Monday, June 30, 2014

Kohler Golf Course Presents WI DNR With Profound Challenge

[Updated, Sunday 6:20 p.m, 12:01 a.m. Monday.] While citizens spend some their spectacular summer Sunday south of Sheboygan discussing today the fate of 247 acres of pristine woods and wetlands at the Lake Michigan shoreline - - another high-end Kohler Co. golf course is the plan, a related question looms:

What will the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources do with the developer's request for an easement across adjacent public property in Kohler Andrae State Park for a road to connect the proposed golf course with nearby streets?

Four of the proposed course holes would be sited on a half-mile of Lake Michigan frontage, the course architect has said. If built, the course would be Kohler family patriarch Herbert Kohler's fifth, and is aimed at luring world championship play, according to a published report.

Among the Sunday meeting's highlights, from a person in attendance:

*  Good attendance including farmers, professionals and others looking for information;

*  A water scientist who spoke opined, to applause, that the proposed new golf course is too destructive to the parcel's forests, and should be scaled back.

* Repeated contacts by citizen opponents to major environmental groups statewide have gone unanswered, and though invited, no media attended;

* A public hearing by the Town of Wilson Board is set for July 16th, at 6:30 p.m.

It's one thing for the DNR to consider the environmental impacts of a project like this that include the health of the Black River that runs through the site, or potential golf course fertilizer runoff, given that Lake Michigan is just yards away across beaches that must continue to provide public access.

It's another environmental and policy matter all together for the DNR to evaluate those impacts on state park land it manages as the public trustee. And the precedent that would be set if the easement is granted.

Word on the street is that DNR officials know this is a hot potato.

The whole state will watch how it's handled.


Anonymous said...

Kohler is a big, big contributor.....guess how this will turn out? Remember Walker insists that the DNR be the state Chamber of Commerce. Compared to what they did for the iron mine....this rape of the land will be a piece of cake.

swamper88 said...

When the first course was built about 20 years ago there were all sorts of DNR and COE violations. When DNR tried to enforce things got real bad for the staff involved. Kohler got off scott free and the staffer in the enforcement case was re-assigned. Look for DNR to give Kohler whatever he wants.