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Judge to decide on first step in lawsuit against DNR

Published on March 13, 2017 under lawsuit
Judge to decide on first step in lawsuit against DNR

On Wednesday, March 15th, Judge Guy Reynolds of the Sauk County Circuit Court in Baraboo will offer his oral decision about the Alliance’s request for a “stay” on the high-impact activities included in DNR’s Master Plan for the Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area.  We encourage all interested citizens to attend the hearing.

Hearing Details
When:  Wednesday, March 15, 11:00am
Where: Sauk County Historic Courthouse, Branch 3 Hearing Room, 515 Oak Street, Baraboo

Note: The hearing room is limited to 44 persons, but if there are more in attendance than that, we anticipate that they will open up a second room where live video of the decision will be shown.

What’s the upshot?  If the judge decides in our favor, that is a clear indication that he acknowledges we have a strong and meritorious case against DNR.  A “stay” would simply stop the development of high impact activities at Badger until the case works its way through the court, a process that may take a year.  Specifically, we have asked the judge to bar off-road motorcycles, military helicopters and dog training using firearms until the case is settled.  A stay would NOT stop the implementation of the Master Plan; DNR can develop every other aspect of the Recreation Area,
including signage, trails, infrastructure, etc.

If the judge does NOT issue a stay, the recreation area will remain open to the high impact activities.  Securing a stay is rare; perhaps only 10% of cases are allowed a stay.  Having no stay issued does not impact the outcome of our ongoing lawsuit, however.

Without a stay, the Wisconsin Army National Guard will continue using the site for helicopter training (8-10hrs/week).  There are currently no developed trails on the state’s property, so off-road motorcyles would ONLY be allowed on the main roads open to car traffic.  Motorcyles are NOT allowed to use the old Badger roads nor go off-road.  While the property is currently open for all hunting seasons, there would be additional use of firearms throughout the year for dog training in the southern portion of the recreation area.

The hearing is mentioned in a recent article in Baraboo News Republic.

Thank you for your interest!

Charlie Luthin, Executive Director
Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance

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