Members of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board
Members of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board

MADISON- A court decision signed Thursday states that the Governor-appointed Wisconsin Natural Resources Board broke Wisconsin’s open meetings law. Members of the board met for a private dinner on January 26th of 2016. Emails show that DNR managers planned on using the dinner to encourage members to vote in favor of a plan to allow snowmobiles in Blue Mounds State Park.

Steven Verburg with the Wisconsin State Journal reports:

The violation occurred Jan. 26, 2016, the night before the board approved a controversial state Department of Natural Resources plan to allow snowmobiles in a state park known for silent sports such as cross-country skiing.

In a decision signed Thursday, Dane County Circuit Judge John Markson placed responsibility on DNR managers whose emails revealed their plans to use the dinner meeting to defuse any objections board members had in the face of strong public opposition to the Blue Mounds State Park master plan.

“While there may be no evidence in this record of collusion on the part of board members to achieve a specific outcome, there is clear evidence of DNR staff’s intent, action, and motivation to reach board members outside of noticed public settings.”

Read more at the Wisconsin State Journal.