Sauk County residents will have a chance this week to weigh in on current and future outdoor recreation opportunities in the area.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will hold an open house meeting Tuesday at the Baraboo Civic Center, during which attendees can speak with department officials, property managers and other DNR staff about its outdoor recreation offerings. DNR recreation specialist Cameron Bump said the meeting is part of the department’s Recreation Opportunities Analysis.
“We’re collecting public input on a variety of things regarding outdoor recreation,” he said. “Primarily, what people like to do, where they like to do it, what might be some gaps of outdoor recreation and where opportunities may lie so we could meet some of those needs or gaps.”
The Recreation Opportunities Analysis is examining outdoor recreation on state-managed properties in eight regions across the state. The final regions to be studied are the Southern Gateways and Lower Lake Michigan Coastal regions. Sauk County is included in the northern end of the Southern Gateways region.
Bump said breaking the state into regions helps the DNR get a sense of what recreation the public is looking for in different areas. He said he anticipates with the presence of Devil’s Lake and other popular state properties, Sauk County residents will show a stronger desire for hiking and camping opportunities than other regions.
“What we’re doing is we’re trying to make it a more manageable analysis where we look at each region and we try to describe the region and the characteristics of recreation that happens there,” Bump said. “In doing so, we’re able to help our planning process.”
Bump said there will be no formal presentation during Tuesday’s meeting. Attendees can look over various displays and maps and talk with department staff about recreation at properties like Devil’s Lake, the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, Pewit’s Nest and other local sites.
“They’re able to have conversations with us and bring forward their thoughts on outdoor recreation — maybe some particular properties in the area that they think hey this property is conducive to this activity,” Bump said. “Those types of comments are fantastic for us to hear.”
If unable to attend the meeting, Sauk County residents can still provide feedback to the DNR online, according to a department press release.
“The public is invited to participate in this analysis by providing information through an online input form by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword ROA,” the release states. “The public can provide feedback online or print out the questionnaire and send completed forms to the department.”
Public input opportunities for Sauk County residents are open through Jan. 2.