Shooting range part of DNR’s approved Wis. River project

Shooting range part of DNR’s approved Wis. River project

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has approved a project for the lower Wisconsin River for the first time in 25 years. The plan focuses on 92 miles of its banks between Prairie Du Sac and the Mississippi River. The approved plan includes more public access ways, trails and camping sites. It also includes a shooting range, which has some local residents like Tammy Parks concerned.

When you live near the Wisconsin River you don’t have to go far to get away.

“We are on a ‘staycation,'” Parks said.

From their home in Mazomanie, Parks and her family are a five-minute drive from the scenic boat landing and sandbar in Arena, Wisconsin.

“We come here quite often with our kids, with our friends, and we want more of our friends to come here with us, it’s always a good time,” she said.

The space however, is becoming too shallow to serve as a boat launch so the DNR wants to repurpose it. As part of the Wisconsin River plan new picnic tables and bathrooms will be placed in Arena. The Parks are excited about the new additions, but they have concerns about other aspects of the DNR’s master plan.

“The only thing we would not like would be the shooting range,” Parks said.

“The agency has been directed to find locations for shooting ranges in the southern part of Wisconsin,” Ann Freiwald, the head of the DNR’s project said.

Three potential spots have been identified for the shooting range site, one in Sauk County, and two in Dane County.

“Let me be clear, it’s not three shooting ranges, it’s one shooting range,” Freiwald said.

One of those locations is just a couple of miles from Tammy’s home. She said she is mainly concerned the range will scare away the beautiful wildlife around her home.

Freiwald said she gets the concern, but is asking people to remember that it is just a small part of a big plan to make this beautiful stretch of land more accessible.

“I think the public will see a better-managed lower Wisconsin River for the plan.”

The project is estimated to cost around $1.4 million, but needs to go through a number of budget proposals.