Letter to the Editor: In Praise of Stones

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, that bureaucracy which gave the polka DOT a bad name, has done it again. This time they wish to destroy another Door County icon, its stone fences. Remember, this is the same DOT which cleared the trees away from Door County’s second-most famous attraction of all: the twisting road leading to the Washington Island ferry. (Rooftop goats remain primary, but watch out. the DOT may find them to be a tourist traffic hazard.) This is the same DOT that created circular intersection replacements that require seminars, workshops and diagrams to comprehend and navigate safely. This is the DOT that amputated the beloved biggest cottonwood tree in these parts, right here in downtown Ellison Bay.

Stone fences which were piled along property lines as farmers, a century ago, continually cleared their land of Door County’s most prevalent crop, rocks, must go. At least, so says the DOT of those in the right-of-way along Hwy. 57 (those most seen and enjoyed by visitors). But wait, all is not lost. The DOT will allow stone fences to remain (maybe) if they were deliberately stacked as opposed to being deliberately piled. Apparently, the DOT finds random, abstract art to be more of a hazard than academic, traditional art, and in this, they are joined by many of Door County’s galleries.

But give a bureaucrat a desk and a title on the door, and he will soon create a problem out of thin air, which he will need to solve in order to justify his job. Beware of those who know what is best for you. If you seek relief from political protests, here is a cause around which everybody can raise an alarm. Let he who is perfect sweep the first stone. SOS! Save Our Stones!

Jim Maronek

Ellison Bay, Wis.