Sportsmen’s project connects people, riverThe St. Croix County Sportsman’s Alliance plans to create one more point of access to the Kinnickinnic River in 2013 with a gravel parking lot and short driveway at a picturesque piece of DNR-owned land at 278 N. River Road in the town of Kinnickinnic.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
The St. Croix County Sportsman’s Alliance plans to create one more point of access to the Kinnickinnic River in 2013 with a gravel parking lot and short driveway at a picturesque piece of DNR-owned land at 278 N. River Road in the town of Kinnickinnic.
Visitors to the two-acre piece of property must park on the side of the road, but the SA’s project will produce a 70-foot by 100-foot gravel parking area and short driveway.
Kyle Kulow, a watershed specialist with the St. Croix County Land and Water Conservation office, also serves as volunteer president for the county’s Sportsman’s Alliance.
His job has led to him working in the Kinnickinnic and Willow River watersheds, with a focus on surface-water protection.
Kulow said the process to create the lot involves skimming the top foot or so of dirt from the parking area, filling it with a mixture of rock, gravel and limestone screenings then compacting the surface.
The parking area will be shaped and outlined by large limestone boulders. Kulow said large trees on the site will remain.
He agrees the idea is to create a safe place to pull off the road while people visit the picturesque open space.
A little red cabin on the property will eventually be sold and moved or razed.
Kulow said the project fits SA’s criteria, one of which is enhancing access to public open spaces. The Alliance, for example, has established boat landings; installed oxygenation systems at Baldwin Pine, Bass, Hatfield and Squaw lakes; hosted educational activities for kids; and sponsors two scholarships for high school seniors planning to study environmental science in college.
The Sportsman’s Alliance formed about 50 years ago and started out as prairie enthusiasts who raised pheasants then released them.
Kulow said though some members still do that, SA lost its brooding houses in New Richmond when the state rebuilt Hwy. 64.
Kulow said the group of county residents has about 10 core members and meets every other month -- it has a president, vice president and combination secretary and treasurer.
Members come from other outdoor-oriented organizations such as the Willow River and Hudson Rod and Gun Clubs, Star Prairie Fish and Game, Prairie Enthusiasts from Hudson, and individuals from St. Croix County.
SA club charges no dues but holds an annual banquet, Kulow said, “Each year we have one fundraising event,” adding that lots of outdoor enthusiasts support SA through that event.
SA uses the money raised toward one project a year that relates to conservation and/or public-land access.
Kulow says the Land and Water Conservation Department is typically eligible for about $2,000 in state grant money each year to go toward conservation-aids, which may include “several types of fish and game projects.” St. Croix County traditionally matches the grant.
Kulow said, “We typically have $4,000 to spend on a project that is fisheries or wildlife or related to public access.”
He said the grants have not yet been approved for the 2013 local Kinni-access project, but expectations are favorable that they will be.
SA collaborates with members, supporters, like-minded groups and individuals in the county to identify needed projects.
Kulow says SA tries to “be cognizant of all areas” in the large county.
Several of the SA members also either serve or have served on the volunteer Wisconsin Conservation Congress for District 2. He said that the group brings local concerns to Madison.
Kulow said, “We try to provide feedback to the legislature and DNR.”
SA also encourages tree planting at every opportunity. It owns and uses tree planters that are stored at the county and may be rented.
Kulow said the SA also offers access to a buckthorn-eradication specialist who can advise and counsel people regarding the invasive-species tree.
Those interested to learn more about the Sportsmen’s Alliance can contact Kulow via email: Kyle Kulow.