Should Wisconsin State Park property be made available to private businesses for their private interests and profits? That surely goes against the purpose of land the public owns for the public good! Yet our Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been working with the Kohler Company to enable that entity to expand a golf course and related development into land that is part of Kohler-Andrae State Park.
Now the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, in its upcoming meeting on Jan. 24, is being asked by the DNR to ignore rules governing the Kohler-Andrae Park Master Plan in order to facilitate the deal.
I firmly believe that the Natural Resources Board should not approve any rule change, or any avoidance or ignoring of existing rules, regarding State Park Master Plans. There should be no sale or lease of state park lands for private interest, nor any easing of protection of the integrity of public owned park lands. To provide a mechanism for a given instance is to open the possibility of other such sacrifices of public land.
Our public officials, and surely the DNR, have a profound responsibility to preserve public land for the good of the public. In this day of continuing environmental assaults on land, water, air and habitat, and in this era of shrinking protections as exemplified by loosening wetland and shoreline development restrictions, protected lands are truly essential and indeed priceless; they cannot be replaced.