County Urges Jacksonport to Decide on Schauer Park Safe Harbor

Supervisors for the Town of Jacksonport were advised by county supervisors Oct. 13 to quit stalling on whether they want planning to proceed for a safe harbor at Schauer Park.

“Both [the towns of Sevastopol and Jacksonport] put in $6,000, Door County $12,000, the Department of Natural Resources $24,000, and $8,000 more came out of boat launch fees,” said County Board Chairman Leo Zipperer. “We’ve been trying to be good neighbors and partners in this. To the point where there isn’t any more questions to be asked or comments to be made. Do you want it or don’t you want it? If the answers is no, then goodbye, see ya.”

The decision is back in the lap of the Town of Jacksonport. The county requested that the town send the county a letter of intent to either proceed with the project or halt plans altogether. The town meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month; however, Schauer Park was not a posted agenda item for October on the agenda posted this week. The town could call a special meeting.

Zipperer is also the chairman for the Town of Sevastopol. The idea of building a safe harbor at Whitefish Bay was reviewed several years ago until the location was deemed unadvisable because of significant sediment drifting, which would lead to considerable dredging maintenance and costs.

On the docket for Jacksonport are preliminary plans to build a two-lane boat launch ramp and a safe harbor at Schauer Park on Schauer Road north of Cave Point County Park. The town and the county have debated the idea since the concept was first brought up in 2004. In January 2007, supervisors for the Town of Jacksonport voted to let the Door County Parks Department (DCPD) proceed with hiring an engineering company to conduct a feasibility study. The county hired AECOM engineers (formerly STS) of Green Bay.

AECOM conducted a variety of studies to determine the topography, geology and depth of the lakebed. Engineers took sediment samples to determine lake bottom composition and to project how much sediment movement could occur that would create dredging and maintenance issues. They performed a test blast with vibration monitoring, as rock removal would be necessary to create a boating channel. Engineers reviewed water level fluctuations, wind climate, cladaphora issues and considered traffic patterns. Included in their plans was the amount of property acquisition necessary for vehicle and trailer parking.

The DCPD has pursued Schauer Park as a potential harbor of refuge because of its intermediary location between Baileys Harbor and Sturgeon Bay, according to George Pinney, parks director for Door County. Baileys Harbor is 10 miles north of Schauer Park and Sturgeon Bay is 15 miles south. The Schauer Park point would provide refuge for small recreation craft and boats less than 25 feet and provide easier access for rescue workers to the Cave Point area.

At the County Airport and Parks Committee meeting Oct. 13, AECOM engineers Peter Diemer and Terry Peterson said further information gathered after the initial feasibility study was completed led them to create an additional plan and force them to scratch plans that included the acquisition of property to the south of Schauer Park (plans C, D and E).

Estimated revenue for the Schauer Park safe harbor was conservatively set at $5,000 to $6,000 per year. Not much considering the potential price tag. The low revenue was not a surprise to George Pinney.

“There are boat launches that support themselves and put money into the maintenance and operations fund, and those that don’t,” Pinney said. “I expect Schauer Park to be one that doesn’t. There are three in Door County that do that: Carmody Park, Chaudoirs Dock and the Olde Stone Quarry. Fees from those launches are used to operate them and all the others, not to build new projects.

“But we’re not looking at Schauer Park to make money. We’re looking at it as a service for people to use.”