Today marks the first day for the Alliance's new executive director, Rebecca (Becca) Dymzarov. Becca…
Over the past several weeks, the Alliance has undertaken a thorough review and analysis of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) Draft Master Plan for the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, the 3,400-acre state-owned parcel within the former 7,400-acre former Badger Army Ammunition Plant. We have consulted with diverse experts in their respective fields and have conferred with members and stakeholders alike to craft a set of recommendations.
The Alliance’s analysis and recommendations are based entirely on the key supporting documents that led to the DNR’s acquisition of this parcel. WDNR helped craft and signed what is known as the “Badger Reuse Plan” (2001) that provides guidance on future use of all Badger lands. In its application to the National Park Service’s “Federal Lands to Parks” program (2004), WDNR highlighted potential future “low impact” recreational uses of the property. Finally, in its own regional and property analysis (2012), WDNR stated, “the best overall functional role for the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area is to fulfill the highlighted ecological opportunities available while maximizing compatible recreation opportunities.”
While applauding the agency for its long-term habitat restoration goals for the property and the compatible low-impact recreational activities that are proposed, the Alliance identifies motorcycles and rocketry as high-impact and incompatible uses. Other recreational activities are questioned, as is the uncertainty about potential “special events” that may not be low-impact in nature, and that give exclusive use of a portion or all of the property to special interest groups for up to four days at a time.
The Plan has a disproportionate emphasis on recreation while giving much less emphasis to ecological restoration and habitat management. The Alliance proposes a shorter hunting season and dog training periods to avoid conflicts with “silent sport” and other users of the property during spring and fall. The WDNR fails to demonstrate how it will collaborate with adjoinign landowners to manage the property as a whole. The Alliance recommends that WDNR partner with the major landowners at Badger to design and develop a combined visitor center that provides a full suite of visitor services and cultural and natural history interpretation.
For the Alliance’s complete SPRA Draft Master Plan Summary Analysis with Recommendations, click here.