I have lived in Sauk County over 60 years, 35 years have been in the Town of Merrimac. I live on the bluffs surrounded on three sides by Devil’s Lake State Park – we bought the property from the DNR.
For the last 20+ years I have been focused on Badger as a member of the Badger Environmental Board of Advisors which transcended and became the Restoration Advisory Board – both focused on Army cleanup. Parallel to this I chaired the Town of Merrimac Zoning Committee which created our Development Plan, our Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map – we are town zoned. I served for 10 years as our first Zoning Administrator. I also served two terms on the Sauk County Board of Adjustment.
I share with you the important things I have learned about land use:
1. Land is a very emotional issue.
2. We only have so much dirt/land.
3. The land will TELL you what it NEEDS to be. The Town of Merrimac has zoned Badger Agriculture Conservation, and the Town of Sumpter Exclusive Agriculture. A portion of Devil’s Lake State Park, Parfrey’s Glen and the Riverland Conservancy are also in the Town of Merrimac. The maps are worth 10,000 words.
4. We need to adopt the Native American philosophy – look forward seven generations.
5. Bringing people to the land is educational and healing. Healing both for the land and the people.
6. We have grassroots/non-profit groups that have already done wonderful restoration work at Badger and will continue to do so if allowed. These are the willing and potential volunteer work force that will be needed and these people are very critical for restoration. In many cases these groups also qualify for grant money for projects they are involved in.
The original Badger Reuse Plan, with the nine values and the Badger Oversight Management Commission Alternate #4 are the BLUE PRINT for Badger with low impact, restorative land uses. Let the healing begin!!!
Mary Carol Solum, Merrimac