A broad coalition of more than 50 environmental and social justice organizations has co-signed a letter calling for the conservation of the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant lands for ecological restoration, education, sustainable agriculture, and low-impact recreation – challenging a recent proposal by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to set aside a large portion of these lands for off-road motorized vehicles and a shooting range. 

Located in rural Sauk County, the Badger lands are surrounded by the Baraboo Range and the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway which are of geological and biological significance on a national and international scale. The Badger property itself has been identified by WDNR biologists as having one of the most significant grassland bird populations in the state.

The letter urges the U.S. Department of Defense, WDNR, National Park Service and legislators to secure the highest degree of environmental cleanup to ensure the successful reuse of the property. 

“Successful ecological restoration of the Badger lands relies on the restoration of once healthy soils and water,” the letter states. “The focus tends to be on defining how much pollution or how little cleanup is acceptable, rather than striving for what is truly desirable and achievable.”

The letter, which was also co-signed by nearly 80 area residents, concludes by calling on decision-makers to adhere to the fundamental values found in the Badger Reuse Plan which has been formally supported by local, state, federal and tribal governments, area business interests, farmers, landowners and environmental organizations. 

Wisconsin-based organizations that co-signed the letter circulated by Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB) include: Concerned Citizens of Newport, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Crawford Stewardship Project, Peace Action Wisconsin, Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway, West Waubesa Preservation Coalition, Wisconsin Resources Protection Council, Waste Action Project, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Madison, Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community, Nukewatch, Kickapoo Peace Circle, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Spear Ranch LLC, The Friends of Scenic Lodi Valley, WI Network for Peace and Justice, DownRiver Alliance, Echo Valley Hope, Door County Environmental Council, Midwest Environmental Justice Organization, Madison Audubon Society, Wisconsin Audubon Council, Midwest Coalition Against Lethal Mining, Sauk Area Climate Awareness and Action, Wisconsin Environmental Health Network, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice of South Central Wisconsin, Sierra Club – John Muir Chapter, DeForest Area Progressives, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom – Madison Branch, and Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin.

Coalition Letter for Cleanup and Conservation of Badger 2013