Saturday, April 7, 2018

Friends of Black River Forest expanding land, water preservation effort

It makes sense that Sheboygan-area people trying to preserve clean water, pristine habitat and protections for public land would kick off their push next Sunday at a place called Paradigm

Because we sure do need a new paradigm for how we can protect the environment and the integrity of public institutions we were handed by earlier generations and administrations of both parties who would never have imagined nearly eight destructive years inflicted inside and out of "a chamber of commerce mentality'-driven DNR and the worship of special-influence money over commonly-held resources which Walker has made routine.

So I want to again point blog readers to events surrounding citizen efforts to save wetlands, rare dunes, wildlife habitat and timberland 

- - and even acreage within popular, adjoining Kohler Andrae State Park along the Lake Michigan shoreline - - from the bulldozer, chainsaw and special-interest influence.

I've been writing about this issue since 2014 - - here is one recent summary piece posted prior to the DNR's oversight board recent quickie OK  to a quick, developer-friendly land swap so developer so it can build a road parking lot and facilities within the state park. 

The grassroots organization Friends of the Black River Forest - - having exercised its right to have the Wisconsin DNR defend its decision before a judge to grant developers a key permit to fill wetlands in a nature preserve so a major Walker donor can to build a golf course on a wooded bluff rather suddenly annexed -  hey, a new map! - - to the City of Sheboygan - - is holding a fundraiser next Sunday
April 15, from 2-5 at Paradigm Coffee and Music, we will kick off a major fundraising campaign with a goal of $300,000. We will have speakers, entertainers, and online opportunities for giving and sharing our campaign. Please mark your calendars to help with our spectacular launch! Donate here. Poster. Click to Donate at or 
I urge people to support this David vs. Goliath movement because it's importance extends far beyond Sheboygan County. 

Long before anyone had heard of Foxconn and its subsidized exemptions from basic project reviews and wetland permitting, the proposed golf course project encapsulated the worst elements of special-interest power-brokering that has from the first hours of the Walker administration when he and friendly legislators intentionally upended land, water, wetland and routine legal process protections in the Wisconsin tradition and the public interest. 
Walker signs wetlands bill 
Madison — Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Friday that would allow a developer to construct a retail center favored by the Green Bay Packers on a wetland near Lambeau Field.
Walker introduced the legislation in January at the request of the developer after planning had slowed for a Bass Pro Shops, or another retailer, for a store at Highway 41 and Lombardi Ave. in Ashwaubenon, a suburb of Green Bay.
The legislation would allow developer John F. Bergstrom of Neenah to develop a property at the site by specifying that wetlands of 3 acres or smaller in Ashwaubenon would be exempt from water quality review by the Department of Natural Resources.
Walker and his supporters said the bill was necessary after the Wisconsin Wetlands Association challenged the DNR's approval of the project, forcing it to undergo a judicial-like process known as a contested case hearing, which can be lengthy.
So the push for special treatment and permissions which underlies the golf course project has to be seen through the lens of the history of Walker's hostility to environmental standards and citizen input as well as the current context of other out-in-the-open power moves on behalf of multiple special interests - - various mining companies, big dairy herd operations and other polluters looking to control resources and exempt themselves from public interest reviews and commitments.

Remember, the unspoiled land within Kohler Andrae State Park which the DNR, its oversight board and the Governor want to open to a traffic entrance, road-building and maintenance and vehicle operations belongs to you and me.

As do waterways under Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution on and from the proposed golf course site, and the Black River to Lake Michigan - - and the lake itself - - all of which which the golf course developer insists will not be compromised by the introduction of fertilizers on a driving range and an 18-hole golf course fertilizers, and intense human and corporate activity where, for now,  the DNR itself has catalogued a virtually pristine, 247-acre nature preserve.

So keep your eyes on this project and give the Friends of the Black River Forest a hand. Their issues are ours, too,


Claudia Bricks said...

Thanks so much, Jim, for spreading the word about our cause in Sheboygan. I am one of the co-founders of the Friends of the Black River Forest and we truly have been in a David and Goliath fight since 2014. Our legal representation has been more than excellent and has guided us on this journey. But it is an expensive journey and we appreciate the support- personal and monetary all have given. Thanks!
Claudia Bricks

James Rowen said...

Glad to help. As I have said, your struggle encompasses all the stresses Walker has brought to bear on the land and people trying to pass along what they inherited. Props to you.