Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Things to consider as Kohler/DNR 'open house' looms

People who follow this blog know it has been raising questions about a plan to convert a wetland-rich nature preserve 

and, of special note, publicly-owned acreage inside popular Kohler Andrae State Park along the Lake Michigan shoreline, into a privately-owned, high-end golf course.

Of note is an upcoming public, 'open house' session which DNR management has scheduled in Sheboygan next week to explain how changes may be made in the master plan governing the operation of the state park to accommodate the proposed golf course operation.

So for your consideration:

*  Here is the latest from Friends of the Black River Forest, the grassroots group opposing the proposed golf course project/ public land grab:


DNR Open House set to initiate amendment process to Kohler-Andrae State Park Master Plan
Public Rally, 4p.m. against giving our State land to a Corporation for its private profit.

click here to read DNR notice
This begins the process in which we all MUST participate to save our parks from being sold and given away to companies for their private profit. The DNR with the National Park Service and the Natural Resources Board will determine if the Kohler Andrae Park Master Plan will be amended to allow the Kohler Company to use up to 20 acres of our state park land for its private profit. The DNR states in this Open House Notice that one use of land will be for "A" maintenance building. It is in fact 3 buildings totaling almost 24,000 sq. feet along with an asphalt parking lot just north of the park entry... Please put August 24 on your calendars. We cannot allow this Governor and the DNR to establish this precedent. Kohler Andrae Park is the second most visited in the state with over 400,000 visitors yearly. If you haven't taken action yet let this be your cause. Send your comments on this DNR form FBRF letter to the Natural Resources Board on intitiating amendment, click here
No doubt people will be able to leave comments at the open house, or send them.

So a few more things about all this:

*  I said this open house session is being planned by DNR management - - people Scott Walker put there to do his bidding and that of his donors and corporate enablers - - and not the DNR line workers who are most likely to be  staffing the open house. 

I feel for these dedicated, and in many cases, career DNR employers who signed on in an earlier era when the department really was a conservation, science-based and public service agency, and not the corporatized entity into which Walker has remade and distorted it.

You will find that sentiment in a long piece I wrote about what's become of the DNR under Walker.

I imagine they share the unhappiness and frustration in the Town of Wilson where the golf course site had long been located until the Walker administration helped the golf course developer fast-track much of the town through a jerry-rigged annexation inside a newly-drawn, and more sympathetic City of Sheboygan map.

*  As I wrote a few days ago, the 'open house' format is not the same thing as a public hearing, at which people with something to say state it for everyone to hear.

Open houses come with story boards and information stations that are spread across a large room, can fragment and diffuse a project's opponents, and mute their voice.

But just because there is an open house on the agenda doesn't mean that's the end of it. 

A public hearing can be held if people in the area and across the state who see the threat to a popular state park, wetlands and the Lake Michigan lakeshore take the time to call their legislators, and DNR headquarters in Madison, and demand a hearing. 

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