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Not everyone can afford a waterfront house, but that doesn't lessen the desire to feel waves running through your toes, enjoy a sunset over Lake Michigan or explore Lake Superior's unique shoreline.
Coastal communities, state agencies, tribal governments, regional planning commissions, universities and technical schools, non-profit organizations and visitors benefit from WCMP's commitment to provide greater access to the coast.
WCMP helped underwrite costs so the light station in Port Washington, boardwalk at the Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island, and portions of Milwaukee's historic Third Ward riverwalk were more accessible to those in wheelchairs or having other physical disabilities.
Bob Bordeau, parks and recreation director for the City of Sturgeon Bay, credits WCMP funding for improvements at Sunset Park including a walkway, a new retaining wall, sidewalk and new grass at the park as well as supporting purchase of a parcel along the bay south of a shipyard that add 600 feet of shoreline for public use.
Residents of Cornucopia in Bayfield County found WCMP a critical partner in preserving a place of fond memories – a beach where many locals learned how to swim. Ruth Oppedahl of the Bayfield Regional Conservancy says the site along the worn path from Highway 13 to Siskiwit Bay was for sale and locals worried how it would be used. The Conservancy, a land trust, sought ways to keep the land and beach open, Oppedahl recalls. Working with the Town of Bell, they were able to buy the land.
WCMP was a fundamental player that preserved 8 ½ acres of wetlands along with 50 percent funding from the State Stewardship Fund. The sandy beach runs for about two miles west toward Lost Creek. "We gave the property to the town but we retained a conservation easement," Oppedahl says. "Now a new generation can look forward to learning how to swim where their parents once did the same."
Natasha Kassulke is Associate Editor of Wisconsin Natural Resources.