Purpose: This documents the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog (FOCB) comments on the WDNR’s Draft Master Plan for the Bog. The opinions represented herein are the consensus of the Board of Directors and may not represent each individual member's opinions. That’s why we are encouraging members to actively comment during this phase of the planning process. Please submit your input/concerns directly to the DNR’s planners at:
Background: The DNR has published a DRAFT version of a master planning document that covers the Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area. The document covers a wide variety of State owned parks and property—so the attachment to this email is a consolidated version that shows the parts that are pertinent to the Cedarburg Bog. The draft master plan document is at the DNR’s website
A public hearing was held last week (25 September) and the recorded presentation is available here.
The DNR last published a Master Plan covering the Cedarburg Bog in 1982. The DNR’s current planning process includes a review of historical and current information by the relevant DNR experts (property and program managers, and biologists, etc.), solicitation of input from interested parties (including the FOCB) and development of a master planning document that is now in public comment phase. After this phase, the plan will be reconsidered by the DNR project team in the light of the public comments received and then submitted for Executive approval and final publishing. After that, the plan will be used to guide DNR management of the property, which will have impacts on the use and protection of the Cedarburg Bog for years to come.
Relevant issues: There are several areas of potential interest to FOCB members.
The incoming president is a Mud Lake duck hunter who is viscerally aware of the issue and shares the concern about exceeding the hunter-carrying capacity of Mud Lake. However, the current access is already “man-made” with boards, pallets and plywood as improvised as path enhancements. The ad hoc nature of these “improvements” mean they are poorly conceived, inconsistently built and decay without maintenance. In some instances, exposed nails and the presence of submerged (i.e., hidden) boards impose unintended additional difficulties in transiting the path. It seems hardly appropriate for the DNR to accept as a public policy position that such dangers are an appropriate “filtering” mechanism while simultaneously encouraging such use by allowing Mud Lake boat storage during the hunting season.The current policy of allowing boat storage results in a disorganized array of boats, ad hoc storage platforms and semi-permanent security measures (usually black iron pipes driven deep into the bog to which boats are chained) that degrade the boggy vegetation in that area. The pipes are difficult to remove and frequently are not, from season to season. So, it demands enforcement effort to ensure boats are removed after the season. In years past, this effort has been inconsistent, resulting in abandonment of boats that must be subsequently removed by the DNR, sometimes with volunteer assistance. It may be that if a boardwalk will be built, current duck hunters might consider supporting the removal of the boat storage opportunity to create a similar-but-different barrier to access that preserves their hunting quality. There is some discussion of a raised platform in the draft plan at the boardwalk’s terminus to allow viewing of Mud Lake. Elevating an observer’s eye by five feet does little to improve the panoramic view of the Bog, and having a higher platform would mar the natural beauty that is the Bog.
This boardwalk issue seems to be one of the most controversial aspects of the master plan that apparently pits hunting users of Mud Lake against non-hunting users of Mud Lake. The public hearing held last week was recorded, and starting at minute 29 of that presentation, the discussion focused on this boardwalk, with many legitimate concerns being raised. (link to presentation here). The FOCB is not trying to exacerbate such a divide with its position and indeed believes there is a rational middle ground that meets hunters’ quality hunt desires while allowing greater resource appreciation during non-hunting seasons.
Please use this opportunity to help shape solutions concerning the Cedarburg Bog. Submit your comment through one of the following links: