Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Campaign Cash

Walker Donor Given State Park Land

State approves giving Herbert Kohler lakeshore parkland for his golf course.

By - Jan 19th, 2018 10:02 am
The bright clouds over the sand dune trails at Kohler-Andrae State Park, Wisconsin

The bright clouds over the sand dune trails at Kohler-Andrae State Park, Wisconsin. Photo via Good Free Photos

The state approved the first in a string of permits sought by a major GOP campaign contributor to build a high-end golf course along the Lake Michigan shore that uses state park land.

Plans for the 247-acre, 18-hole course call for four acres of forest and wetland in the Kohler-Andrae State Park in Sheboygan County to build a golf course maintenance facility and service road. The course is being built by the Kohler Co., whose owner, Herbert V. Kohler, Jr., is a major contributor to Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The permit, which will allow the destruction of nearly four acres of wetlands, was approved Wednesday by the Department of Natural Resources. The company agreed to create a larger amount of wetlands elsewhere and pay $200,000 in wetland restoration costs to get the permit.

In addition, the agency also released documents that show expected surges in congestion at Kohler-Andrae State Park when the course is operating, possible harm to a dozen threatened or endangered species at or near the golf course project, and negative effects on groundwater levels and quality.

Kohler Co. employees contributed $60,765 between January 2010 and June 2017 to legislative and statewide candidates. Most of the employee contributions – $48,500 – were made by Herbert Kohler.

Herbert Kohler contributed $40,000 to Walker, $5,000 to GOP Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, $2,000 to Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, of Juneau, and $1,500 to former GOP Sen. Joe Leibham, of Sheboygan, between January 2010 and June 2017.

Kohler Co. has built two other high-end 18-hole golf courses in Wisconsin – Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits, which was the site of the PGA Championship in 2004, 2010 and 2015.

19 thoughts on “Campaign Cash: Walker Donor Given State Park Land”

  1. Old Man Yells at Cloud says:

    Paaay to Plaaay. Normal residents don’t matter to Walker and GOP. Kohler could have made their golf course work without this land.

  2. Terry says:

    Career Politician Scott Walker is selling out the state to the highest bidder. This charlatan and all other republicans need to go in November.

    DUMP WALKER 2018!!

  3. Jeff Weiner says:

    Just what Wisconsin needs, another high end golf course that most Wisconsin can’t afford. Slimy Scott at it again. He doesn’t care about the state parks. That’s why my wife and I camp out of state.

    Best way to MAGA is to vote out Republicans!!!

  4. Sam Fike Milwaukee County resident says:

    This is fake news. Kohler company gave over 200 acres to state of Wisconsin in the 60’s so that this park could be established. Them taking back 4 acres is return on the investment Kohler company made decades ago. Highlighting that Kohler Co. donates to Walker gives little information. Private business is tied in with state government. Both exist so that wealthy can increase their power. This is AMERICAN DEMOCRACY at work exactly as intended.

    Public owned lands are a good idea, preserving natural flora and fauna is a good idea.
    This news brief fails to note that WI DNR land is not public land and any goal it has of preservation is second to expansion of wealth.

    In this capitalist society it should not be notable that capital is increased and accumulated, that capital sets the value and logic.

  5. Mary Faydash says:

    As a spokesperson for Friends of the Black River Forest our grassroots group is appalled at the blatant pay to play politics that has destroyed our land, air and water, ruined the DNR and installed a worthless Natural Resources Board. The DNR Permit has been awarded but there are more hurdles. we are not stopping our opposition. We are launching a campaign to fund our legal challenges to this travesty. Follow us on Facebook And friendsblackriverforest.org

  6. Neil C. says:

    @Sam Fike
    How is this FAKE NEWS if only facts have been presented? Seems like you don’t understand what the word FAKE means.

    The accumulation of wealth is not the end all, be all for humankind. Just because you can build on a piece of land doesn’t mean you should. The loss of species, clean air, and natural habitat plus the extra pollution and traffic created by a project is as, if not, more important than one man’s goal to accumulate fiat money. We all have slightly different versions of what ‘Wealth’ means. Accumulate all that fiat money at the expense of the environment so he can eventually vacation on an island that has kept it’s natural habitat intact. Ironic!

  7. Jeff Weiner says:

    Sam file is obviously a trump/Walker supporter when he calls out news he doesn’t like as “fake news”. How sad that when there is a news story you don’t agree with it’s fake. What a crock of shit !!!

  8. Kenneth says:

    Sam, your flattulence is not fake! What can 40,000 dollars do for me? Scottie: We need to talk…

  9. Terry says:

    To republicans anything they don’t agree with is “fake news.” Remember republicans are the party of misogynists, Confederates, Neo-Nazis, racists crypto-fascists etc…what else do you expect?

  10. Thomas says:

    Thank you, first, for the wonderful photo of a boardwalk over dunes at Kohler-Andre State Park. There are also boardwalks in that park over wetlands and through forests. Kohler-Andre is among my favorite of our state parks. My family and I enjoyed walking all 3 of the above mentioned boardwalks during a 3 day stay at that park in early July last year.

    Thank you, Kohlers, for donating land for that park back in the 1960’s, but please stop and think before you take some of that land back for a golf course. There are enough o serve the needs of people, plants, animals, birds, rivers …

    There will be golf for the few for a short while, but the preservation of our planet matters more than a sport for the elite who appear to want it all for themselves right now at the expense of posterity.

  11. Thomas says:

    Correction: the penultimate paragraph in post # 10 should have read “There are enough golf courses to serve the needs of the relatively few who use them, but there are not now enough wetlands to serve the needs of people, plants, animals, birds, rivers … “

  12. Mary Faydash says:

    The facts are that the number of acres that will be torn up will far exceed 4 acres. 4 acres is the finished footprint of 3 maintenance buildings, a parking lot, a reconstructed entrance with a rotary to facilitate entry to course, a road across park land to the course. The number of adjacent acres dug up during construction is not estimated. Former Park Superintendent James Buchholz has photographed and described the importance of this land. Friends of the Black River Forest will be challenging the DNR’s final Environmental Impact Statement. You can see the land at http://www.friendsblackriverforest.org The land in question was not donated by Kohler. It was purchased with Federal funds through the Land and Water Conservation Act. The DNR is attempting to have the National Park Service convert the land from public to private for Kohler.

  13. Mary Faydash says:

    Please visit http://www.friendsblackriverforest.org for facts. 4 acres is the finished footprint after many more contiguous acres will be torn up to reconstruct the entrance into a rotary to facilitate traffic for the course, along with a course entrance road through the park and an important habitat viewed by visitors with 22,500 sf of maintenance fa cities and mixing of chemicals.

  14. Sam Fike Milwaukee County resident says:

    Neil C: facts do not stand alone, they require theory to have meaning. Yes this article details Gov. Walker authorising private citizens to have “public” land. What does this mean tho? What is the significance? Your second paragraph is a plea on closed minds if it is intended to challenge prevailing capitalist logics. Yes there are many ways to define wealth but this society is done defining and busy operating under capitalism.

    Jeff Weiner: President Trump is the fake news he warned you about. This article drums up outrage at Gov. Walker for giving “public” land to private citizen, ostensibly a sign of corrupt politics. Rather this deal is politics, indicative of capitalist horse trading and operation of elites.

    Kenneth: My body emits many gases, yes.

    Terry: Republican/Democrat/whatever these political parties are false flags and only serve to delude and divide. Both the major USA parties has presided over atrocities you describe. The true divisions are between those who have and do not have resources and opportunity.

  15. Terry says:

    @Sam, don’t lecture me son. I was reading Hayek, Ayn, Marx and Hegel before you had pubes.
    Save your ire for the GOP son. It is Walker and republicans that have eviscerated Wisconsin. Not Democrats, this time.

  16. Terry says:

    Republicans are the party of White Nationalists, misogynists, Confederates, Neo-Nazis, racists and crypto-fascists. Not Democrats. Dems are far from perfect but when compared to Nazis, White Nationalists, Confederates etc…well, there is a very big difference.

  17. Thomas Martinsen says:


    Please review what Mary Faydash says in posts #s 12 & 13. Kohler-Andre State Park still belongs to all citizens of WI. Significant portions of it will belong to a golf club if we let reactionary Republicans who have lost all memory of conservative principles sell our public land to private profiteers.

    I have great pictures of my 30 something sons on the dunes at that park when they were 6 & 2 years old, fond memories of a hummingbird flying near my nose during a camping trip with colleagues of my wife 20 years ago, and my muscles remember walks on the boardwalks in that park last summer. Golfers can golf elsewhere. They will neither bring their children, attract hummingbirds or walk the boardwalks of Kohler-Andre. They have private money. Let them buy property from private realtors. It would be unseemly of them to dupe reactionary politicians out of public land for private purposes..

  18. Patricia Adams says:

    Adding another idea-as a Milwaukean who loat over 100 of my friends and a 5yr long roommate and nearly died myself of the crypto disease caused by the poop plume that came from overly fertilized Lake Michigan despoiled by factory farm runoff from north of us, I don’t want to see the obvious and necessary fertilizer runoff from maintenancing greens so close TO MY WATER SOURCE!!! There should be NO PIECE OF CRAP-FOR THE RICH GOLF COURSE BUILT ON OUR PRECIOUS SOURCE OF DRINKING WATER!!! We need to stop the mentally deranged and slow-morons from running the working class and the environment INTO A MORASS OF GREEN ALGAE. ON A FUNNIER NOTE-one of your rightist-replys stated that we are a capitalist society, as if all capital formative actions are right, good, and necessary. The planet is constantly changing. Human endeavors, change and morph. Fascist rightists always insist on keeping things static in order to protect their vested interest. The job of futuristic progressives, is to knock them down. Progressive Women, rise. Of course. Strict land-use planning better be in our future, as precious water depends on it.

  19. Thomas says:

    There are some thoughtful and well informed posts on this issue that make me ask this question: What can we do now to discourage the selling of parts of this park for a golf course? We should act before the bulldozers get there.

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