Tourism and the Visitor Economy: Conservation, Community and New Sustainability Initiatives

by JULIE GILBERT, President and CEO, Destination Door County

April is a time of beginnings. We all get excited about the summer fun in the sun and all that comes with it! And April 22 is Earth Day – another big reminder for us to care for Door County, invest in our planet and continue to be transformative in everything we do.

We are so proud to be one of the sponsors of Ridge and Swale, a two-part documentary that celebrates a legacy of conservation and community. This series, produced by Peninsula Filmworks, tells the story of how our community has worked, and continues to work, on preserving and maintaining its natural beauty and heritage. 

We are looking forward to the Ridge and Swale premiere Saturday, April 22, 7 pm, at the Door Community Auditorium in Fish Creek; and Sunday, April 23, 3:30 pm, at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay. It is so important to take care of the places we love, and this is a great reminder to do just that.  

We are also excited to highlight the Leave No Trace Spotlight program that will be in Peninsula State Park June 8-10. This multiday event will draw attention to community conservation, spread education, build momentum and inspire involvement for the future. The Subaru/Leave No Trace traveling team will collaborate with partners on a variety of programs including stewardship projects, workshops and community outreach. Stay tuned for more details.  

Another environmental sustainability initiative is our Electric-Vehicle Charging-Station Mini-Grant Program. Awards in the amount of $1,000 are available to any Door County business, nonprofit organization or government entity that wants to add or upgrade its public-use electric-vehicle charging infrastructure. 

This new program is part of a broader effort identified in our 2023 strategic plan. Sustainable development is one of three key pillars that we are focusing on, and these mini grants provide our community with a new opportunity that we are excited to offer. Being able to provide enhanced community support through this program gives us an opportunity to show how tourism dollars and the visitor economy can benefit all of us.

The application process runs on a quarterly basis, with up to eight mini grants awarded each quarter this year. The program is scheduled to run through the end of 2023, with the possibility of extending it into the future. Find additional program details and the online application at

And mark your calendar for National Travel and Tourism Week, May 7-13, when we’ll be hosting a mini event each day throughout the county. Look for more information in our insert in the May 5 edition of the Peninsula Pulse

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions to help us continue growing in a positive direction.