Town Residents Criticize Plan To Build Golf Course Outside Kohler-Andrae State Park

Kohler Company Wants To Build Course, In Addition To Access Easement, Near Town Of Wilson

Kohler-Andrae State Park is a popular tourist destination in Sheboygan County. Photo: Mike and Molly (CC-BY-NC-SA).

The Sheboygan press reports that the Kohler Company’s plan to build a 250-acre golf course on company land just north of Kohler-Andrae State Park drew plenty of opposition at a public hearing in the town of Wilson.

Even if the town ultimately grants a conditional use permit for the course, the state Department of Natural Resources would still have to make some decisions. For one thing, a citizens group wants the DNR to say no to a wetlands permit for the course. Also, Kohler wants an easement across the northwest corner of the state park for access to company property.

DNR lands administrator Kurt Thiede said easements have been granted in other instances, “whether it’s a utility easement or occasionally easement across our trails.”

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

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

The DNR would also have to informally decide something conservationists debate nationally: What sort of development just outside a state park would still let park-goers feel like they’re getting away from it all?

DNR parks director Dan Schuller said most people who use Kohler-Andrae would be far from the golf course.

“Most of our intensive recreation use is south of anywhere in the vicinity of this proposal,” said Schuller. “Beach use by any development that may be approved will not be impacted at all. Camp grounds are quite a bit farther south.”

Still, if the town of Wilson approves the golf course, the upcoming DNR review process will perhaps be a test of Gov. Scott Walker’s 2010 campaign promises to preserve the environment.