The Wilderness at Fortune Bay has earned designation as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Achieving this status requires certification in five different areas: Environmental Planning, Chemical Use Reduction and Safety, Water Conservation, Outreach and Education, and Wildlife and Habitat Management. This initial certification as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary system was achieved in 2005 and was most recently renewed in December 2018 after an evaluation coordinated with both Audubon International and Vermilion Community College.
Environmental planning was achieved in November of 2004. The purpose of Environmental Planning is to balance the demands of the golf course with the responsibility to the natural environment. It explains both the measures currently being taken and the programs that are to be implemented to safeguard the quality of the environment.
Chemical Use Reduction and Safety was achieved January of 2005. With this certificate The Wilderness maintains healthy turf, monitors problems and takes responsible action when necessary. The Wilderness takes pride in trying to improve both the soil and turf health as well as dealing with underlying conditions by proper cultural practices that include irrigation and fertilization management. With this we apply chemicals on a primarily curative basis and in the most environmentally responsible method possible. The use of biological control measures as alternative pest controls will also be applied, as well as training the employees to help monitor the turf and catch pest and disease activity before it becomes a problem.
Water Conservation was also achieved in January of 2005. Water consumption is one of the primary environmental concerns facing golf courses today. The Wilderness has committed to the judicious and responsible use of water resources and works to reduce consumption and conserve water. The Wilderness grounds crew has been working hard to not apply any chemical additives to the water features on the course as well as commit to protect the wetlands.
Outreach and Education was achieved in 2005 after the golf course made, and continues to make, efforts to both assist the community in environmental projects and educating the public about the environmental benefits of golf courses. We have been active with the local DNR, Vermilion Community College, various school groups, and the Boy Scouts of America in trying to promote the positive environmental influence that golf courses can have when managed properly.
Wildlife and Habitat Management certification was also earned in 2005; the efforts we made can be seen on the golf course in the form of different types of bird and bat houses throughout the property, as well as the existence of natural habitats in the woods adjacent to every golf hole. Indeed, some of the best habitats for wildlife are blown down trees and other structure located throughout the property that provide cover for wildlife. It is not uncommon to spot various forms of wildlife during a round of golf including wolves, porcupines, black bear, and white tail deer.
The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa and everyone else who had a hand in achieving this type of environmental recognition is very proud of this achievement. We hope those of you who enjoy the beauty of our site will both enjoy and respect the truly remarkable site that we have built this golf course on, and the measures we have taken to help preserve the environment.