Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program - man walking away from the camera along a rocky shoreline with water washing up on his right and thick green trees ahead

Village of Sister Bay and Door County Land Trust Join Forces to Protect Pebble Beach

The Joint Finance Committee awarded a $392,000 Knowles-Nelson grant to the Village of Sister Bay to offset the purchase of the waterfront property.

In 2019, the Village of Sister Bay and Door County Land Trust worked together to protect Pebble Beach from development. The nearly 17-acre waterfront property features a shoreline with smooth stones and a mature white cedar forest.

The village purchased the property for $2.4 million, while Door County Land Trust helped raise $500,000 in donations and also helped secure a $1 million grant from the Coastal Management Program’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The village will own and manage the property, which will remain undeveloped thanks to a conservation easement secured by the land trust.

The village had hoped to receive funding from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for the balance. While that wish has come partially true, the state’s Joint Finance Committee only approved about half of what was requested — $392,000 in Knowles-Nelson funds.

The village’s request was initially denied by the committee without any indication as to why. This is not uncommon. The Joint Finance Committee is made up of 16 members from the state Senate and Assembly, and any member of the committee can anonymously object to a grant and stall the process.

Something similar happened with the Village of Egg Harbor in 2021 when it applied for funds to support the purchase of a shoreline property from Alpine Resort. In the end, the village accepted a $249,000 award, the maximum amount possible from the Wisconsin DNR without approval by the Joint Finance Committee.

Read more in this article by Myles Dannhausen Jr. in the Door County News Trust and this article by Christopher Clough in the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Featured image by Emily Mills, 2007.

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