Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Conserving Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conserve one of the last large areas of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline in southeast Wisconsin so that people from across the state can enjoy free and open access to the outdoors. You and our entire community including City of Port Washington, Town of Grafton, and Ozaukee County have spoken clearly, have given generously to back up your words of support, and demonstrated our community’s conservation values. Thanks to you, we are in a position to succeed and conserve this special place, forever. However, the Knowles Nelson Stewardship grant currently being withheld by the State of Wisconsin’s Joint Committee on Finance is the missing piece of the puzzle to make Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs a reality. Moreover, it has become increasingly clear that the Joint Committee on Finance is in no hurry to release our grant, originally awarded for $2.3 million. The committee seems content to let our project “die on the vine.” Our partners at Ozaukee County have secured grants from very competitive national conservation programs; however, these competitive grants are set to expire in three months. You can bet there are other communities across the U.S. that would receive these funds with open arms. Wisconsin's loss could be California or Florida's gain. We need to begin a contingency fundraising effort should the Joint Committee on Finance remain uncooperative in approving our grant. We were encouraged to hear there are informal conversations being had by Ozaukee County to commit additional funds to this project so that our communities and the Wisconsinites and tourists who flock to our community can enjoy access to 131 acres of open space and amazing Lake Michigan views, forever. In the same can-do spirit, the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Board of Directors has committed our organization to fundraise another $500,000 of local support to guarantee we are able to complete this project on time. Time is running out on our project and we need to once again demonstrate our community's continued generosity and commitment to Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs. You, our amazing members of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust have already raised $1 million towards the purchase of Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs. We are not going to let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity slip away. Can you give more today to keep this project alive?
P.S. We're not giving up on a positive outcome on our Knowles Nelson grant. We are grateful for the bipartisan coalition of legislators who support this project and believe that we can still succeed in securing our grant. We just don't know when or if our grant will be released. You can still make your voice heard!
More details about the situation have been in the media. Please see the following recent articles.