The search for common ground took a remarkable step
forward this month. The meeting of the Badger Intergovernmental Group
on October 9 was a profound demonstration of good will and a cooperative
spirit on the part of the Ho-Chunk Nation, the Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources, and the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center.

The group tentatively agreed on a foundational map that divides the
Badger property into 3 parcels with no unclaimed property that otherwise
might be vulnerable to industrial or commercial development.

The announcement underscores commitments made at earlier meetings to
preserve and manage the Badger lands as a whole for conservation and
agricultural purposes.

The first of four weekly meetings convened in Madison on October 2,
bringing together state, local, federal, and tribal government to
discuss the future of the Badger lands.

Without exception, all participants at the initial meeting of the
intergovernmental group reaffirmed their commitment to the land uses,
cleanup objectives, and management policies outlined in Sauk County’s
Badger Reuse Plan. There was unanimous support for a draft conceptual
proposal from the State of Wisconsin that designated conservation,
restoration, and agriculture as the principal land uses.

The State’s interest, like other potential future landowners, is
contingent on the satisfactory removal of unwanted infrastructure and
cleanup levels that support future land use needs.

Attorney William Boulware, speaking on behalf of the Ho-Chunk Nation,
said that the Nation is interested in facilitating legislative
initiatives that would secure the highest of degree of cleanup at
Badger. Boulware reaffirmed the Nation’s commitment to ensuring land
use on properties acquired by the tribe will be a beneficial and
complimentary element in the fabric of the Sauk County landscape.

Mike May, representing the federal General Services Administration,
emphasized that all stakeholders state, federal, and tribal
governments were voluntarily participating in this initiative.

Although each has sovereignty unto itself, their enduring participation
and collaboration demonstrates a resolute commitment to a safe and
healthy future for our community and for the Badger lands.