Boulder Lake Campground neighbor ordered to mental health facility

Boulder Lake Campground in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, January 23, 2018 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

OCONTO (WLUK) -- The man whose behavior officials blame for the closure of the Boulder Lake Campground has been ordered to go to a mental health facility for at least six months of treatment.

Judge Jay Conley held a hearing Thursday, according to county Register in Probate Pat Pawlak.

Earlier this month, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest canceled all reservations for the summer and closed the campground, citing safety concerns.

The Oconto County Sheriff’s Department said it agreed with the shutdown decision based on deputies' encounters last year with the property owner, who lives right next to the campground. The man was basically holding target practice on his property, which is legal, but concerning, said Chief Deputy Ed Janke.

Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest and law enforcement officials will be meeting next week to determine if the closure can be called off.

Businesses in the area say they are hopeful campers will be able to return.

“I had actually been getting calls about what's going on and a lot of people up here had been receiving calls from family and friends and I'm sure everybody is going to be greatly relieved because Boulder Lake campground is the money maker in the Nicolet campground system,” said Beth Boyd of Grudgeville Pub and Grub.

As part of the mental health commitment ruling, Judge Conley suspended the man’s right to possess firearms. The man could petition to have those rights restored, Pawlak said.

No review hearing has been set yet. The county could petition to extend the commitment, she said.

FOX 11 wanted to ask Oconto County officials what specific incident led to the man's commitment to a mental health facility. However, the sheriff's office tells us Oconto County Corporation Counsel advised the department to not comment.

The man could be facing new legal trouble. Madison Police tells FOX 11 it has referred charges to the Dane County District Attorney for a November incident. However, police would not elaborate on what happened.

Those near the campground say they're just happy to hear the man is receiving help, and hope it means a return to regular Northwoods business.

“Hopefully we'll have a good summer and people will be coming up camping,” said Boyd.

Refunds were issued to anyone who made reservations at Boulder Lake for this year.

The campground is about 15 miles southwest of Mountain.

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