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Conservation Group Sues Over Plans For Part Of Badger Ammunition Property

DNR Official Says Proposed Recreational Uses Strike A Balance

Bunny & Norm Lenburg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A conservation group has filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources over plans for part of the former Badger Army Ammunition plant near Baraboo.

The move comes just days before the DNR Board is scheduled to take up the proposed draft master plan for more than 3,000 state-controlled acres of the old Badger property, where the DNR wants to create the Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area.

Earlier proposals to include a shooting range and ATV trails have been dropped, but the DNR wants to allow dual-sport motorcycles and model rocketry for about 16 days of the year.

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Madison attorney Brian Potts, who represents the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance, which filed the lawsuit in Sauk County Court, said the DNR doesn’t have the authority to allow what he calls “high impact” uses.

“There’s a process,” Potts said. “If they wanted to use and include these things at the property they needed to apply to the National Park Service to do so,” adding NPS would do a “significant and robust” environmental review.

The lawsuit indicates the alliance is concerned about harming prairie restoration at the site as well as fires from the model rockets.

Prior to the lawsuit being filed, DNR official Diane Brusoe said the department has been working with NPS and is confident about the state’s analysis of the proposal. The DNR is also trying to strike a balance of uses at the recreation area, she said.

“The department tries to provide a suite of different recreation opportunities on all of the properties that we have,” Brusoe said. “These were some uses we heard that people had a interest. And taking a look at other properties in this area, those are uses that are not provided elsewhere.”

Contacted after the lawsuit was filed late Wednesday afternoon, a DNR spokesman said he would look into the matter.