Tree Huggers Don’t Move Committee

Ten residents of Liberty Grove attended the Nov. 3 county Airport & Parks Committee meeting to try to convince the committee to change its Aug. 6 vote to harvest Ash trees from Door Bluff Headlands County Park.

The committee voted in August to harvest the trees rather than allow the trees in the county park to succumb to the Emerald Ash Borer, the ash-killing insect that was discovered in Door County on June 10.

Those who traveled from far northern Door to speak for the Ash trees invoked the name of park founder Jens Jensen, quoted others who are against the harvest, claimed science is against the harvest, said other species will be damaged by the harvest and at least one person said his faith in the Department of Natural Resources, whose foresters recommended the harvest, has been shaken by recent developments in Kewaunee County.

However, the committee did not entertain the suggestion of reversing its earlier decision to harvest the trees. It did decide to look at a possible alternate route for logging trucks at the behest of the Town of Liberty Grove in order to avoid a section of recently repaved Garrett Bay Road.

Committee member Ken Fisher pointed out that experts told the committee that school buses do more damage to roads than logging trucks.

Parks Director Erik Aleson was asked to look into the feasibility of an alternate route, if deemed necessary.

Aleson said he would be making a site visit to the park later this month in preparation for setting details for the first 20-acre harvest of Ash from the park, but added that it’s unlikely the first harvest will happen before the winter of 2015-16.

The committee also heard from caving enthusiast Gary Soule, who has written a booklet detailing the history of Horseshoe Bay Cave. Soule also asked the committee to consider naming the cave Horseshoe Bay Cave County Park, but several committee members objected to “putting the cart before the horse,” in that the county does not have a fully operational plan in place and advertising it as a county park at this stage would only result in disappointment for those expecting a wide open county park experience.

Aleson said the parks department is prepared to take reservations for guided tours of the cave, which are only held between May and October so as not to disturb the bats that winter in the cave.

While several committee members said they liked the idea of designating the cave a county park, Aleson said he would have to research past grants to ensure that the grants and cave were not tied to the adjacent Frank E. Murphy County Park.

The committee also approved increases in the fee structure for county park venues for the coming year. Pavilions at John Miles Park and the Forestville Dam that rented for $37 a day will now be $50 a day. Pavilions with service areas at John Miles, Frank Murphy and George K. Pinney parks that rented daily for $63.50 will now rent for $75. The Cave Point Park Gazebo rental remains at $75 a day.