Published July 06, 2010, 09:42 AM

Former Badger Army Ammunition Plant site given to DNR

Outdoors News
- A ceremony will be held Friday at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Baraboo as the Army will give just over half of the 73-hundred-acre site to the state DNR.

BARABOO - A ceremony will be held Friday at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Baraboo as the Army will give just over half of the 73-hundred-acre site to the state DNR.

The state will use the land for recreational purposes, and to connect the nearby Devils Lake State Park to the Wisconsin River. But officials say no recreation will be allowed until the Army cleans up the site. The plant’s biggest and most polluted structures are still there. Critics say polluted groundwater continues to spread from the site, although the Army says it has spent a lot to get it under control. The military has spent about $120-million to prepare the land for other uses.

The site used to be the Army’s biggest maker of ammunition. More than 10-thousand people worked there in World War Two. But in 1975, the plant shut down after the Vietnam War ended. The plant’s future was hotly debated – but it was decided a few years ago to split it up for non-military purposes. The Ho-Chunk Nation has about 1,500 acres for raising bison and preserving rare plants. The U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center has about 2,100-hundred acres where cattle are studied. Ellen Pierce of the DNR says the Army will forever be the responsible party for pollution, even if new problems turn up in the future.

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