Door County, Wisconsin

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Door County is a county in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of 2000, the population was 27,961. Its county seat is Sturgeon Bay. Door County is a popular vacation and tourist destination, especially for residents of Wisconsin and Illinois.

The county is named after the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island. The dangerous passage, which is now scattered with shipwrecks, was known to early French explorers and local Native Americans. Because of the natural hazards of the strait, they gave it the French appellation Porte des Morts Passage, which in English means the "Door to the Way to Death," or simply, "Death's Door".

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Geography

The county has a total area of 6,138 square kilometres (2,370 sq mi). 1,250 square kilometres (480 sq mi) of it is land and 4,888 square kilometres (1,887 sq mi) of it (79.63%) is water. The county also has 298 miles (480 km) of shoreline, more than almost any other county in the continental United States. Both Suffolk County, New York, on Long Island (980 miles) and Barnstable County, Massachusetts, which includes Cape Cod (550 miles), have more.[citation needed] This is one of the reasons that locals and tourists alike refer to the area as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. The county covers the majority of the Door Peninsula. With the completion of the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal in 1881, the northern half of the peninsula, in actuality, became an island. Limestone outcroppings of the Niagara Escarpment are visible on both shores of the peninsula, but are larger and more prominent on the Green Bay side as seen at the Bayshore Blufflands. Progressions of dunes have created much of the rest of the shoreline, especially on the easterly side. Flora along the shore provides clear evidence of plant succession. The middle of the peninsula is mostly flat or rolling cultivated land. Soils overlaying the dolomite bedrock are very thin in the northern half of the county; 39% of the County is mapped as having less than three feet to bedrock. Beyond the northern tip of the peninsula, the partially submerged ridge forms a number of islands that stretch to the Garden Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The largest of these islands is Washington Island. Most of these islands form the Town of Washington.

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