David Stanfield, University of Wisconsin
Situation: The “Friends of Blue Mounds State Park” during the past 10 years have raised private funds totaling almost $900,000 for improvements to the park, such as roads, community building, children’s pool, and have provided volunteer labor for keeping the park free of fallen timbers and eroding land. The agreement with the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been limiting the uses of the park to silent sports, that is, no snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles.
The local snowmobile clubs have had a trail along two township roads through the park, also for many years. Last year the snowmobile clubs decided to petition the DNR for a new trail through the park’s wooded areas used by the silent sports enthusiasts.
I have encouraged dialogue between these two groups. But more important has been the searching out of personal ties among members linking both groups, including my own ties with both groups since we own property through which the clubs also have a winter trail. I essentially have tried to make the interpersonal communication linkages more complex. Over the past few months people have stopped talking with each other, and I have been trying to find ways to help re-start private conversations about the proposed new trail.