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Judge Denies Alliance Request for a Stay of High Impact Uses at Badger

Following a 30-minute review of the arguments from the Alliance and DNR regarding a request for a “stay” on high impact activities in the Master Plan for the Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area, Judge Guy Reynolds offered his determination yesterday in the Baraboo Courthouse against issuing the requested stay.  The criteria needed to justify a stay, according to Judge Reynolds, are very specific, and he indicated the Alliance did not meet those criteria.  He acknowledged that there is a “rule of deference” that gives DNR greater standing with such a request, as they are a state agency.  Judge Reynolds further argued that the Alliance needs to better demonstrate “irreparable harm” will come from the high impact activities, including off-road motorcycle usage, military helicopters and dog training with the discharge of firearms.

The Alliance will confer with our attorney Brian Potts (left)  to explore other options for securing a stay while our two lawsuits proceed through circuit and federal courts.  Potts assured the Alliance that this determination does not affect our chances to win our suit in court, and that we have very strong legal arguments in our favor.

As background, the Natural Resources Board approved the DNR’s Final Master Plan incorporating high-impact recreational uses in December 2016 despite years of warnings from the Alliance and a warning from the National Park Service questioning the Department’s compliance with state and federal law in May 2016.  Shortly after approval of the Plan, the Alliance filed a petition for administrative review, and lawsuits in state and federal court challenging the Department’s decision.  Because approval of the Master Plan triggered immediate implementation of several high-impact uses, the Alliance sought to stop the Department from allowing these activities to proceed during the pending lawsuit due to the significant risk of irreparable harm to the property, endangered plants and species, various stakeholders, the general public, and the Alliance’s future ability to promote education and cooperative conservation.

The court’s decision was covered by the Baraboo News Republic.  Here is a link to the article.

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