There was standing room only at the DNR’s presentation of the proposed reroute to Linn’s Board Supervisors. The room, packed with opponents, listened intently to the DNR representatives as they laid out their plans to repurpose the park. On more than one occasion their remarks drew hisses from the crowd. Their words chosen carefully and with purpose were met with skepticism and many times with conflicting facts from locals. Whether discussing wetlands, lagoon water levels, or environmental impacts the DNR was short of information or just plain wrong. They could not or simply would not answer what percentage of the park will be impacted by the new development. Jim Strauss of the Geneva Shore Report later noted that 22% of the park would be changed into a parking lot or access road.
Linn Township Supervisors came prepared with a list of questions for the DNR representatives. The questions hit on the major topics: funding, wetlands, water levels and contamination, increased boat traffic, dredging, safety and maintenance.
Although the DNR wouldn’t say it outright, Big Foot Beach State Park has high attendance levels compared to other state parks throughout the state that have seen sharp decline in attendance level. Even after years of little to no funds dedicated to this park, visitors still flock to the area to enjoy the park and it’s trails.
Their intent is to re-design the existing park to satisfy the needs of weekend boaters. The newly placed boat launch and parking lots would replace Lake Geneva’s launch. For the boaters who currently tie up for boat parties the DNR plans to move them north towards Lake Geneva to make way for beach swimmers and boats entering and leaving the lagoon. Gone will be the days of boaters entertaining drivers of Lake Shore Dr. on hot summers days. Additionally, sailboat owners who normally launch from Lake Geneva would need to find a new launch site as the proposal calls for a pedestrian bridge connecting the two beaches over the inlet that connects the lagoon to the lake. This would prevent taller boats and boats with mast from utilizing this potentially new launch site.
The public comment period clearly laid out the public’s view on this proposal. One after another, residents of Linn and neighboring lakeside communities beat down the proposal highlighting negative impacts this would have on the area and park. For all the comments that were made, not a single one approved of the current proposal. Just before the meeting ended, a quick poll by show of hands was done. Zero hands were raised in support of the proposal.
Care for Lake Geneva encourages Linn’s Board of Supervisors to embrace their communities’ voice of opposition to this proposal and say no to the reroute!
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