Donations are tax deductible

Mission Statement:
"To oppose the construction of a golf course within the Black River Forest and to promote the preservation of the integrity of that river, its wetlands, the forest and the adjoining Lake Michigan shore as an ecological whole."


 For five years we have:

  • Monitored the DNR's actions which have smoothed the permit process for Kohler
  • Kept in communication with with the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service, the Native tribes
  • Met with  our State reps and Senators informing them of the impacts
  • Obtained information on the pressure exerted by the Governor on the DNR and the NRB to approve Kohler's permit after study showed serious environmental impacts that will result
  • Consulted experts on the omissions, untruths, and misleading information in Kohler and DNR reports
  • Presented several legal explanations to the DNR and Natural Resources Board outlining the illegalities of their actions
  • Spoken in person to the DNR, the Natural Resources Board, disseminated information to all agencies involved
  • Mobilized over 20,000 people  to sign a petition opposing the sale, swap or leasing of any state park land with out a public hearing.
  • Mobilized hundreds of people to write to the DNR and NRB
  • Attended and spoke at every DNR hearing and mobilized people to attend


Unfortunately today, the only recourse the public has in this state
to protect our land, air and water, is the court of law.


Wisconsin residents deserve that those entrusted with their natural resources do their jobs and protect them


  • 50-60% of the forest would be removed and the rarest wetlands filled in. This changes the entire hydrology of the area destroying natural filters for agricultural and pesticide runoff into Lake Michigan.
  • Kohler-Andrae’s entrance would be reconstructed into a roundabout for the course. Construction will impair the camping and visiting activities of the second most visited park in the state for almost 3 years. The State would  work with the National Park Service to change the Kohler-Andrae Master Plan to allow this.
  • The State would arrange to convert land purchased for the Park with federal funds (LAWCON) to private land so Kohler can use the land for its own profit. The state and Kohler justifies the mandate for public recreational use of the land by saying the public can play golf and the restaurant can be used by the public.


  • Dunes which took 5000 years to create would be graded.
  • Residents' wells would be drawn down and only remedied if one can prove to the Kohler Company that its pumping is responsible.
  • Rare and endangered species would be destroyed
  • The presence of birds and other wildlife would be severely diminished because of loss of habitat. This area is a tier 4 Important Migratory Bird Route
  • Artifacts and remains of inhabitants from 1200 B.C. would be bulldozed and covered on land that has been recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers for the National Registry of Historic Places. Read Archaeological Investigation Report prepared for Kohler Co.; including Army Core of Engineers and Wisc. Historical Society letters, or see condensed version

Kohler Co. has erroneously stated that "Among the most vocal opponents of the project are some of those residents who apparently prefer that the land be maintained for their private use." They misconstrued statements that were made about the Black River Trails on STATE LAND that Kohler wanted to use for an entrance to their land-locked property. No one from Friends of the Black River Forest is concerned with personal access to the land. We are concerned with how a 'world class' golf course will affect surrounding properties. We are concerned about pesticide drift, pollution to well-water, Lake Michigan and the Black River; the destruction of "globally unique" dunes and "rarest, most irreplaceable" wetlands. We are concerned that the design appears to be driven by an intent to host professional golf tournaments and what impact that would have on the quiet Town of Wilson and Black River area. We are concerned about high-capacity wells. We are concerned about public rights to the Lake Michigan shoreline and Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine. We are concerned with the incomplete data being used for the DNR's draft EIS. And we do not agree that state land should be given to a private, for-profit enterprise.

Town of Wilson Zoning Ordinance - Kohler has influenced the governor and appealed to the greed of the City of Sheboygan in order to annex the proposed land (through a suspicious balloon on a string annexation where Kohler Co. bought properties to create a connection from Sheboygan to the Town) in order to get around the Town of Wilson's zoning restrictions which state that a golf course is not a permitted use.  A proposed conditional use would be denied unless the applicant can demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Town, that the proposed conditional use will not create inappropriate or undesirable impacts on near by properties, the environment, or the community as a whole, as determined by the Plan Commission. Link

There have to be better alternatives than the forest in Black River


Lawrence Woolbright, a biology professor at Siena College in Albany, New York, who is spearheading research into the effects of golf courses on wildlife, has a short answer when asked whether a builder should consider placing a course in a pristine area:  "Don't."  He urges people to locate their courses in places where the course improves land use, such as old landfills, degraded cropland, and industrial sites. One such course is now being built near the Dane County airport on a closed landfill and cornfields that were wetlands prior to 1940, but it's the only example of a course built on reclaimed land that DNR staff recall. Link



All runoff water in our watershed flows into area streams, rivers, and eventually into Lake Michigan. As water travels it picks up pollutants and sediment from many sources. How we build and maintain our cities, roads, farmland, and parkland all determine the quality of the watershed. Construction site erosion and impervious surfaces are generating threats to water quality, especially in the eastern portions, as the Sheboygan River basin grows increasingly urban.


Pristine Woods and Dunes


For the community, the preservation of the Indian Mounds and the ecological character of the area is of paramount concern. Since its organization in 1934, the BRAA has actively supported the preservation of our natural beauties and historical past. It appears safe to assume that the years ahead will pose threats to the Black River environment - both natural and man-made.

~ Black River Advancement Association's Historic Review, 1974

“There are certain places where you don't want golf courses. I fought to keep a course off of the Crystal River in Northern Michigan, where we taught our kids to canoe, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. A prime, sensitive area with pristine water, very rare plants and so forth - a golf course would be compromising the environmental integrity of that land. We were successful in keeping that one away.”

~ Brent Blackwelder, president of the U.S. branch of Friends of the Earth, and former golf team member of Duke University

Friends of the Black River Forest agree with Mr. Blackwelder. The Black River Forest is one of those special places where you don’t want a golf course. This property is a place where the waves are welcomed by wind-formed dunes, where the towering pines cast shadows on the whitetail below, where one can experience nature in it's purest sense, where one can walk the same paths the Native Americans did so very long ago, where one can feel the breezes off the lake, hear the wind whispering through  those beautiful towering pines, where you can feel goosebumps from delight and smell the pines and earth in this precious piece of God's paradise.

"Living in the midst of abundance we have the greatest difficulty in seeing that the supply of natural wealth is limited and that the constant increase of population is destined to reduce the American standard of living unless we deal more sanely with our resources."

~ W.H. Carothers

The parcel of land includes a gorgeous stretch of Lake Michigan Shoreline, very rare dune network, old growth forest including majestic towering pines, and various wetlands including the Black River. All told a very diverse, environmentally sensitive parcel of land... one not found anywhere else on Earth! We believe that this land is a local treasure and important to the future of the Great Lakes and that it should be preserved. Here is an opportunity for the Kohler family to create a grand legacy for future generations.




Friends of the Black River Forest has 501(c)(3) approval. This means that all donations are tax deductible.

Please contact us with any questions that you may have regarding a tax deducible gift to the organization.

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