Thursday, March 1, 2018

WI resource 'oversight' body OKs Walker donor parkland ask

[Updated at 4:40 p.m. with information from a Facebook page and petition website from Friends of the Black River Forest, the grassroots leading the opposition. See additional material, below]:

Public land within popular Kohler Andrae State Park will go private, as requested - - for private vehicle and maintenance materials storage, traffic flow, and parking.

Today's post updates an ongoing thread and related analyses on this blog since 2014: 

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Wednesday approved a land trade with a prominent Walker donor so he could obtain acreage in a popular state park for privately-owned roads and golf course vehicle and maintenance equipment storage - - all to help enable the construction of a privately-owned, high-end golf course, driving range, clubhouse, dining room and parking lot.

The 18-hole course is to be principally sited on this 247-acre wetland-timber-habitat-rare dune-native-artifact-rich site adjoining Kohler Andrae State Park, seen from the Lake Michigan shoreline at the southern tip of a newly-expanded City of Sheboygan boundary see in part below:

Giving away state park land to suit the demands of one influential Walker donor's privately-owned development is what passes these days for public purposes on public property in Wisconsin.

Where, coincidentally, the State Assembly just quietly voted to void an ongoing wetland filling permit hearing unfolding this week before an administrative law judge - - an action that strips away citizen rights while aiming to let a sand mine processor more easily rip up a 16.25-acre wetland with a stand of rare trees.

Because that's what we get when the 'chamber of commerce mentality' Walker installed atop the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources slops over into the DNR's oversight board - - and into Walker's Department of Administration for a fast-tracked annexation to move the project along - - and separately, into the Department of Transportation and broadly across the Legislature for other Walker/GOP/WMC-blessed priorities.

In a nutshell, special interests and partisan advantage in Wisconsin are strengthened while the people and the environment lose - - seven+ years of history summarized, here.
From Friends of the Black River Forest
Yesterday the Natural Resources Board approved a DNR request to remove valuable Kohler Andrae State Park land from state park inventory in an exchange for inferior Kohler land located across a marsh that had been previously bulldozed. 

The DNR staff presented the land in view of the park entrance as not used for conservation purposes. This had clearly had been refuted by experts, resident speakers and extensive written testimony by James Buchholz, former KASP superintendent.

The DNR said it could use Kohler's land to house people who came to work there. They claimed Kohler's land was more valuable than the ecologically diverse dune land where Kohler will mix chemicals and pesticides and store fuel. The land is visible to visitors upon entering the park. The DNR says it will be heavily bermed.

The NRB members never asked why this had to be. Kohler has his own land north of his 247 acres which can be used for ingress and egress to a course. The DNR staff said all options had been studied and this option provided the least impact to wetlands.

This has been refuted again and again. The least impact to wetlands would be Kohler using his own land. Now any developer can force insignificant scrub land on Wisconsin residents and take land out of any state park. It is well known that the NRB members were heavily leaned on by the governor's office. In our recent post DNR retirees speak of the pressure on DNR staff to get permits approved, regardless of the negative impacts.

FBRF reviewed the decisions of the NRB, looking for instances of voting for the preservation of resources over the interests of business. There were none. Illegality, deception, corruption and collusion rule in Wisconsin. FBRF has filed legal challenges to the DNR and we need your help. 

Sign this petition.

The Kohler Company has proposed building a golf course in a pristine forest and sensitive environmental corridor in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin.

 We are asking the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to DENY the Kohler Company's request for an easement across heavily used public recreational lands which are part of the Kohler-Andrae State Park.  We ask the DNR to DENY the Kohler Company's request to build a private maintenance shed on over 12 acres of public land. 

The DNR must tell the Kohler Company they can NOT destroy wetlands, bulldoze rare dunes along the Lake Michigan shoreline,  clear cut over 125 acres of forest and use public lands for a private, for-profit, Golf course.

The DNR must NOT set a precedent of stealing land from Wisconsin residents and giving to the highest bidder.  We are requesting the Wisconsin DNR to PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT AND PRESERVE WISCONSIN'S PUBLIC LANDS.

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