State park

SHEBOYGAN — The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reopened a lawsuit challenging the use of Kohler-Andrae State Park grounds for a new 18-hole golf course.

What we know

In February 2018, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board approved a land trade of a portion of Kohler-Andrae State Park to Kohler Company. Kohler proposed an 18-hole golf course that would be constructed on 247 acres owned by the company. The site is along Lake Michigan in an undeveloped area called the Black River Forest.

The Friends of the Black River Forest, a group formed to oppose the construction of the golf course and preserve the land, and Claudia Bricks sued the DNR and the board for the land swap. Sheboygan County judge Edward Stengel dismissed the action for "lack of standing," stating the land swap would not cause sufficient injury to the group.

What's the latest?

On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Court of Appeals reinstated, or reopened, the lawsuit, finding that the plaintiffs do have sufficient injuries to be heard. The injuries included the loss of use of the portion of Kohler-Andrae State Park, loss of wildlife likely due to development of the course and the impact the course will have on the remaining land, which would include increased traffic and noise.

Though the reinstatement doesn't prevent the land swap, it allows the Friends of the Black River Forest to move forward in their lawsuit to challenge it in circuit court.

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