Letter to the Editor: Billboards – Door County’s Next ‘Invasive Species’

It is a constant challenge to balance the natural beauty and scenery of Door County with the fun family activities, shopping, eating, etc. Everybody is here to enjoy both and a great job has been done establishing a variety of things to do and see. We need to constantly evaluate this balance and make smart moves so we don’t shift too far in any one direction. Each township appears to be faced with some critical decisions on how to handle their community best. It weighs on all of us. If we aren’t careful, momentum can take on a life of its own.

On my drive home from Green Bay last week, I saw this momentum in full force – billboards. More going up, too close to home. I counted starting at the south end of our county line along 42 to Egg Harbor, political signs and business signs on the businesses own property excluded:

  • 6 – billboards from the Door County line to Sturgeon Bay’s 55 mph zone;
  • 30 – billboards in the 55 mph zone south of Sturgeon Bay (to the 45 mile zone and city sign), a 4.5-mile span;

Took a break to drive responsibly through Sturgeon Bay.

  • 10 – billboards from 42/57 intersection to Carlsville line, a 4.5-mile span;
  • 46 – billboards from Carlsville north to Egg Harbor, a 12-mile span.

No one would deny that business is very important to our communities, but do we want billboards to be the welcome mat and lighted pathway to our doorsteps? Are billboards perhaps trending like the Yellow Pages (replaced by technology, mapping, social media, etc.) so they have to get bigger (double decker), brighter (LED), and more frequent to make the same impact they used to have? Is this a race to the bottom for advertising companies and we, along with our scarred countryside and washed out stars, are left paying the price?

As our townships diligently try to plan, re-plan, beautify, and improve our town centers, let’s not ignore what role billboards and signage are doing to the beauty of the country roads that take us there.


Bonnie Ansley

Fish Creek, Wis.

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