We have until August 30th to get our comments in regarding proposals for the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area.
Last time we did a great job making our interests for motorized recreation known - especially the need for single track motorcycle trails.
Last time there were about 400 comments overall and we made up a good percentage of those. At the time of the public meeting on 31 July, 315 had already offered comments about the proposals. You can bet that this time around there will be many more comments that are not in favor of motorized recreation at the site. There are some organized efforts to promote options that do not allow for motorized recreation.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT WE GET COMMENTS SUBMITTED THAT ARE IN FAVOR OF THE OUTDOOR RECREATION EMPHASIS PROPOSAL THAT INCLUDES MOTORIZED RECREATION.
Get word out to other riders and clubs and make sure that people act right away.
These things are often confusing so I have sorted through the issues to help people understand things a little better. Some of my comments are in previous posts.
This time comments are being taken via an on-line survey. The survey itself can be confusing to some as they spend a lot of time talking about vision statements and only a little time concentrating on the three options.
To help sort through this, I am offering some sample comments as they relate to each section of the survey. Please don't use the same words, but try to cover the same points in your own words.
The notes are organized to align with the questionnaire.
Comments to consider for the on-line questionaire.
Page 1 of 4 asks for your zip code. It is a good idea to comment later in the survey that despite the distance from your home, you would be willing to travel to Sauk Prairie to enjoy motorized recreation (and to use the firing range).
Page 2 (Vision)
It would be useful to comment that this large tract of land is proximate to a large number of Wisconsin residents whose recreational interests are underserved in the region. The vision statement should include a statement that recognizes this as an opportunity to bring underserved recreational interests into more reasonable balance while providing opportunities that are within reasonable reach of where people live.
Page 3 (Ecological Management)
Ecological management is important but in this case it should not eliminate opportunities for outdoor recreation. It must be clear that recreation and ecological management do not exclude each other.
Page 3 (Recreation)
It must be clearly stated that recreation takes priority here. There are recreational interests that have not been adequately addressed in the region. Converting this large former industrial site to public land provides an important opportunity to address some of those shortfalls. There is already a large existing tract of parkland in place in this area. The priority here needs to be to address other recreational interests that include motorized recreation and a firearms range.
Page 3 (Cultural Resource Preservation)
Significant sites should be identified and preserved, but not to the extent that it unreasonably restricts recreational use of the land. The priority should be to maximize recreational use of the site while preserving significant cultural features.
Page 3 (Education and Interpretation)
As in cultural resource preservation, education and interpretive opportunities should be addressed without unreasonably restricting recreational use of the land.
Page 4 (Draft Conceptual Alternatives)
No Action Alternative
I do not like this alternative. It wastes a public resource that could otherwise be developed to provide recreation opportunities for a large number of residents that are proximate to this site. The property needs to be developed to maximize recreational opportunities.
Ecological Restoration Emphasis
The site had limited vehicle access and perceived remoteness when it was an industrial site. This is largely because the public was denied use of the land. Now that we can change that, we need to make use of this property by addressing shortfalls in recreation opportunities for a large number of people that live within range of the property. We already have adjoining land that offers traits of what is proposed under this option. Tieing up this property under this option would severely limit the number of residents that would benefit from the resource. We need to maximize the recreational opportunities at the site, not unreasonably limit how it can be used.
Outdoor Recreation Emphasis
This proposal offers the best balance of uses for the property and maximizes the benefit of the property for the most users. The site has the potential to serve a large number of Wisconsin residents because of its proximity to population areas. It also has sufficient space to be able to accommodate some regionally underserved recreational interests like motorized recreation and target shooting. The size and layout of the property would allow a variety of recreational interests to be enjoyed without interference. This option also allows for many of the important features of the other options to be part of the program. The other two options are too restrictive. This option best addresses everyone's interests. I am willing to travel a long distance to be able to participate in motorized recreation and target shooting at this site - especially since these interests are largely underserved in this part of the state.
Thank you for making our interests known. If we prevail we will have a nice riding opportunity that will serve a lot of people - especially since there are so few other options.