre woodland in the Village of Lake Hallie, just south of the Chippewa Falls City Limits. Hwy. 124 lies on the southeast side, and the future bike trail lies along its west border. Access is from the bike trail, which is expected to be completed in 2014. For now, visitors can walk south from where the future trail crosses Old Eau Claire Road.
The preserve will be used for quiet recreation and nature study. Some trails have been completed, and others will be constructed over the coming months. The trails include a section that parallels Misty Brook, a beautiful trout stream that passes through the property. Another winds around a wetland, with exposed sandstone outcrops on the opposite side of the trail. A large part of the property consists of a "seep", or wet area at the base of a steep hill that is perpetually wet due to the water flowing out of the base of the hillside. It is covered with plants such as skunk cabbage. A drier upland area is found paralleling the future bike trail. Eventually, the preserve will be a destination for bikers from Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls seeking a quiet spot for nature study and contemplation, as well as an area for walking, skiing, and snowshoeing.
The preserve honors Joe Joas, who's family owned the land since 1906, when an uncle, C.J. Zeitinger acquired it. Joas, as an employee of Chippewa County, had a role in creating the Chippewa County park system, and was among the group that organized the Conservancy in 2000. A marker in the heart of the preserve remembers his role in creating the preserve.
"Joas Park Nature Preserve is located in the center of the Chippewa Falls - Eau Claire metropolitan area, so the purchase of the land permanently protects a beautiful woodland glen from the threat of development and provides a refuge within easy access of many area residents," said Alison Sazama, president of the Conservancy.