Frank Stout Wilderness Preserve
The Frank Stout Wilderness Preserve (aka: Moonbeam Island and Big Island) is an island formerly owned by Frank Stout, the grandson of the founder of the Stout Lumber Company of Dubuque Iowa and Chicago, Ill. Mr. Stout donated the island to the Lake Shore Owners' Association so that it might be kept in perpetuity as a wilderness and undeveloped island on a Northern Wisconsin Lake. The association maintains the island and pays taxes on the island. The island is an important stop on the bird migration routes and a home to a diverse wildlife population. Stumps from the logging era can still be seen as you hike the island. Only one small fishing camp was present on the island during the early years of the 1900’s. There is a small foundation on the south side of the island where a sugar bush house once stood.
The island is designated for day use only and camping and fires are not permitted at any time. Stories of buried treasure and strange sightings surround the island’s history, you are the judge of what is true when you take the time to walk this peaceful sanctuary. Look for arrowheads around the stumps of up-turned trees and see the variety of ferns that cluster at the crown of the hills, these are the true treasures of this island.
The Frank Stout Wilderness Preserve has been placed into a Conservation Easement with the help of the West Wisconsin Land Trust. This will help protect the island for future generations and includes holding educational events on the island at various times of the year.
The island is approximately 40 acres in size and has a mature and dying, old growth forest on it. The island was logged at the end of the 1800’s, itoffers great hiking and fishing opportunities. Access to the island is best from the south side of the island. A stewardship committee of the association manages the island. Taxes are paid by a special fund managed by a separate group of trustees. This fund is currently under-funded and will terminate sometime over the next decade, leaving the island vulnerable to a takeover by the state unless the lakeshore owners find a new strategy for tax reductions. Although the island should be under the protection of the state and exempt from taxes, due to its tax-exempt status, a local administrator has considered protection of the local tax base more important than the protection of a wilderness island. He has denied the protection of the island by placing it on the tax roles. Among the strategies suggested to keep the tax fund fully funded has been moving to a managed forest program and/or giving the island to a land preservation group. Discussion on the island is part of most association meetings. Records for the island are kept with the President of the Association.
On Dec 14, 1920, Frank Stout ll wrote his grandson Frank Stout lll about this island on Little Sissabagama that he called "Moon Glo Island". For those who have visited the island, it seems an appropriate name considering there may have been far fewer tall trees in 1920, just years after the pine was harvested.
Frank Stout Island Legal Creation
Frank Stout Island Fund Voting Stewardship