Park Owner Will Preserve Indian Mounds

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May 12, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

A co-owner of a Wisconsin campground that, local historians say, is home to the Ross Lake Indian Mounds said she wants to respect and preserve the site, the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reported

Sharon Rose and her estranged husband, Robb, own Deer Trail Park Campground, 13846 Highway Z, Nekoosa. Rose said she didn't know Ho-Chunk officials and local historians were trying to reach her regarding the mounds.

"In fact, I thought it would be nice if there were fences or something around them to protect them," she said.

American Indian mounds have specific cultural meanings based on their shape and placement, said Jay Toth, Ho-Chunk Nation archeologist. He compared the use of the site to setting up a campground in a cemetery. American Indian mounds often were used for rituals or burials or other significant cultural purposes.

The mounds are 800 to 1,000 years old, Toth said. Although there is no way to replace what people have destroyed, there still is enough of the mounds left to preserve. When handled correctly, the mounds can be protected and increase tourism, Toth said.

Rose moved to the campground and took over its operation about a year ago. Before that time, her husband was managing the business.

"Mostly, where the mounds are are seasonal campers," she said. "They know they're not to drive over them or put anything on them."

Rose said when she and her husband bought the Deer Trail Park Campground in April 1994, they weren't told anything about the historic sites on the property.

"It was really after the fact that we found out there were effigy mounds," she said.

Ron Harris, a local historian, sent Sharon and Robb Rose a packet of information about the Indian mounds on their property in early 2010. He said he didn't get a response.

Rose took over management of the property in May 2010, about three months after Harris sent out the material.

After Rose heard Harris and members of the Ho-Chunk were trying to contact her about the mounds on the property, she said she would work with the groups. Last week, she sent Harris an email in which she said she'd be happy to discuss the mounds with him. She promised to make time in early June to talk about the situation.

Harris said he is pleased Rose is willing to work with him and Ho-Chunk officials to preserve the Ross Lake Indian Mounds. He has been working for more than a year to form a local historical site commission to protect sites such as the Indian mounds.

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