LETTER: Evers handed the keys of our lakeshore to incompetent feds

To Ozaukee Press:

 We who live, work and play on the Wisconsin lakeshore love our lake. It supplies the water we drink and brings cooling summer breezes. We fish, paddle, swim, dive and sail on and in it. We camp in state parks at its edge. Our museums honor the ships and sailors who lived and died there—back in the day when shipping meant ships, not UPS trucks, back when every harbor town was a sanctuary from winter storms.      

Yet in 2017 we were informed that we must cede control of much of our lakebed, up to the high water line, to create a federal shipwreck sanctuary and that Wisconsin needed the help of a federal agency to track down and deal with undocumented beachcombers, fishermen and divers who may threaten our shipwrecks.  

Beaches, like air and water, the ideologues told us, should be managed by federal experts, not state or county amateurs, and certainly not by ignorant local landowners. After all, beaches and seabeds belong to the people, meaning the federal collective, not Wisconsin or Wisconsinites.  

They sweetened the pot. Unlike the state, they could print money. This would be Wisconsin’s chance to get more of that federal grant action, for tourism, of course, before that well runs dry.

Wisconsin citizens in 2017, however, weren’t selling. Gov. Scott Walker, knowing that local and state control beats federal, and no doubt recognizing the incompetence of federal agencies soon to be illustrated by federal failure on our southern border, nixed the deal. Local bureaucrats wept, but many of us chalked up a win for Wisconsin.  

Not for long, however. As the Legislature had neglected to require that all federal land and water grabs be approved by our representatives, Gov. Tony Evers in 2021, unlike Walker,  simply handed over the keys of our lakeshore to Washington.

The moral of the story? States die like trees, from the top down, branch by branch, not with a bang but a whimper.

Art DeJong
Editor’s note: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced in June that a 962-square-mile area of Lake Michigan along the coasts of Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties has been designated as the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast Marine Sanctuary.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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