Judge Denies Request To Stop ‘High-Impact’ Activities At Former Badger Ammunition Plant

Lawsuit Challenging DNR's Master Plan Continues Despite Ruling

Former Badger Army Ammunition
Bunny & Norm Lenburg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A conservation group has lost an attempt to temporarily block motorcycles, helicopters, model rockets and other high-impact uses at the former Badger Army Ammunition plant near Baraboo.

The Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance asked for a halt to part of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ new master plan for the Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area. The group worries about the potential noise and disruption to wildlife caused by six days per year of dual-sport motorcycles, 10 days of model rockets, dog training with guns that can be fired, and continued helicopter take-off and landing exercises by the Wisconsin National Guard.

But Sauk County Judge Guy Reynolds rejected the request Wednesday, saying the plaintiffs have not met the required burden to show irreparable harm.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Alliance attorney Brian Potts said he’s now concerned about birds at the site.

“Well, certainly the meadowlarks and the bobolinks who will come to nest on the property in April and May, and you know, may be driven off,” Potts said.

The DNR didn’t comment on Reynolds’ ruling, but said earlier that the master plan tries to strike a balance of uses at the roughly 3,000-acre of what used to be the former ammunition plant and is now the Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area.

Potts said the Alliance’s overall lawsuit against the DNR master plan will continue, and said losing the temporary block does not hurt his group’s challenge.

“The judge made it very clear that this is only a decision about whether these high-impact uses can go forward while he considers the merits of our case. He called it a close call,” Potts said.

The Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance is also suing the federal agency that helped turn part of the Badger site over to the state. That case is in federal court.