FRIENDS OF THE BLACK RIVER FOREST
PRESERVATION THROUGH EDUCATION, ADVOCACY, LITIGATION
STOP THE SWAP
November 16, 2023
The Capitol, Madison
FBRF rallies at the State Capitol to deliver our petition to Governor Evers asking him to stop the Land Exchange Agreement giving acres of Kohler Andrae State Park to a company to use for its private profit. The agreement signed by former Governor Walker, was based onNatural Resources Board actions that ignored DNR policies and violated state laws.
Senator Chris Larson; Rep. Darrin Madison; Representatives of Wisconsin Society for Ornithology; Don Ferber, Chair, Sierra Club Wisconsin Chapter; Rose Both and the Sierra Club Lands Team; UW Madison Environmental Studies students and state park advocates from throughout Wisconsin, spoke in support of nullifying the giveaway of our state park land.
Sign the Petition here
THE LAND, THE PARK AND THE GOLF COURSE THREAT
Over 10 years ago, a group of neighbors joined around a kitchen table in the Town of Wilson, Sheboygan County, to talk about their love of the Black River Forest and the state gem, Kohler Andrae State Park which lies within it.
The neighbors became aware of a plan by the Kohler Company to build its 5th championship golf course in a uniquely, untouched landscape along the Lake Michigan shore adjacent to Kohler Andrae State Park. Kohler's 247 acres with the state park's acres share an ecosystem with the Kohler property containing all the ecologically significant characteristics that define this coast as rare, pristine, extremely biodiverse. This is home to a major migratory bird stopover, site of a stand of old growth forest, rare and functional wetlands protected elsewhere in Wisconsin and globally. It is the last untouched landscape on the western shore of Lake Michigan.
The land and the state park lie at the southern end of a 10 mile stretch where Native American villages were abundant. Three archaeological reports of excavations were required for development. Thousands of artifacts were uncovered, and most recently in 2019, human remains.
PRIME STATE PARK LAND GIVEN TO KOHLER COMPANY
The Kohler Company presented a plan to the DNR in 2014 to acquire 6+ acres of Kohler Andrae State Park land to build a maintenance complex, entrance, and access road to its proposed golf course adjacent to the state park. While the company had its own additional land it preferred to reconstruct the state park entrance creating a roundabout and cutting a road through the park to its 247 acre parcel. A Land Exchange agreement agreement signed by former Governor Scott Walker, the DNR, and Kohler agreed to transfer ecologically significant land to Kohler in exchange for Kohler owned land outside the park with no ecological value, inaccessible to park visitors
The land agreed to be conveyed to the company was taken from residents by eminent domain in the 1960’s to add to Kohler Andrae State Park. It was was paid for in part, with federal funds and kept free of park structures because of its ecological significance. The DNR gave Kohler acres of this land for its 22,500 sq. ft. pesticide, fuel mixing, diesel machine maintenance and storage complex.
FBRF is petitioning Gov. Evers to send the Land Exchange Agreement signed by Scott Walker, DNR and Kohler
Friends of the Black River Forest has taken on the preservation of this cultural and environmental legacy through education and litigation to insure the developmental impacts are studied and to influence the Kohler Company to reconsider its decision.
The Siera Club, Wisconsin, has partnered with us to alert Wisconsin residents to the loss of their land and the future threat of their lands being used as bargaining chips at the whim of any
FBRF works to educate the public on the importance of preserving the unique central Wisconsin coastal landscape comprised of forests, rare dunes and wetlands, hundreds of species, and Lake Michigan, a major source of fresh water. To this end we participate in educational conferences, monitor actions which threaten this ecosystem's survival, maintain a website and social media presence publishing environmental information.
Your donation helps us continue our advocacy to maintain this area as an ecological whole including Kohler Andrae State Park and our legal challenges to prevent its destruction by a golf course.
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