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Group suing DNR over plan for high-impact activities at Sauk Prairie Recreation Area

Group suing DNR over plan for high-impact activities at Sauk Prairie Recreation Area
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Group suing DNR over plan for high-impact activities at Sauk Prairie Recreation Area

TOWN OF SUMPTER, Wis. - A Sauk County conservation group is suing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources over a plan to permit high-impact activities at the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area.

The move would allow things like off-road motorcycling, helicopter and gun dog training events on the land, located between Sauk City and Baraboo. The recreation area was the one-time home of the World War II-era Badger Army Ammunition Plant.

"We want this to be an area of quiet recreation: hiking, biking, bird-watching, picnicking," Charlie Luthin, executive director of the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance, said.

The Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance worries that the noise will disrupt wildlife as well as visitors partaking in low-impact activities.

"If a  motorcycle goes ripping by me at 40 mph on a trail right beside me, that impacts my experience on this property," Luthin said.

"The hikers and bikers, and bird watchers, and motorcycle riders, and helicopters can go someplace else," Mimi Wuest, the group's president, said. "Meadow larks cannot go any place else."

The group is also concerned about the polluted soil under the abandoned ammo plant. Luthin said he worries that off-road bikes will tear up the soil, introducing toxins into the air.

"Airborne soils that are contaminated could affect the health of the visitors to this property," Luthin said.

News 3 contacted the DNR requesting comment. A spokesperson said the agency cannot comment due to pending litigation.

A Sauk County judge will hear the group's case Monday morning. 


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