Letter to the Editor: The Dark Side of Door County

For those people that are not very familiar with “Southern Door,” but love, fishing, hiking, biking, kayaking or canoeing, I would like to point to a section of the travel guide Door County Outdoors by Magill Weber, which describes the area as offering ideal opportunities for several recreational opportunities (page 259, #50 Forestville Dam County Park). The beauty of this area (adjacent to the the Ahnapee Trail) has been recently under attack by the County’s recommendation to drawdown the Forestville Millpond for two years. Millpond is the body of water created by a dam in the Ahnapee river. The dam has been there in various forms for over 142 years. Area residents oppose this drawdown in the strongest terms and voiced their concerns during public meetings. Several officials during these meeting showed a total disrespect and lack of civility to their constituents. At one meeting a person voicing a concern was told to stop whining. In spite of this opposition the Door County Soil and Water Department and Parks and Rec’s are still voting on this for the scheduled Jan. 22, 2019 Door County Board meeting. A clear justification of their recommendation was never given to the public but was presented during a late December town hall meeting. Out of the 10 options (apart from doing nothing), this was the cheapest but with an enormous impact to area residents, homeowners (who sunk their lifetime savings in their properties) and other nature lovers. This recommendation will turn the Millpond into a mudhole for two years.

The impact of a two-year drawdown:

a) It will destroy the recreational joy of thousands of people.

b) It will wipe out an ecosystem for years to come (we enjoy abundant waterfowl, river otters, painted turtles, snapper turtles, bald eagles loons, wood ducks, tundra swans, etc.)

c) Property owners will lose millions of dollars in property value.

d) It will send (by opening of a sluice gate in the dam) pollutants downstream the Ahnapee River (which has already been declared an “impaired” river) through Kewaunee County into Lake Michigan. Kewaunee County already struggles with severe pollution with high health risks and Door County does not seem to be bothered by polluting even more or notifying them of the plan. Moreover this is one of the few occasions where we can stop further pollution by doing nothing (keep the valve closed) at no cost, but again common sense does not seem to be common here. One of the acceptable options is dredging, but this costs money, it is however used in bodies of water in Northern Door.

Robert Sijgers

Forestville, Wis.