A 20-year retrospective on Badger and its transformation
Gail Lamberty, a long-time Alliance board member and officer, has offered her personal perspective on the past 20 years of history and story-making at Badger. Here is her statement:
Twenty years of CCSP/SPCA history packed with laughter, tears, celebrations, and frustrations offers an opportunity for reflection. A discussion of shared memories began on Dec. 14 at the final presentation in the Alliance 2017 speaker series. There is a wealth of individual memories that combined create an amazing mosaic of a significant chapter in the Sauk prairie story. Two decades of Badger citizen conservation advocacy presents an opportunity to review, remember, reflect and reassess.
There are many successes to be celebrated: bringing people to the land, spearheading awareness of the property’s unique landscape, creating the Fordham prairie, restoration efforts at the Hillside prairie, marking trails in the DNR recreation area and creating a small apple orchard nursery on the Dairy Forage lands. Perhaps the biggest and best victory of all: no large scale commercial development on the landscape. In the beginning that was not a guaranteed outcome, or even likely result. Success comes in many forms. Two decades later an organization faithfully dedicated to the future of that abused landscape continues to raise its voice. . . all accomplished by stalwart local citizens who receive no personal gain or advantage for those many, many years of dedication.
There remain however challenges yet to be met. Since the Badger Oversite and Management Commission has been disbanded, there is no forum for the four land owners and public to continue the dialog started at the Reuse Committee in 2000-2001 where the community consensus for the property was developed. Value One from that report says: Treat the property as a whole. The Alliance took that charge seriously and in 2014 presented the landowners with a concept management plan framework for the entire property. It was hoped that individual land use plans would be created enhancing the values of the Badger Reuse Committee Report. Presently each landowner is developing their own management plan with little shown evidence of working with other property owners outside of shared road issues. We can only hope the values and criteria of the Reuse committee report are incorporated by each land owner.
Have we won some significant battles and lost the war, or have we won the war and lost some battles? The answer to that question is still unfolding on the landscape. The Alliance will be there to remind the land owners and the general public there are the values all parties agreed to before any land transfers took place. This is what each landowner and other interested parties promised to the community for the future use of Badger lands.
The landowners have “Miles to go and promises to keep”…promises to keep. The Alliance will remind them of Robert Frost’s admonition and the promises they made to the land, each other and the community.