|Paradise in quiet, low-profile Wisconsin region|
Genuine pride for many is a place to have the grand-kids over in the summer at small lake houses among the many waters dotting the region.
Golf, restaurants, trails, recreational centers, the area is among the least-known treasures of Wisconsin.
Lake Arrowhead in Adams County is an anthology, termed a "hidden gem" in a region where the paper mills and mill workers used to dominate the economy and culture.
Citizen groups are calling for protection and cultivation of the natural resources to fill in the void left by a paper industry that is but a shadow of past decades.
Venal hi jinx at the Wisconsin capitol by the local state legislator will not stop a growing citizens' movement from promoting their community, a common effort right as Scott Walker and Republicans remove state money from the state park system and call for higher fees in the last budget, (Dee J. Hall).
By Bob Benkowski, Don Ystad, John Endrizzi, Rick Antin, Rick Georgeson, and Steve Raap
Listening to the families interviewed on this clip included below, we are reminded that many of us have spent 30 years or more enjoying the Rome lakes, and have retired here in this beautiful community of lakes and recreation. We appreciate our area and hope for many more years of enjoyment here. At the risk of being a "downer", we want to share a couple other things that come to mind, the "elephant in the room", so to speak.
First, are you aware that 3 of our 4 lakes in Rome are on the state's impaired list because of pollutants in the water? In the case of Lakes Arrowhead and Sherwood, it's the high levels of algae attributable to phosphorous, quite probably from upstream sources. Even worse in Lake Petenwell, where heavy metals from upstream sources also add to water issues.
Second, are you aware that a 5,300 cow dairy CAFO is being proposed next door in Saratoga? If you've followed the news, then you know of the contamination of drinking water wells in Kewaunee, nitrate levels nearly 8 times the state and federal level across the Petenwell in Armenia, all related to dairy CAFOs. Probably, you've also read about the lakes and streams decimated by high capacity wells in Almond, Plainfield, Hancock, and Plover, among others. You do know that 33 high capacity wells are being proposed with the CAFO next door in Saratoga, and that nearly 1,500 of your own drinking water wells are within it's cone of depression? And maybe you read this week that a spill at a dairy CAFO in Fennimore spewed a 2 mile stream of cow manure down a local waterway. The proposed CAFO in Saratoga will produce 55 million gallons of manure annually. [Verburg, Wisconsin State Journal; Larson, WKOW-TV]
Tourism PR people don't like to talk about this. But, if you value Rome and the recreational aspects as we do, you can love and promote the Rome area and still work towards protecting what we all have here. Petenwell is addressing their issues through PACRS (Petenwell and Caste Rock Stewards). We can take an active role in Rome to protect our other 3 lakes, Arrowhead, Sherwood and Camelot, through more citizen involvement with our TriLakes Management Association in their efforts to get more involved in corrective action (trilakesmanagement.com). Also, with pressure on our town government to help clean up our lakes for the issues we know about today. An even bigger issue is the proposed CAFO next door, which could foul our lakes and our air, reduce stream flow affecting lake levels, and pollute our drinking water. As we approach the DNR's Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and permitting process, we all need to be involved by attending the public hearing when the EIS comes out, and by contacting agencies and politicians now about our concerns for the future of our area.
So, in summary, what can citizens like you do?
- Watch the video. Let it remind you of what we have here
- Contact TriLakes and let them know you want to help clean up and protect our lakes (trilakesmanagement.com) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact our town board and let them know you want them actively
involved in protecting our recreational assets here McLaughlin@romewi.com
- Contact state agency heads and politicians in advance of the EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] of a proposed massive industrialized factory farm (CAFO)] and let them know you expect their help in protecting our recreational area from the proposed CAFO (from CC: above)