Letter to the Editor: Predicting Violence is Violent

The recent article, “Another Road and Tree Battle?” (Peninsula Pulse, Sept. 14-21, 2018) anticipates “high drama” over the Liberty Grove Highway Committee’s desire to “start pulling trees out” on Door Bluff Park Road. At least this disregard for another Door County hallmark is out in the open. To be fair, there are a number of dead trees along that roadside which can afford to be removed. However, there are a host of healthy trees which do not deserve that fate, regardless of the Highway Committee’s appetite for arborcide. A road resident complained that the gravel drive is a “third world road,” with committee person and town employee Jay Olson agreeing “that road is terrible” and “the potholes are bad.” Again, to be fair, immediately afterwards, the road was re-graded and is now as smooth as glass – thus removing the objection.

But wait. Committee Chair Pat Hockers’ goal is “to have every gravel road in the town paved just to make it easier for maintenance.”  Again, it’s out in the open. There are (and were) short little vestiges of quaint and lovely gravel roads hidden here and there in the town, reminders of when easy maintenance was not a primary goal and rural beauty compensated for a few speed bumps. Shall we continue to make it easy for visitors and residents to cruise into a landscape which we have caused to vanish?

Door Bluff Headlands County Park, at the end of the road, is dedicated to remaining untouched in its natural state and, yes, there is a “crew” (myself included, and the Northern Door Neighbors Association – and town supervisors themselves) that didn’t want the county to “do the harvesting of the ash trees.” But how “it’s going to cost everybody a lot of money” is perplexing. Regardless, the awesome beauty of nature evolving undisturbed in a forest should be worth a little respect.

The article cites an incident where “a woman was escorted from a meeting by a Door County Sheriff’s Deputy…”  The woman, and about 50 others, were standing in silent protest against Liberty Grove’s imperious road policies and refusal to permit public input on the subject.  (Lord help us if they had taken a knee in protest.) The town chairman asked the deputy in attendance to remove the protestors; the sheriff later apologized (but not the chairman) and the deputy was subsequently advised of First Amendment rights. I am the proud husband of that woman who stood for the careful preservation of Door County’s treasures. It is sad that the issue still requires vigilance. It does not require people to “violently oppose it,” as Mr. Hockers predicted. One hopes he meant vigorously, not violently. Or perhaps virtuously?

The Town of Liberty Grove has a Heritage Roads policy designed to preserve and protect its special, rural roads. While it has been weakened and ignored, its spirit and intent remain if only our supervisors would respect and implement that policy’s original vision. To the immense credit of the town board, they tabled a survey of Door Bluff Park Road at their meeting of Sept. 19 and agreed that the road should remain essentially as it is.


Jim Maronek

Ellison Bay, Wis.

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