FRBF has initiated legal challenges that are critical to the protection of Wisconsin’s natural resources and the public’s interest instate lands. These include fighting Kohler's appeal of a state-issued wetland permit decision reversal, and a court challenge to the unprecedented state park land giveaway. The results of those cases are pending.
Wetland Permit is Reversed - Legal Ruling: Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order, Judge Kaiser's Division of Hearing and Appeals, March 15, 2019
Kohler Co Articles
Concept Plan of Golf Course - Looks like some holes are now in Lake Michigan
Kohler Denied Easement Along State Park to Build Access Road - DNR LAWCON decision, 1984
Kohler Donates Land to State Park - Kohler Co. newspaper article in People, 1965
Kohler's Gift to the State - Deed 1965
Kohler Aim: Protect Air, Land and Water - 1973 article, Sheboygan Press
Bandon Dunes state park damage, Oregon - "...Kohler was tied to this unbelievable proposal to raid Oregon treasured State Parks for a proposed resort."
History of Kohler Family - New York Times
Wisconsin’s Navigable Waters Public Trust Doctrine is part of the state constitution and it declares all navigable waters in the state open to the public, no matter what kind of private property surrounds them.
Notice of Contested Case Hearing
Friends of the Black River Forest submitted a Petition for a Contested Case hearing (Petition) to review the decision. On March 19 the DNR granted the request for a hearing and certified the following issues for hearing: 1 . Whether the permit satisfies the standards in Wis. Stat. 281.36; 2. Whether the Department had sufficient information to consider the standards; 3. Whether the public had sufficient information to comment on the standards; 4, Whether the mitigation required under the statute compensates for adverse impacts to wetlands. (No decision has been made as of 11/5/18.)
DNR Hearing Granted for Opposition to Wetlands Permit
The 4.7 acres of wetlands that could be destroyed are important. "They are rare in Wisconsin and in some cases, across the globe, and provide habitat to species that are not very common," Atty Westerberg said, adding the DNR usually doesn't issue a permit for this sort of wetlands project and she's worried about the precedent. 3/22/18
Proposed golf course put on hold pending further review
Construction of the proposed Kohler Co. golf course has been put on hold by the Wisconsin DNR until a review of the wetlands permit has been made. 3/20/18
FRBF taking DNR to court over wetlands permit, 3/16/18
Wetland Permit Issued to Kohler from DNR, Jan. 2018
- DNR's Final Environmental Impact Statement
- Public Comment Summary and DNR's responses concerning the Nov. 2017 updated Draft EIS
- State Wetland Permit issued by DNR
- Link to Draft EIS (Environmental Impact Statement)
- Annotated Draft EIS
DNR Watch Summary of Whistling Straits violations
"The average citizen could go to jail for these infractions or at least be required to come into compliance by undoing an illegal construction."
Town of Wilson sues City of Sheboygan over Annexation, 9/19/17
Army Corps of Engineers Letter
No public hearing needed for permit to discharge dredged material or fill in wetlands. 10/3/17
Kohler provides missing information to DNR for Wetland Permit Application - prepared by Stantec Consulting Services Inc., Aug. 2017.
DNR to Kohler Co. - Wetland application is incomplete, from April 2017
Public Hearing Request letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from Friends of the Black River Forest re: Kohler Wetland Permit Application
Application for permit from Kohler Co. to Army Corps of Engineers to discharge dredged and fill material into 3.69 acres of wetlands adjacent to the Black River and Lake Michigan for the purpose of constructing an 18-hole golf course and facilities in the Town of Wilson. Apr. 2017
Wisc. Wetlands Assoc. comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- WWA comment on the Draft EIS
- WWA comments on DNR Scoping
- Why No Wetland Permit Should be Granted, PhD Student Forest Science
City's long-term plan has been to annex Wilson - The City is planning to extend water to the area, create a new business park and grab any new subdivisions. "The City of Sheboygan’s Comprehensive Plan calls for absorbing approximately 6,000 acres of Town of Wilson," Town newsletter, Spring 2016.
Traffic Concerns and more, Letter to Kohler Co. from DNR, from March 2013
No more traffic through state park! "The Department's apprehension to any proposed relocation of your northerly guest entrance stems from serious concerns we have about traffic backups that may occur for both our state park guests, as well as your clientele. Park traffic can be very heavy at times...."
Wisconsin DNR and Kohler plan land swap - Hoping to overcome opposition to a golf course along Lake Michigan, Kohler Co. and the DNR have struck a tentative deal to trade properties that will give Kohler ownership of a small parcel in Kohler-Andrae State Park next to the planned course. 2/16/18
Letter to Natural Resources Board from the DNR's Cathy Stepp: Recommends that a master plan amendment process be initiated. 6-24-17
DNR approves wetlands permit for Kohler golf course. Documents released Wednesday by the state DNR show wetlands losses, expected surges in congestion for a nearby state park and potential harm to water resources, including Lake Michigan
Deed - Kohler's gift to the state, 1965 - There are covenants on the deed that read as follows: —To preserve the natural beauty of an unique area along the westerly shore of Lake Michigan. —To provide the people of the State of Wisconsin with an interesting and naturally beautiful recreational area. —To recognize the contributions to the conservation of Wisconsin’s natural resources made by John Michael Kohler and his family. By accepting this deed of gift the State of Wisconsin had to agree to: 1. The property shall be used for state park and public recreational purposes. 2. The property shall be know officially as JOHN MICHAEL KOHLER STATE PARK. Now they want to take up to 20 acres back?