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Let golf courses go back to wetlands -- Will Taylor

January 25, 2019

The Madison public golf courses have run deficits into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for consecutive years, and public interest in the sport is not likely to increase enough to promise a return to self-funding.

Golf is simply not a pastime younger generations are very interested in pursuing en masse, whether it’s due to cost of entry, image of exclusivity, or lack of access to courses. The courses have also run deficits lately due to the increase in rain storms and persistently wet conditions.

Some of the courses, especially the Yahara Hills course in southeast Madison, are in areas where water tends to collect, with many acres of hydric soils and mapped wetlands, according to the Wisconsin Wetland Inventory mapping program.

Because Dane County has announced an $18 million campaign for flood mitigation and wetland protection following the 2018 floods that paralyzed parts of the area, I propose the shortcut of returning one or more of these golf courses to natural prairie, savanna and wetland communities.

These will benefit everyone by providing wildlife habitat, natural recreational spaces, flood mitigation, and aquifer recharge.

Will Taylor, Madison

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