DNR proposes three ideas for former Badger Ammunition site - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

DNR proposes three ideas for former Badger Ammunition site

PRAIRIE DU SAC (WKOW)-- On Wednesday night the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources heard from hundreds of community members on how to use the 4,000 acre piece of land where the Badger Ammunition Plant used to be. The site is just off of Highway 12 between Baraboo and Sauk City.

DNR officials unveiled three alternatives for the site during a public meeting at the River Arts Center in Prairie Du Sac. Residents were able to voice their opinion on which plan they liked best.

"They're really being crafted specifically to help spur discussion so people can say, I like this about alternative one, but I don't like this and so on and so fourth," South Central DNR Director Mark Aquino says.

The first alternative is to do nothing. It would provide no additional funding to the site and would only open it to some fishing, hiking, trapping and cross country skiing.

"It's really there because it's required by law and it provides a basis of comparison on environmental impacts and other impacts of the other two alternatives," Aquino says.

Alternative two focuses on restoring grasslands and the local ecosystem. The plan would provide funding for local wildlife efforts, but wouldn't allow any new construction or structures on the land. The plan would also allow some "low impact" recreational activity.
Many residents who live adjacent to the site are in favor of this alternative.

"It's time for Badger to be quiet and peaceful," nearby resident Ed Krumenauer says. "I like low impact activities like hiking, biking, trail riding, picnicking and bird watching on the land."

The third alternative is all about recreation. The plan includes the construction of a visitor's center, a shooting range and several trails for horseback riding, biking, and motorized vehicles like ATVs

"I think that motorized recreation is under served in this area," Bryan Much of the Wisconsin Off-Highway Motorcycle Association says. "It's something that can be accommodated. There's room for everybody and we'd like to see it developed with an opportunity for us to enjoy off-highway motorcycling and ATV riding."

One group of citizens, the Badger Oversight and Management Commission, even unveiled their own alternative. "Alternative 4" focuses mostly on conservation, but still allows some of the low-impact recreational activities that were presented in alternative three.

"It's a blend of two and three," Badger Oversight and Management Commission member Laura Olah says. "Number two is like well, birds and bees, but you're not going to have any fun out there. Then there's number three which I call the garbage can where they dumped everything that you could possibly think of."

Anyone who wasn't able to make the meeting can still voice their opinion via phone, e-mail, or online. The Wisconsin DNR will accept comments until August 30th.

After the public comment period is over the DNR will create a first draft of their master plan. Members of the public will then be able to weigh-in on the master plan before it is approved by the Natural Resources Board.

For a full breakdown of all three of the DNR's alternatives visit: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/masterplanning/SaukPrairie/documents/SPRAConceptualAlt.pdf

For more information on the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area (formerly Badger Ammunition) visit: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/masterplanning/SaukPrairie/


PRAIRIE DU SAC (WKOW) -- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources(DNR) officials will host an open house Wednesday, July 31, where the public can ask questions and share comments on the future of the old Badger Army Ammunition Plant.

The site, in Sauk County between Sauk City and Baraboo, will be re-branded the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area.

At the open house, you can look at the three conceptual alternatives for the site prepared by DNR planners.

The three plans include one with an emphasis on ecological restoration, one with an emphasis on outdoor recreation and a third "no action" alternative required by state law. DNR officials stress that the ecological and recreational groupings are not all or nothing choices, and that the comments received will be factored into the next step in the process, which is the writing of a master plan.

Below is the description from the DNR of the three alternatives:

Alternative 1: No action

The property will have limited public access for the nature based outdoor activities of hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, and cross country skiing. Public access to cemeteries on the property will be maintained. No additional funding will be spent on restoration or property development. Any structures or debris left on the property at the time of the land transfer will remain. The department will restrict access if there are any public safety concerns.

Alternative 2: Ecological restoration emphasis

Under this management alternative, the primary emphasis is on restoration work of the grassland ecosystem. A variety of management tools will be used to maintain grassland and savanna. No development is proposed, and access will be limited to pedestrian use. Most remaining infrastructure, buildings and debris would be removed. Visitors would enjoy a perceived remoteness and quiet. Recreation opportunities will be limited to the nature based outdoor activities of hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking and cross country skiing. There would be limited vehicle access and no permanent DNR staff stationed at the location, interaction with DNR staff would be limited. Volunteers would promote community participation in educational activities.

Alternative 3: Outdoor recreation emphasis

Under this management alternative, the primary purpose is getting users onto the property. Visitors would be offered a variety of outdoor recreational experiences while providing interpretive and educational opportunities related to the property's history and restoration efforts. The visitor experience will include a higher level of development and accessibility. Opportunities for the nature based outdoor activities of hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking and cross country skiing will be provided as well as opportunities for biking, horseback riding, motorized use and a shooting range, picnic areas, viewing areas and a fishing pier. This alternative also projects selectively siting and constructing (through community partnerships) a new visitor center with interpretation and education opportunities; the center could also serve as a trail head facility near the railroad corridor, which will serve as a designated recreation corridor in the future. Areas of grassland and shrub land compatible with low-impact recreation trails would be restored.

The public open house is set for Wednesday, from 5:00-7:30 p.m., at the River Arts Center, located at 105 Ninth Street in Prairie du Sac.

If you can't make it, written comments can also be submitted to Diane Brusoe; 101 S Webster Street; Madison, WI 53707. Or send comments to diane.brusoe@wisconsin.gov.

The deadline for submitting comments is 4:30 p.m. on August 30.

  • Which plan do you prefer for the old Badger Army Ammunition Plant?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    No action
    30 votes
    Ecological restoration
    103 votes
    Outdoor recreation
    130 votes
  • Read more about the options here.
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