Conservation group appeals wildlife area recreation ruling
MADISON (AP) -- A Wisconsin conservation alliance is appealing a federal judge's ruling that allows off-road motorcycle racing, Army helicopter training and other high-impact activities at a state-owned wildlife property.
The Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance argues the activities could cause irreparable harm to Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, the Baraboo News Republic reported. The group wants the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to restrict the activities until lawsuits regarding the property's management are settled next spring.
The hearing before the Chicago-based appellate court is set for Nov. 9.
The group filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in December 2016 and a separate lawsuit against the General Services Administration and the federal Department of Interior's National Park Service in January.
The suits allege the federal agencies didn't properly supervise the DNR when management of the 3,400-acre property was transferred from federal to state control. The suits accuse the agencies of violating federal law by permitting the DNR to include high-impact recreation in the property's management plan without analyzing the environmental effects.
The alliance sought a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court of Western Wisconsin in June, but the request was denied. A similar request in Sauk County Circuit Court was also denied in March.
"We don't feel like we were given a fair consideration of our request for this temporary injunction of those high-impact activities," said Charlie Luthin, the alliance's executive director. "The fact that they are willing to listen to our arguments is important because I'm sure that the appellate court is bombarded with requests for appeals."
A DNR spokesman declined comment on the pending litigation.