Kohler-Andrae State Park

From Encyclopedia of Wisconsin Environmental History
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kohler-Andrae State Park is located in Wilson, Wisconsin, just north of Sheboygan. It is two separate parks, the Andrae State Park and the Kohler State Park, which are managed as one unit. The Andrae State Park was established in 1927 and the Kohler State Park was established in 1966. The two parks combined are just under one-thousand acres in size. [1] It's terrain consists of sand dunes, long beaches, river marsh, and hardwood and pine forests all overlooking Lake Michigan. It is open all year round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., but also allow for overnight stays. [2]


In 1966, the Kohler Company donated 280 acres of land to the state of Wisconsin to be used for parks. The land was donated as a memorial to John Michael Kohler, who was the founder of the Kohler company. The Kohler company is the second biggest plumbing industry in the nation and is the leading industry in the county of Sheboygan. The other part of the park, Terry Andrae State Park, was donated in 1927 by Mrs. Andrae after the death of her husband. With the donation of the land, the Andrae family also donated their two-story house that overlooks Lake Michigan. The majority of the land is forest and is known as the "pine dunes" since Mrs. Andrae had a strong interest in horticulture and botany and reforested all the land before she donated it. Years later, the state of Wisconsin purchased 600 acres which brings the park up to about one thousand acres.[3]


Water Activities

As mentioned before, Kohler-Andrae State Park is located right along Lake Michigan so it is a great place for water activities. People are allowed to go boating at the park even though there is no boat ramp to put boats in the water. However, there is one nearby. In the park, there is also two and a half miles of beaches which provide a lot of room for swimming. The park also rents out kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats. Fishing is allowed both on Lake Michigan and in the pond inside the park. [4]


There are eight different trails in the park totaling roughly 9 miles in length. They are all used for separate activities including horseback riding, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Pets are allowed on the majority of the trails but not all of them. The different trail types are open, wooded, flat, and tracked. [5]

Picnic Area

In the campground, there is a large picnic area. The picnic area offers a variety of different things for visitors to do. At the picnic area, there are grills for cooking out. Located at the picnic area is also a playground for younger kids to play on. For team activities, there is a softball field and a volleyball court for the guests to enjoy. [6]


There are 139 different camp sites in the park some of which are available for winter camping. There are 135 family campsites, two group sites with a capacity of fifty people combined, one tepee, and one cabin for campers with disabilities. Out of all the sites, 68 of them offer electrical hookups. Each family campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring. These sites are set up to accommodate a maximum of six people. The family site is limited to one wheeled unit for sleeping and two vehicles per site. The campsites do not have hookups for water or sewer usage. However, there are bathrooms, dump stations, and water fill-up stations throughout the park. The cabin for campers with disabilities has a lot of different amenities from air conditioning to an automated hospital bed. The cabin can accommodate a maximum of six people at a time and can only be rented out for four nights in a year. The cabin also comes with a campfire ring and has a screened-in porch. [7] [8]

Nature Center

Sanderling Nature Center is located on the northern end of the park surrounded by the dunes and overlooking Lake Michigan. It is open May 1st to October 31st every day between the hours of 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Nature Center has several interesting exhibits that teach guests about the park. There are exhibits teaching about the parks history, wildflowers, taxidermy of animals in the park, surrounding Great Lake fisheries, and other exhibits for visitors to view. The also have live plant and animal exhibits during the season. In the center there is also an auditorium where they often host guest speakers and programs. In the auditorium, they often use the projector to show movies, photos, and other educational things. Another great feature of the Nature Center is an observation deck that is located on top of the building. It shows a panorama of Lake Michigan and also has mounted binoculars for people to get a better view. [9]

Golf Course Controversy

The Kohler Company, known for producing faucets and toilets, has proposed building a golf course that would use some of the land that is currently part of Kohler-Andrae State Park. The golf course is estimated by the Kohler Company to be about 247 acres in size. The proposed location of the golf course is in an undeveloped area called the Black River Forest, which is south of Sheboygan, Wisconsin.[1] The Wisconsin DNR unanimously approved the building of the golf course. The Wisconsin DNR agreed to give the Kohler Company a parcel of land in exchange for the Kohler Company giving about nine acres of their privately owned land adjacent to Kohler-Andrae for the park to use. Jim Bucholz, the former Kohler-Andrae State Park superintendent, claimed that the parcel of land that the Kohler company was willing to give to the park was a flat land that had very few trees. Bucholz also claimed that the land that the Kohler Company wanted was land that was not being used by the park. However, as Bucholz also points out, less than eight percent of state parks should have buildings, parking lots, etc. built on them. [2] The plan also calls for a two acre easement into Kohler-Andrae State Park so traffic of vehicles going to the golf course can get to the parking lot. The current proposed path to the proposed golf course would cut through what is currently part of the park. [3]

Pro Golf Course

Those that are in support of the golf course cite Whistling Straights and Black Wolf Run as reasons for the golf course being a good idea. Whistling Straights and Black Wolf Run, both owned by the Kohler Company have brought in money for the businesses of Sheboygan County whenever a professional golf tournament comes through. [4]

Anti Golf Course

People that are against the golf course being built cite that the golf course will only benefit the wealthy few while harming the natural resources of the park and affecting the properties of people that live nearby. Opponents of the golf course also bring up the slippery slope that may ensue if the Kohler Company is allowed to build another golf course by using some of a state park. If a private company can buy five acres of a park, like the Kohler Company is proposing, what is to stop them or any other private company from attempting to buy parts of city, state, or national parks for economic gain? The Kohler-Andrae State Park is one of the few state parks along Lake Michigan. The opponents of the golf course fear that soon there will be no state park along Lake Michigan. [5]


  1. "History," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, last revised October, 17, 2014, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/kohlerandrae/history.html
  2. "Kohler-Andrae State Park," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, last revised April, 20, 2017, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/kohlerandrae/
  3. "History," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, last revised October, 17, 2014, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/kohlerandrae/history.html
  4. "Activities and Recreation," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, last revised February, 16, 2016, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/kohlerandrae/todo.html
  5. "Trail Descriptions," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, last revised October, 17, 2014, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/kohlerandrae/trails.html
  6. "Kohler-Andrae State Park, WI," Reserve America, accessed May 2, 2017, https://wisconsinstateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/kohlerandrae-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=WI&parkId=60021
  7. "Kohler-Andrae State Park," Travel Wisconsin, 2017, https://www.travelwisconsin.com/state-parks-forests/kohler-andrae-state-park-204115
  8. "Camping and Reservations," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, last revised July 28, 2015, http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/kohlerandrae/camping.html
  9. "Sanderling Nature Center," Friends of Kohler-Andrae State Park, 2008, http://www.friendsofkohler-andrae.com/Sanderling%20Ctr..htm

10."Kohler Golf Course Proposal," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Date last revised February 16, 2018. https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/eia/kohler.htm

11."Guest View: Kohler golf course could set precedent making any state park fair game," Sheboygan Press, Date last revised December 15, 2017. https://www.sheboyganpress.com/story/opinion/2017/12/15/guest-view-kohler-golf-course-could-set-precedent-making-any-state-park-fair-game/955477001/

12."DNR Approves Kohler Co. Golf Course Land Swap in 5-1 Vote," Wisconsin Public Radio, Date last revised February 28, 2018. https://www.wpr.org/dnr-approves-kohler-co-golf-course-land-swap-5-1-vote

13."Kohler Golf Course One Step Closer to Construction, Park Land Swap Ok'd," WUWM 89.7 Milwaukee's NPR, Date last revised February 28, 2018. http://wuwm.com/post/kohler-golf-course-one-step-closer-construction-park-land-swap-okd#stream/0

Article History

Format: [[username1]] (YY-MM-DD); [[username2]] (YY-MM-DD); [[username3]] (YY-MM-DD)
For example: voelkerd (2015-10-12)