Wednesday, March 4, 2015

More muddled messaging by the WI DNR

I've noted repeatedly at this blog that the PR flowing out of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - - whether in the form of "Clean Air Tips" contradicted by DNR or Scott Walker priorities, or invitations to scenic sites in the state threatened by anti-conservation Walker policies - - continues to suggest that DNR publicity folks don't think through what they distribute.

I got another of these contradictions by subscription email today from the DNR - -  an invitation to visit the woods in the Baraboo Hills as part of its "Natural Areas Spotlight" series.
Plan a May pilgrimage to hike amid the striking spring flora at this rich, mesic mapleforest in the Baraboo Hills. Bring your wildflower guidebook and camera to record the diversity of ephemeral beauties like these Dutchman’s breeches. Keep an eye to the treetops formigrating warblers.
Sounds beautiful, right. Anyone who's ever been to the area knows it's special.

What I'm pointing out here is that we need to remember that the Baraboo Hills sit atop a deposit of iron ore similar to what is at the heart of controversial, and now-suspended open-pit iron ore mining plan in the Penokee Hills in Iron and Ashland Counties.

And while that plan has been shelved, for now, the sweetheart, pro-iron-mining bill with relaxed environmental regulation that would have enabled the mine is still on the books.

A law defended vociferously by the DNR's pro-development Secretary Cathy Stepp.

More than once, as we recall this Stepp talk radio appearance when the bill was being debated.

So perhaps we should say "thanks" to the DNR for helping raise, even if inadvertantly, more awareness about what a bad lawl could do to one of the great public assets in the state.

And why that law should be stripped from the books so the Baraboo Hills and the Penokee Hills don't turn into polluting open-pit scars to which no sane person would take the "pilgrimage" pitched by the DNR:

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program

McGilvra Woods (No. 206)

McGilvra Woods
Photo by Thomas A. Meyer


Sauk County. T11N-R6E, Section 8, 14. 74 acres.


McGilvra Woods is one of the richest southern mesic forests in southwestern Wisconsin and noted for its display of spring wildflowers. The forest is situated on a gentle to moderate northwest slope at the edge of the Baraboo Hills with a knob of exposed sandstone bedrock found near the southeast corner of the site. Sugar maple and basswood dominate the woods with black cherry, red oak, white ash, yellowbud hickory, bigtooth aspen, and white oak. The trees are medium-aged, but the site is intact and with protection could become an old mesic forest. The sparse shrub layer contains eastern prickly gooseberry, common elderberry, and alternate-leaved dogwood. The groundlayer flora is rich in spring ephemerals and contains more than 110 species including the rare cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis) along with uncommon plants such as leatherwood and putty root orchid. Showy species include spring-beauty, toothwort, woodland phlox, wild geranium, hepatica, May-apple, Virginia waterleaf, bellwort, nodding trillium, and several orchids. McGilvra Woods is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1986.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Apparently Stepp feels free to show more of her true colors, although lightly camouflaged slightly by the standard lies ("... these cuts/sales will provide freedom ... etc").

Why would anyone believe Stepp would change after 40 years or whatever? She has ALWAYS been an anti-environment, anti-DNR utilitarian, interested only in financial or now political benefit for herself. Thats it. She just changed the verbiage a little to "fit in", to a light extent, with the Secretarys perceived required personna. That need has lessened.