Petition update

DNR Natural Resource Board asked to STOP the process to Amend Kohler Andrae State Park Master Plan

Friends of The Black River Forest

Sep 27, 2017 — A representative of Friends of the Black River Forest made an appeal to the DNR's Natural Resource Board at their September 27th meeting.

The comments presented are below:

I am here today to ask you to consider 3 requests:

First, to stop the process of the DNR’s deliberations on changing the Kohler Andrae State Park Master Plan to accommodate one company’s profit. I am presenting a letter from our attorney Christa Westerburg to Diane Brusoe explaining why we would like you to stop the process now.

FBRF opposes amending the KASP Master Plan. This process of amending is costing taxpayers money when it’s unclear the plan can ever be amended in compliance with the law.

I quote from Atty Westerberg:

“By definition, a master plan amendment is “a change in a management classification or subclassification of a property or management area within a property without a change in the goal and objectives for the property.” NR 44.04(1)(c) (emphasis added). The current goals and objectives, as established by the KASP Master Plan, are to “[p]reserve a representative part of the Lake Michigan shoreline in southeastern Wisconsin, its dunes, vegetation, and wildlife and provide for the recreational and educational activities compatible with preservation and appreciation of the natural resources” and to “[p]rovide an intensive educational program emphasizing Lake Michigan, its coastal, natural, and cultural resources.” No change can be made to the management classifications or sub-classifications of KASP that would maintain these current goals and objectives while also accommodating Kohler’s private utilization of a portion of this public resource.”

The plan cannot be amended for Kohler’s objectives as a matter of law and the DNR’s process should end now.

Secondly, we ask for an audit of the staff hours dedicated to Kohler’s projects since the Tented Forest 7 years ago. 3 years of work for the Tented Forest and 4 years working on a proposed golf course project have been paid by the public in order to give one company what it wants. We have the emails to prove it. This is a misuse and abuse of taxpayers’ money. We ask you to take action on this in the public’s interest.

Not only have the taxpayers been footing the bill, now we are being asked to give this same company our state park land for its own profit. We are asked to accept DNR’s justifications for destroying the defining characteristics of an area described as a Wetland Gem.

Thirdly, the DNR has misrepresented the impacts of the Kohler easement requests. There is not “a maintenance facility” but 3 buildings and a parking lot totaling almost 30,000 sq. ft, 4 acres is represented as the total easement size. This is figured from a finished footprint on a diagram with no collateral construction damage calculated.

DNR is considering allowing Kohler to pay a fee to destroy globally significant ridge and swale wetlands. They cannot be mitigated because they took thousands of years to form.

In January 2016, we asked you to consider the environmental safeguards,
laws, and policies which need to be exempted, changed and ignored for one company’s profit. Now it appears the Board could approve a master plan amendment before the DNR has even considred these questions.

The DNR has claimed it is allowable to work on the amendment to the Park Master Plan and work with the National Park Service regarding LAWCON, before wetland or other permits have been considered. We strongly disagree with this.

How much is allowed to be destroyed before someone says no?

Please visit Kohler’s land and the State Park to view the land to be reconstructed.

We ask you to take action now to stop these very questionable and premature DNR activities.

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