DNR Approves Rainbow Springs Purchase. Outstanding!
The Department of Natural Resources Wednesday approved one of the largest land purchases outside of northern Wisconsin when it committed $10.8 million to buy the 970-acre Rainbow Springs parcel in Waukesha and Walworth Counties.
This is a major environmental advance for the state and southeastern Wisconsin, providing hiking and hunting land, wetlands restoration and expansion of open space in the oft-degraded Kettle Moraine.
There are some small-minded ideologues in the farthest, fringiest outposts of the Blogosphere's rightist extremes who think anything the DNR does is evil and totalitarian.
No doubt, these naysayers will gripe about what the DNR is doing.
Joining these nattering nabobs of natural resource negativity is Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, always looking for an angle to promote his unannounced but active grasp after the Governor's Office in 2010.
As a diversion from the continuing pension scandals swamping his administration, Walker yammered the other day about the Rainbow Springs purchase being a bad deal for taxpayers.
As the author of a string of red-ink stained budgets, he would know, wouldn't he?
Those know-nothings aside, the Rainbow Springs purchase with state stewardship funds (a lasting gift from the bygone era of bipartisanship, led by former Governors Warren Knowles and Gaylord Nelson, and greatly expanded by Gov. Jiom Doyle), is a genuine, true step for regionalism because people with diverse interests, from big cities and small towns, will all find value and opportunity in this exciting acreage.
To the DNR: well done.
And to the probable critics - - dour, grim-visaged scolds who aren't happy unless they have something in the common good to complain about - - I'd suggest lacing up your hiking boots and checking out this wonderful addition to the public domain.
A couple of hours in in the great outdoors will put smiles on your faces.
The DNR isn't buying it, we are.
What I'm not buying is the justification for this massive expenditure when we're already in a budgetary crunch. As a golf course, Rainbow Springs already offered:
Hiking: 99% of golf is hiking. Turning a golf course into a place to walk is like turning a fertility clinic into John Edwards' campaign headquarters. What's the point?
Wetlands: Again, water traps, already there. But I imagine we'll pay to build a few more swamps. No biggie, there's always plenty in the highway fund.
Hunting: I don't know much about golf, but I understand they shoot a lot of birdies and eagles. I'm all for that. We'll see how much hunting actually occurs on the property. It's a pretty safe prediction though, that if hunting is opposed, it won't be by the right-wing lunatic fringe.
Of course, the big difference is that before, if one wanted to hike, play in the water, or shoot things at Rainbow Springs they had to pay their own way for those privileges.
Now we all get to pay for it. Swell...
Right. We are the buyers. For and by the public, which is the good thing about the purchase.
They should at least keep the North Moraine course open for good. Letting it return to its "native" state is the biggest waste of a wonderful course.
Closing Rainbow Springs is the right thing to do. This land has never been profitable as a private business dating all the way back to the 1970's. There are plenty of golf courses in the area that would create more tax revenue by picking up the extra rounds created by closing this perpetually mismanaged one.
Keep Big Mo Golf Course open, it has a 132 slope rating with no sand traps. For comparison, Brown Deer is rated at 133. The state could sell the course for $2-3 million and use that money to buy more land elsewhere.
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