A Dane County Circuit Court judge issued a decision recently that derailed the state’s plan to cut a snowmobile trail through Blue Mound State Park, an area best known for silent sports like cross-country skiing. The ruling came as a win for Attorney Christa Westerberg, who filed suit against the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on behalf of Karl Heil, a former superintendent of the park, and Kenneth Wade, a resident of the village of Blue Mounds.
As the Wisconsin State Journal reported, the judge’s decision marks “the second time courts have found against the [DNR’s] decision to add [a] snowmobile trail” to the park. It also marks the second time the courts have ruled in favor of Westerberg and her clients. In June, Judge John Markson held that the DNR violated the Open Meetings Act when members of its Policy Board voted to approve of the trail’s construction.
The latest decision by Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn holds that the DNR failed to follow its own rules when it added the trail to the park’s master plan. Although neither of the circuit court’s rulings directly forbids the DNR from attempting to add a snowmobile trail to Blue Mound State Park in the future, the most recent ruling ensures DNR will follow the rules to ensure compatible uses in the park if it tries again.