If you would like to write a letter to the DNR to save Kohler-Andrae State Park or to Kohler Company urging them to drop their plans for yet another luxury golf course for elite users only, below are some talking points you can use, and below that is an email address and a couple of physical addresses where you can send your thoughts.
You can also find a number of posts discussing the situation at Kohler-Andrae at www.wiscoland.com. One that was shared more than 200 times from Facebook is at: https://wiscoland.com/2018/10/24/privatization-and-your-wisconsin-state-parks-the-bold-grab-of-kohler-part-3/. And a press release that contains an interesting quote from Kohler on Sustainability can be found at: https://wiscoland.com/2019/10/22/sierra-club-partners-with-friends-of-the-black-river-forest-to-save-kohler-andrae/
And this post from James Rowen’s blog, The Political Environment, a comprehensive overvierw of the “Kohler golf course controversy.”
- Kohler Co. and its Chairman, Herb Kohler Jr. want 4 acres at the entry of Kohler-Andrae State Park – a park that belongs to the residents and taxpayers of Wisconsin, to build a 22,000 sq. golf course maintenance facility (one what is now a wetland) and to enlarge the quiet, sleepy, single-lane entrance to the park into a 4-lane road with a roundabout.
- This road would be large enough to accommodate the thousands of visitors to major gold events like the Ryder Cup.
- The changes would substantially change the experience of thousands of campers and hikers who visit Kohler-Andrae each year for the benefit of an elite – and dwindling – group that enjoys golf.
- The air quality in Sheboygan is bad already and would only get worse if another golf course were built there.
- Only ten miles away, Kohler Co. already has an elite golf course, Whistling Straits, where the 2020 Ryder Cup will be held.
- In building Whistling Straits, Kohler violated its permits and shifted most of its tax burden to home and property owners in the area – the little guy, who pays for the privileges of the big guys like Herb Kohler, a billionaire several times over.
- In addition to the damage to Kohler-Andrae Park, Kohler wants to pave over a globally rare, interdunal wetland that exists on its land, and clear-cut a beach forest.
- No, they don’t have a right to destroy our environmental heritage and a rare and migrating bird habitat because it happens to be “on their property.”
- Nor do they have the right to damage the property of the homeowners near the proposed golf course, whose already eroding property would be further eroded by the “bunkering” needed to create the golf course on Kohler’s Land. Just because the Kohlers are rich, doesn’t mean they have more rights than we do.
- Kohler prides itself on its “sustainable” products: https://www.kohlercompany.com/sustainability/
- Kohler says the golf course will be “minimalist.” http://www.proposedgolfcourse.com/ (You can read their permit application here.)
SAMPLE EMAIL FROM TOSA EAST STUDENT (with mistakes)
My name is Emma Stevens, I am a fifteen-year-old resident of Milwaukee county, and I love our public lands. I know I’m not alone when I say that our public lands are what make Wisconsin great, and that they mean so much to the citizens of our state, whom they belong to – especially Kohler-Andrae, one of Wisconsin’s favorite parks, drawing more than 430,000 visitors each year.
When I heard that your company planned to go through with the construction of a four-lane road, chemical storage facility, and 22,000 square foot luxury golf course [sic] not 16 miles south of your other championship course, Whistling Straits, overlapping four acres of the globally rare wetland of Kohler-Andrae state park, I was appalled. The fact that Kohler chooses to do so despite being overruled in court, despite public backlash, and despite the irreparable damage they would be causing to several endangered bird and plant species, and the serious threat of groundwater contamination they would pose to this vital ecosystem, is unacceptable.
Ms. Kohler, this land does not belong to your company. It is not the property of those who feel entitled to it; Kohler-Andrae belongs to the public. And as a member of that public, I implore you to reconsider altering quiet entrance of one of my favorite state parks for your own commercial purposes.
To get in touch with me to discuss this issue, I can be reached at (262)-247-6232.
REPLY FROM KOHLER CO. COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, TODD WEBER
Dear Ms. [Name Withheld],
Thank you for reaching out to Kohler Co. regarding your viewpoints on the proposed golf course on land the company has owned in Sheboygan County for more than 75 years. Your letter addressed to Laura Kohler was forwarded to me for a response. We acknowledge and respect that there will be varying opinions about the project. Discussions over the last several years in public meetings and forums have helped shape the project’s design and scope.
At Kohler Co., we believe that good business practice and sound environmental policy must work together, and that has guided our work on the proposed golf course in the City of Sheboygan. We have been committed to ensuring that we create a world-class public golf course that respects the property’s natural character, and opens up private land to the public for the first time. Our golf course project has been the subject of many different public meetings on both state and local levels, and undergone a detailed analysis and lengthy review process from various state and federal regulators, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Department of Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. All along, our approach has been to avoid, minimize and mitigate any potential impacts and to enhance adjacent park facilities.
In early 2018, the Natural Resources Board approved a land exchange proposal between the Department of Natural Resources and Kohler Co., with the State providing an access easement for entry to the golf course and 4.59 acres for Kohler to construct a maintenance facility. This parcel of property represents less than 1 percent of the total park area. We have agreed to construct a roundabout to ease traffic flow, help reduce lines at the park entrance, and provide an entry to the golf course. The new maintenance facility will be located in an area where a park maintenance facility already exists. This is an area not easily accessible by the public. In return, Kohler has provided a land parcel of greater value back to the State for public use. This parcel includes 9.5 acres of land that is contiguous to the existing Kohler-Andrae State Park. The parcel contains a house and several buildings.
We believe a world class golf course and one of the state’s most popular parks coexisting next to each other and sharing an entrance is a good thing for both. People interested in golf will become more aware of Kohler Andrae State Park, and that’s beneficial for generating increased interest in the park and attracting more visitors. The same is true with park visitors who have access to a public golf course and restaurant. The close proximity of the public golf course and state park is ideal for offering a diverse portfolio of outdoor activities and promoting participation for individuals to enjoy the remarkable natural resources Wisconsin has to offer.
Once again, thank you for sharing your thoughts about our proposed golf course to be constructed on company land, and for the opportunity for us to respond with facts about the project. To learn more, please visit the project web site at: www.ProposedGolfCourse.com
Communications Director-Public Relations
RELEVANT ADDRESSES: Send a note explaining how you feel about preserving Kohler-Andrae State Park for all the residents of Wisconsin to:
444 Highland Drive
Kohler, WI 53044\
WI Department of Natural Resources
101 S. Webster Street
PO Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707-7921
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