Shelf Life Recap

The rock pile from outer space, that was one of the photos shown at “Shelf Life,” a presentation by Roger Kuhns and Bob Bultman at the Liberty Grove Town Hall on April 3. Subtitled “The Niagara Escarpment, Sustainability, and Our Communities,” the talk by the two well-known and widely respected naturalists and geologists was not a horror show, but an entertaining program on the importance of Door County’s rocky foundation and its importance in our quality of life.

Extending from Wisconsin and into New York, the Escarpment can actually be seen clearly from outer space. It runs prominently right through Door County, as anyone who has farmed a crop of stones knows.

Kuhns and Bultman presented three recurring and fundamental themes: community, environment and economy. These three themes must be sustained through sensitive forest management, road maintenance, wetland protection, land use and long-term planning. It’s not just a cliff, it’s an ecological zone that stretches across the county, requiring careful consideration as construction and maintenance are planned.

The full-house audience of more than 60 persons from across the county included members of the Liberty Grove Town Board and its Highway Committee. As a measure of the presentation’s enthusiastic reception, it ran twice as long as it was scheduled.

The program preceded a Liberty Grove Town Board meeting and its impact was evident in the discussion and decisions made by the Supervisors, who supported the Town’s Heritage Roads Program, designed to protect and preserve certain scenic, rustic roads. Bultman and Kuhns urged that scenic roads not be aggressively improved and widened at the expense of trees and outcroppings, noting that these roads are a part of the Niagara Escarpment’s extended ecosystems, and are part of the important sense of place for locals and for visitors.

At the conclusion of the Bultman and Kuhns show-and-tell, the audience was prepared to adopt a 450-mile-wide pet rock.

Jim Maronek
Ellison Bay, WI