Sunday, May 8, 2016

Proposed Kohler golf course laden with Native American artifacts

You'd think the discovery reported by the Journal Sentinel Sunday of more than 25,000 Native American artifacts and additional important historical items spread across a 247-acre wooded, wetland and dune-rich site ticketed for a high-end golf course along Lake Michigan would finally put an end to that already-controversial proposal.

After all, the property is known to contain at least one native effigy or burial mound - - noted not long ago when the state nearly passed a law to allow development on such sites.

But don't jump to such a logical conclusion because we're talking about Scott Walker's special interest-managed Wisconsin, and a property owner - - the politically powerful Herbert Kohler, Jr. - - a hefty Walker donor.
The golf course proposal is under review by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the same agency which would have to give up several acres of public land to the project because it abuts Kohler Andrae State Park which the golf course planners say they need.

Don't assume that the DNR would fight to keep the popular state park intact, because the DNR is as we speak selling off 10,000 acres - - as directed by the Legislature and Walker - - which it owns and holds for the people. And is also proposing more logging on state park land - - furthering Walker's private-sector driven agenda.

Walker has remade the Wisconsin DNR into something of a state-sponsored chamber of commerce and rewarded real estate interests with legislation and permissions to encroach into waterways, wetlands and shorelines formerly protected by state law and overseen by the DNR in the public interest

More plans are in the works to steer control of land and water to private interests - - the overlap among state agencies is continual and deep - - and even includes the State Supreme Court and its much-criticized conflict-of-interest rules.

Walker also signed a bill into law that made it easier for schools to retain their Native American logos and mascots, and created a wolf hunting season, despite the cultural importance of the animal to the state's Ojibwa tribes, which became the nation's only sanctioned wolf hunt in which hunters were allowed to use their dogs.

And pushed hard for an open-pit iron mine near Lake Superior that, if built, would have threatened Ojibwe drinking water supplies and traditional wild rice-growing estuaries downstream from 35 years and up to 21 miles of blasting and excavation.

The iron mine's owner also routed a secret $700,000 donation to Walker's 2012 recall campaign - - so I'd say that Walker and his DNR management team will probably justify shoehorning the golf course somehow onto the site rather than treat it as the sacred land we now know it is.

I also think the need for a permit for the golf course project from the US Army Corp of Engineers got even more unlikely now that there is evidence that the acreage is hallowed ground which should be honored, studied and preserved, not turned into mowed and fertilized fairways, with a clubhouse and parking lot, too.

This all becomes a test for the soul and reputation of the Wisconsin DNR, and the entire state government's relationship with its people.


Mary Kay said...

I cannot think of better words than those of Jim Rowen to expose this greed and collusion

James Rowen said...

Thank you. And for being a reader. Very kind.