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When you think of Door County, there is no doubt that you think about heading north and enjoying the open road; looking forward to the music, food, parks and all the other things our county offers. However, there is so much more to our county than that! The best part? You don't have to travel as far! For those of you who are looking for a quick day trip, maybe away from the crowds, look no further than southern Door County's Lake Michigan shoreline: Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Nature Preserve! The Ship Canal Nature Preserve is made up of 445 acres of protected land and approximately 2 miles of hiking trails. The canal was constructed in 1872 to link the waters of Lake Michigan and Green Bay. It allows ships to avoid the treacherous passage through what has become known as "Death's Door". Take a right off Hwy 42/57 just south of the Bayview Bridge (Clay Banks Road/Cty U). Turn left on Lake Lane and travel about 2 miles to a parking area. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the canal! When Jane and I ride we always plan for a picnic; it gives us a great reason to stop and explore other areas. Another one of our favorites is LaSalle County Park. We were there for the first time several years ago for a wedding. What a hidden gem and spectacular view! Continue on County U about 9 miles south of Sturgeon Bay and watch for signs. Upper LaSalle can be accessed from County U. Lower LaSalle can be accessed by taking Lower LaSalle Road. Be sure to pack a blanket in your side saddle! The view is great and you may be there a while! For those of you who have visited this area and would like to experience another area "off the beaten path", the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Station may be just what you're looking for! Return to Hwy 42/57 and go over the Bayview Bridge. Take the first right over the bridge; this is Utah Street. Go about 3 blocks, take a right on Cove Road. You will see Canal Road after about 1 block, take a quick left, and this will lead you to the Canal Station. As you go down the straight road along the canal, you can pull into 3 spots to check out the canal. Park your bike and walk up a few steps. You are on top of the canal! At the end of Canal Road you will see the Coast Guard Station. There is a small parking area; don't be surprised by the "private parking sign"! You can park in one of the visitor spots and walk down to the walkway. You will note the words PUBLIC and PRIVATE on the ground. Feel free to check out the walkway that leads to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal North Pierhead Lighthouse; it is a beautiful sight! Built in 1903, the original pier headlight combined the light tower and fog signal into one building. As Jane and I walked out on the walkway tonight it was fun to see a man fishing as well as a group of people taking pictures. As the sun set we enjoyed the serenity of another lazy summer day! "Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted." - John Lennon
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