Hockers’ Campground Proposal Moves On to Resource Planning Commission

A new proposal for a campground in the Town of Liberty Grove received unanimous approval from the town’s plan commission June 8. 

Pat and Jill Hockers received the town’s endorsement for a conditional-use permit to build Camp Door, a 96-site campground on 48 acres that they own on the corner of County ZZ and Appleport Road. The couple originally pursued a much larger campground proposal for the area 10 years ago, hoping to diversify the family excavating business to help their adult children move back to Northern Door.

Chris Hockers and his brother Matt both moved home to work in the family business, but the brothers are now thinking ahead to their own kids’ futures as they work on the campground plans with their parents.

A sketch of building that would be used for an office, bathrooms, common area and retail space.

“It’s really about planning for our kids,” Chris Hockers said. “There are a lot of my friends who would love to come back up here, but there isn’t a job in their field or a family business for them. Who knows what our kids will want to do, but if they do want to stay here, they will have an option.”

The campground will include 77 RV sites and 19 camping-cabin sites. The plan also includes a 5,500-square-foot building for an office, bathrooms, common area and retail space, with an indoor/outdoor fireplace and a separate, 1,650-square-foot bathroom and shower building. 

The parcel is zoned Heartland-10, a zone in which campgrounds are allowed with a conditional-use permit. The parcel is adjacent to the quarry operation run by Hockers Excavating. Because the town is governed by county zoning, the recommendation will move on to the Door County Resource Planning Commission for final approval, likely in July. 

A rendering of the campground layout.

“They checked all the boxes,” said Plan Commission chair Nancy Goss. “There were about 20 people who attended and expressed some concern about traffic and odors, but the plan addressed all of those concerns.”

The campground will be screened from the view of neighbors by a row of mature evergreens, and Dark Sky–friendly lighting will be used throughout the campground to reduce glare and spillover. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation considers the capacity of County ZZ to be 12,000-15,000 vehicles per day, but it gets an average of 1,000 vehicle trips per day.

Demand for RV sites was growing before the pandemic, but it has boomed during the past two years as people have rediscovered outdoor activities. There are four other campgrounds within a five-mile radius of the parcel – Wagon Trail, Hy-Land Court, Dovetail Acres and Aqualand – plus nearly 3,700 campsites on the peninsula.