11/29/17 – The Beaver Dam Lake Development Corporation and local duck hunters are at odds over the use of Skunk Island. Mayor Becky Glewen called a meeting with the lake group Tuesday night to discuss a 2011 decision by the non-profit to prohibit public access to the island on Beaver Dam Lake, except by special request. The island had been used for hunting for five decades prior to the vote. The Lake Development Corporation has owned Skunk Island since it was deeded to the group by the now defunct Beaver Dam Lake Fishermen’s Club 20-years ago.
Corporation Chairman Scott Rasmussen says the island has been used at times over the years as a storage location for expensive aeration equipment used in the winter to maintain the health of the lake, resulting in improvements like electrical service and sheds. Rasmussen says the lake group has concerns about liability issues and notes issues including hunters camping and building blinds on the island without permission, sometimes resulting in a chaos.
The use of the island may come down to the relationship between the city and the Development Corporation. Duck hunter Jay Vanden Boogart of Beaver Dam says the closing of the island is in direct conflict with the Development Corp’s Articles of Incorporation. Vanden Boogart says the lake group is “100-percent under the direction of the city council” and its assets are meant for public use. Rasmussen says it the Development Corp’s Articles of Incorporation were a general-purpose statement that was not meant to restrict oversight over its assets.
The lake group could remove itself from liability by deeding the island to the city to turn it into a park. Rasmussen cautions that city workers would have to assume the responsibilities of volunteers, the park would be difficult to access by city crews and law enforcement and hunting is not allowed in city parks. Mayor Glewen says there were good points made by both sides and says she plans to sit down with council leadership to plot a course that is in the best interest of everyone. Glewen also said last night that she would be announcing appointments to the Lake Development Corporation by years end.