Protecting a Grand View

The Door County Land Trust has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire and permanently protect what is commonly referred to as “the Grand View property” at the top of the hill entering Ellison Bay. If completed, the purchase will save a popular scenic vista and prevent a large-scale development project from continuing at this site. The Land Trust has until June 30 to raise the remaining funds needed to protect this 16-acre parcel. If fundraising efforts are successful, the Land Trust expects to complete the purchase of the Grand View property by the end of July.

Fundraising got a big boost recently when the Door County Land Trust learned that two large grants it had applied for have been awarded, a $600,750 Scenic Byway grant from the National Highway Department and a $395,755 grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund of Wisconsin. The Land Trust must now raise $111,519 in private donations to complete the land acquisition project.

“The Grand View property is one of the most recognizable and beloved views in the county and the state,” states Terrie Cooper, DCLT land program director. “When it became apparent that what had ‘always been here’ might not be here for future generations, the Land Trust began efforts to permanently protect this one-of-a-kind property. We are confident that the community will step forward to help us raise the remaining funds needed to preserve what is truly one of Door County’s natural treasures.”

The Grand View property is privately owned, but is visited and photographed by thousands of residents and tourists each year. For decades the landowner maintained this iconic view shed and allowed the public access to this scenic vista. When a 44-unit condominium and residential project was approved for the property and four of the proposed units constructed, continued public enjoyment of this view came into question.

If the Land Trust is successful in acquiring the Grand View property, development on the 16 acres it purchases will be permanently prohibited and the Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park will be established. The park will be open to the public for sightseeing, hiking, picnicking and other low-impact recreational uses. The upper four acres of the property will be mowed and maintained as a scenic overlook; the lower 12 acres which include marshy wetlands and two ponds and are located along the south side of Hillside Drive will undergo habitat restoration and be the site of a new hiking trail system. The current landowners will retain ownership of a small parcel of land adjacent to the 16-acre parcel the Land Trust hopes to acquire; any future development that may take place on the retained parcel will not impact the scenic overlook.

Once a master land management plan for the proposed Grand View Scenic Overlook and Park is written and in place, the Land Trust will transfer ownership and management of the property to the Town of Liberty Grove.

Contributions to the Door County Land Trust may be sent to DCLT, P.O. Box 65, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 or made online at Any funds raised in excess of those needed for the Grand View project will be used to protect other scenic and ecologically valuable lands throughout Door County. To learn more about the Door County Coastal Byway visit