Many of you will recall that we have been trying to get a single track motorcycle trail at the newly developing Sauk Prairie Recreation Area. This is the old Badger Munitions Plant near Baraboo and Sauk City.
Through a lot of effort, we were able to get our motorized interests represented in the first proposal for the land. Despite the DNR recognizing that our recreational interest is underserved in the southern part of the state, we were essentially shouted down by those against motorized recreation. The potential inclusion of motorized recreation drew the most comments by the public and the majority of those were against it.
Unrelated to what I was working on with Sauk Prairie, I looked for other ways to increase our riding opportunities – even in places where we might not get a permanent trail. In support of this, I did two case studies. One was on an event in MN where horse trails are repurposed for off-highway motorcycle riding a couple of times a year. The other involved federal land where dual sports are allowed to ride mountain bike and hiking trails for an event once a year. I presented this to the DNR and the State Trails Council (of which I am a member). The Council recommended that the DNR adopt temporary repurposing to allow more opportunities for user groups to enjoy their recreational interest. The DNR adopted the proposal. The law requires that we need to add the intended repurposed uses in the property Master Plan before we can do it.
Going back to Sauk Prairie, due to public objections permanent motorized trails were eliminated from the proposed Master Plan. However, the DNR recognizes that off-highway motorcyclists are underserved AND DESPITE PUBLIC OBJECTION they still included the opportunity for us to use horse and mountain bike trails for motorcycle riding for up to six days per year at Sauk Prairie.
Someone’s first reaction might be to see this negatively. The fact is, we were out of the plan COMPLETELY and after “considerable deliberations” the DNR put the motorcycle repurposing proposal into the proposed plan. This is a big win for us. We need to show significant support for this proposal so we get the provision into the Master Plan for this property. In the future we will be trying to add it to other Master Plans as well. We need to respond in force to make sure we get this one. We already know that the anti-motorized will try to defeat it. WE NEED TO WIN THIS FOR THE FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES WE CAN DEVELOP ELSEWHERE IN ADDITION TO SAUK PRAIRIE.
Don’t worry about whether or not the riding experience on horse and bike trails at Sauk Prairie will be good or not. We don’t know since we haven’t seen the trails. We just need to make sure the concept gets adopted for the property.
The proposal is that we can ride the horse and bike trails up to six days per year. This could be two 3-day weekend events or three two-day events. Much better than nothing at all and we need to win on principle.
WE NEED TO GET OUR PUBLIC COMMENTS SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF THIS PROPOSAL! SPREAD THE WORD!
The public comment period is open from August 11th through September 25th.
This can be done on-line.
Here are some notes of important points to cover with each of the submissions: PLEASE USE YOUR OWN WORDS!
PUBLIC COMMENT SHEET http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/masterplanning/SaukPrairie/documents/SPRACommentForm.pdf
Question 1. The following recreation activities should be added: Dedicated off-highway motorcycle trail. Trials motorcycle practice area.
Question 2. There should be more opportunities for these activities: Off-highway motorcycle riding and trials motorcycle riding.
Question 3. Other comments. There are at least a dozen other parks in this area where people can already enjoy nearly all of the recreational activities proposed for this property. None of those parks offer the opportunity for the very underserved recreational interests of off-highway and trials motorcycling. If facilities can’t be dedicated for exclusive off-highway motorcycle riding, then as a minimum we must be given the opportunity to repurpose other trails so that we at least get some opportunity to ride.
Question 9. I see no significant adverse environmental effects from the proposal for off-highway motorcycling.
Question 10. Off-highway motorcycling is being left out again while we continue to add the “standard” recreational opportunities to this property that are already available in many other properties in the area. Instead of allowing motorized recreation to be “shouted down” by a few loud voices, it is much fairer to look at overall statewide needs and balance the opportunities offered to better align with those needs.
Question 11. Somewhat too much emphasis on conservation.
Question 12. The plan is defective in that it does not account for the fact that many of the opportunities being included are already provided nearby to this property. A dedicated opportunity for motorized recreation, which is NOT available on the nearby properties, was discarded for the wrong reasons.
Question 14. Yes.
Question 15. Dual Sport Motorcycle Riding
Question 17. It is important to develop opportunities for dual sport motorcycling as soon as possible since this interest is underserved regionally.
Question 18. Final thoughts. Describe how important it is to you to have more opportunities to ride your off-highway motorcycle in this region and how this former industrial property provides the perfect opportunity to offer such an experience. Mention how unfair it is for those that have the preponderance of opportunities on other area properties to selfishly and unfairly shout down the motorized users. Sharing the commons is important and opportunities should align with the interests of all user groups, not just those who want it all for themselves.
MASTER PLAN FEEDBACK http://22.selectsurvey.net/DNR/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=llK066l1
There should be more recreation opportunities.
There should be more opportunities for some activities.
There should be a dedicated trail for off-highway motorcycle riding. In lieu of this, there should be ample opportunities to repurpose other trails to allow off-highway motorcyclists the opportunity to enjoy their recreational interest.
10. Permanent riding trails should have been provided for off-highway motorcyclists. Since permanent opportunities were not provided, ample repurposing of other trails must be allowed to give off-highway motorcyclists at least some opportunity to ride.
11. Somewhat too much emphasis on conservation.
12. Does not adequately address the needs of the underserved off-highway motorcyclists in the region.
15. dual sport motorcycle riding
17. It is important to develop opportunities for dual sport motorcycling as soon as possible since this interest is underserved regionally.
18. Final thoughts. Describe how important it is to you to have more opportunities to ride your off-highway motorcycle in this region and how this former industrial property provides the perfect opportunity to offer such an experience. Mention how unfair it is for those that have the preponderance of opportunities on other area properties to selfishly and unfairly shout down the motorized users. Sharing the commons is important and opportunities should align with the interests of all user groups, not just those who want it all for themselves.
On Thursday, September 10th, there will be a public hearing in Prairie du Sac regarding this proposal. As in the past, I will be there to represent our interests on this matter.
It would be helpful for some others to attend to show support for our interests. MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT YOU SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS ON-LINE AS DESCRIBED ABOVE.
For those that might want to attend, this is the set-up. Please connect with me by e-mail if you plan to attend or look me up on-site. I’ll wear some article of motorcycle clothing to make it easier to connect on-site.
Thursday, September 10
River Arts Center 105 Ninth Street
Prairie du Sac, WI
Public Open House: 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
DNR presentation: 5:00 p.m.
Public Hearing: 5:15 – 8:00 p.m.
Feel free to e-mail me with your questions.
As I mentioned earlier, it is critically important that we get repurposing in this Master Plan. Please get your comments in right away and spread the word for others to do the same. We need to show some significant numbers.