From Military Facility to Green Space: The Amazing Transformation of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant
Tuesday, January 5, 2021 | 6-7:30pm
at the Sauk Prairie River Arts Center (105-9th St, Prairie du Sac)
“Restoring the Sauk Prairie, A Story of Hope and Healing”
In 1997, when the U.S. Army announced the decommissioning of the 7,400-acre Badger Army Ammunition Plant located between Sauk City and Baraboo, a group of conservation-minded citizens joined forces to actively promote a “green vision” for the property. That group of citizens and local organizations evolved into what is now the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance.
In 2001, a formal document, the “Badger Reuse Plan,” adopted by the 21 stakeholders in the Badger Reuse Committee, outlined a conservation-oriented future for the Badger Lands. The newest “state park,” the 3,400-acre Sauk Prairie State Recreation Area managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, is being developed and will provide recreational opportunities for all. The new Great Sauk State Trail is now open to bikers and hikers through the Badger Lands. This is all possible due to the dedicated efforts of those visionary citizens two decades ago.
This recently updated video documentary tells the story of this amazing transformation of a military complex into a public green space through the voices of diverse stakeholders in the process. The 30-minute video, “Restoring the Sauk Prairie, A Story of Hope and Healing” was originally produced in 2018 to celebrate the Alliance’s 20th anniversary; the video was updated in 2019.
“Of Connection and Renewal: The Historic Apple Trees of the Badger Army Ammunition Plant” is a short (8 minutes) video produced by the Alliance in 2018 about the “historic apples” of the Badger Lands.
Immediately following the engagement of the US in World War II (December 1941), the Army removed 80 farm families from the Sauk Prairie and converted 7,400 acres into a massive munitions plant, the Badger Army Ammunition Plant. All of the farmers’ homes, barns, and outbuildings were removed. All that remained on the premises were a number of apple trees planted by the farmers and their predecessors years before. DNR biologist Mike Mossman discovered the “historic apple trees” of Badger in 1998, trees that survived WWII! In the intervening years, these trees have been located, mapped and are now being preserved and propagated to memorialize the original Sauk Prairie farmers and their descendants.