Welcome to Preserve Our Parks

Preserve Our Parks, a nonprofit watchdog group, battles to keep Milwaukee area parks open and green, resists incursions for non-park uses, and fights for funds to properly maintain one of the County’s greatest treasures, its parks system.

POP was founded in 1999 by a group of Milwaukeeans concerned about the future of our public parks, green spaces and the lakefront. Over the years, we had seen our parks nibbled by sales, leases and easements. We'd seen public policies on parks grow lenient. We'd seen our parks invaded by non-park, non-public purposes.

Find out more about Preserve Our Parks!

POP battles to uphold Public Trust Doctrine

Preserve Our Parks not only serves to protect parkland but is the only group in Southeastern Wisconsin that strives to protect the tenets of the Public Trust Doctrine. 

The public trust doctrine holds that certain natural resources belong to all and cannot be privately owned or controlled because of their intrinsic value to each individual and society.  While water resources protected under the doctrine may not be monopolized by private entities, they nevertheless face great strains today from private use and misuse. 

Although we lost our battle regarding Downtown Transit Center, we feel we know we had the factual evidence to prove our arguements and win in a court of law. It was only due to State legislation that inflicted a fictitious former shoreline at the site that forced the defeat.  The State Legislature should be ashamed as it is their responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens in regard to the public trust.


Current Issues

The Park System's financial troubles: their share of the county tax levy fell from 31% to 9.9% between 1980 and 2000, and park staffs were cut by two-thirds. And the downward trend has continued. Economies have included fee increases, pool closings, elimination of lifeguards, no more stocking of fish in lagoons.

Alarmed by the number of building projects once planned for Milwaukee's lakefront, POP spearheaded opposition and succeeded in quashing several of them.  The projects lacked coordination and there was myopia about the paving, parking, car congestion and visual mishmash they'd produce -- not to me