NOTE: I have excerpted a small section of this interesting article as printed in a recent edition of the Peninsula Pulse. The link below is for your benefit. The point of this excerpt is to state the obvious; that our natural environment is Door County’s greatest asset.
I beg all our elected officials to broaden the definition of what comes under the umbrella of “natural environment.” Obviously this includes our parks, beaches, cliffs, and lakes, but don’t all of the tourists (as well as us residents) bike, hike, or drive along all of our roads to get to these “assets.”
Shouldn’t we do as much to beautify our roads too? It takes so little. As a matter of fact, it takes LESS effort. Do less, and let nature take its course.
This is a plea to implement and promote a scenic Heritage Highway program in Liberty Grove. The plan is already on our books, but the will by our elected leaders and representatives to move forward is not. For too long the guiding principle has been to clearcut trees and mow as wide a strip of meadow as possible along all of our roads. I ask you in all honesty, what is so beautiful about a 36 foot wide clearcut stretch of asphalt and grass with the loss of the forested canopy that used to define Door County? It seems that our road crew never saw a tree that it didn’t want to cut, gravel strips that it didn’t want to lay, or a meadow that it didn’t want to mow… In essence a short term gain of ready work versus a long term loss of forest and meadow beauty which would make Door County even more special.
If you want to see what “Olde Door County” used to look like, then drive down Moravian Road in Ephraim. Roads like this are becoming more and more rare. There are a few of them left in other Towns, but hardly any left in Liberty Grove. What a tragedy. Why can’t Liberty Grove have scenic byways like this marked by Heritage Highway signs and promoted with maps to all interested hikers, bikers, and motorists?
I add WIS-DOT for special condemnation, since this agency has gone out of its way during the recent spring “road brushing” seasons to widen excessively the clearcut zone along State Highway 42 from Gills Rock to Northport, going north along 42 into Fish Creek, and major tree removal along State Highway 57 from Maxwelton Braes down to Jacksonport last winter. Those “Twisties” heading up to Northport so beloved by Jens Jensen no longer exist in the visual sense except for the curved highway, now naked and sunlit. The iconic trees and the canopy so popular in the photographs of the fall colors are long gone.
Please sustain the environment, even the little strips along our roads which frame and accentuate the nature beyond. Please read this article in its entirety.
Northern Door Neighbors Association
Treading Lightly: Can Door County maintain its character while attracting more visitors?
By Myles Dannhausen Jr.,
Door County Living
July 1st, 2007
Not so long ago, conventional wisdom said capitalism and sustainability were at odds. Efforts at sustainability would slow growth and the economy, a notion that left many potential stewards feeling fated to a future where the environment would be lost.
But then a funny thing happened on the road to a sustainable future. The words once discarded as the nonsense of tree-huggers and incense-burners entered the vernacular of the capitalists. The ideas of environmentalism, greening, and responsibility were grudgingly embraced by, of all people, marketers. In fact, the inventory McMahon suggested was taken last summer on the peninsula, but it wasn’t government or land trusts that organized the effort. Rather, it was Destination Marketing Expert Marshall Murdaugh, brought to the county by the Door County Peninsula Strategic Marketing Coalition.
Hundreds of business owners, residents, planners, and government officials turned out from around the county for Murdaugh’s brainstorming sessions last summer to contribute their thoughts on what and who Door County is and ought to be. Not surprisingly, a strong consensus emerged identifying the natural environment as the county’s greatest asset.
As leader of the organization with the most pressure to bring more visitors and their dollars to the county, Door County Visitor Bureau Executive Director Karen Raymore is in a difficult position. She recognizes the importance of the environment not only to the people who live here, but also its role in attracting visitors, and says sustainability is a pillar of the bureau’s marketing plan. “The natural environment is what’s drawing our business,” she says. “We help preserve that through niche marketing, identifying those who visit and will appreciate the experiences you offer.”
Door County shouldn’t go after visitors who are looking for a Las Vegas or theme park-styled vacation, she says. They are less likely to respect the destination, and more important from a marketing standpoint, they won’t leave satisfied.
“We have to be honest about who we are,” she says.