Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tell DNR not to privatize State Parks

Kohler Andrae State Park
Sweeping changes to public lands in Wisconsin may come from a request before the Natural Resources Board to change its rules and allow State Parks Master Plans to be ignored. This would open the door to private development within parks and public lands. Please read my letter below and feel free to use it as a model for your own. Letters should be sent to the two officials listed below. To read more about the issue read James Rowen’s article in Urban Milwaukee.

Dear Ms. Laurie J Ross, Natural Resources Board Liaison,

I am writing in opposition to the request for a rule change that would allow State Parks Master Plans written before 1996 to be dismissed.

As you know, this request is on the agenda for the January 24 meeting of the Natural Resources Board. Please register my opposition to the request.

Furthermore, I understand that there is an effort to close public commentary after January 19. I also oppose the rule change that would allow this to happen. Decisions like this one must remain transparent and open to public debate and input. The public has a right to a hearing on this rule change and a right to have enough time to learn the issues and to prepare responses.

The rule change that would allow a park’s master plan to be ignored would enable a private company to use State Park land. The request seems to specifically target the Kohler Andre State Park’s Master Plan, written in 1989, in order to permit a controversial golf course proposed by the Kohler Company to encroach on public park land. No part of this beautiful, ecologically important and popular park should be sacrificed to any private development.

However, a rule change as sweeping as this one would have consequences far beyond Kohler Andre State Park. It would open the door to further loss to private interests of treasured public state lands.

The Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Board ought to be the guardians of Wisconsin’s parks and public lands, protectors of the both the public interest and the natural environment. I urge you to reject this and any other request that would diminish or degrade public lands.

Send your emails promptly to Laurie Ross and Daniel Meyer. Time is of the essence.

Laurie J Ross, Natural Resources Board Liaison

Daniel Meyer, DNR Secretary

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