DNR scales back snowmobile patrols
You can consider this Part II of my column on Tuesday.
I wrote about the efforts of your governor, Scott Walker, and his puppet of a Department of Natural Resources head, former state senator Cathy Stepp, planning to sell off state land acquired under the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. The program is designed to buy state land for recreational purposes.
Well, here comes Part II of the proof of the saying that "ignorance is temporary, but stupid is forever." I've got to give credit to Bryan Polcyn, the Channel 6 investigative reporter who brought this move to light.
Stepp, who made being a state senator seem like some heavenly punishment for all the rest of us, has now decided to step into the hot battle over drunken snowmobile drivers who kill people.
When Jim Doyle was governor the DNR set up something called the Snowmobile Accident Reduction Team (SART). SART officers were law enforcement officers with parkas and fast snowmobiles. They patrolled looking for dangerous behavior, including drunks who tried to run over deer and other animals (including an occasional human who strayed into the path).
For several years business owners in the North Woods complained about SART, saying that it hurt the tourism business. Apparently tourists in Minocqua got off on an occasional death committed by a big-horsepower motor on skis.
Now that Stepp has taken over, she's decided to fix things and please all those business owners.
She has ordered that SART stop enforcing snowmobile laws north of Highway 29, which runs from about Green Bay to Eau Claire in the middle of the state.
She says there are more snowmobile deaths south of WIS 29 than north. She must be drinking some kind of spiked Kool-Aid. Last year the count was six deaths in the north and eight in the south. But over the past nine years it's 140 in the northern third and 72 in the rest of Wisconsin.
But Stepp says Walker, in another frenzied moment of lust to enhance his position as fledgling poster boy for the Tea Party, ordered her to cut money from the budget and that she could save $125,000 by her move with SART.
There are some things about what's going on in Madison that I agree with. We really do need to find a way to get a little more revenue and cut waste. I've worked in the capitol and if they are serious about saving money they ought to look inside that building for hundreds of people who do nothing.
But Holy Cow. $125,000 is a drop in the bucket. It's less than a drop in the bucket. It's a drop in Lake Michigan.
Like I said, "ignorance is temporary, stupid is forever."
The logic seems to be: "If snow mobilers are policed, only policemen will be able to drive snowmobiles."
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