DNR Closes In On Rowleys Bay Property

While Liberty Grove voters consider spending $2.35 million to secure public water access in Gills Rock, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is finalizing details on the purchase of the Rowleys Bay Resort shoreline on the other side of the peninsula for just over $1 million.

Resort owner Jewel Peterson Ouradnik and the DNR have signed an option to purchase the shoreline, which includes a 14-slip marina, boat launch, and fishing pier. The option is not binding, but allows the two parties to continue talking while the Natural Resources Board reviews the proposal.

“We want the public to have access to the launch here,” Ouradnik said. “The public should have access to Rowleys Bay, but we can’t do the work to maintain it as a public launch anymore.”

An aerial photo of Rowley’s Bay Resort. The DNR is considering purchasing the shoreline on the north side of Hwy ZZ from the resort.

Tim Mella, Real Estate specialist with the DNR, said the property is attractive because it provides public access to the lake, a harbor of refuge, and access to the Mink River Estuary. It’s a prime area for duck hunting, salmon fishing, and birding as well.

The property, which includes the land on the water side of Hwy ZZ in front of the resort, was put up for sale last winter. Like the Gills Rock shoreline, Rowleys Bay lies within Liberty Grove, but Ouradnik said the town showed no interest.

Liberty Grove Town Chairman John Lowry said that when the town took a cursory look at the property there were parking requirements and other drawbacks that dissuaded them from taking a formal look at purchasing.

Ouradnik and the DNR hope to finalize the sale by October, but would not release specific details about the price and property dimensions.

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