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Natural Resources Board approves 56,000 acre conservation easement in the Northwoods

Map of conservation easement presented to the Natural Resources Board
Wisconsin DNR
Wisconsin DNR
Map of conservation easement presented to the Natural Resources Board

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board wants more clarity on access and signage as it goes ahead with a 56,000 acre forest conservation easement in the Northwoods.

Much of the easement would cover land in eastern Oneida County, with portions in Langlade County and Forest County as well.

DNR Real Estate Section Chief Jim Lemke explained the total cost of the easement would be $15.5 million.

“$10,884,000 is being financed by a national forest legacy grant, which this property had to compete with on a national scale for those dollars.  It ranked second in priority nationwide as a priority for using forest legacy dollars.  $600,000 will be donated by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, with the remaining $4,028,000 being financed with Knowles Nelson Stewardship monies,” said Lemke.

Natural Resources Board members such as board chair Greg Kazmierski wanted to have more clarity about access to the property.

“I get a lot of concerns from people even on the last few easements we bought.  They don’t know where they can go.  They can’t get answers from the wardens.  They can’t get answers from the forester… foresters are telling them they can’t go places that they really legally can.  So there needs to be some clarity on those roads, especially on parcels of this size,” said Kazmierski. 

DNR Secretary Preston Cole agreed to come back to the board in 60 days to allow time to develop an access and signage plan.

More information will also be put together on forest management for the property.

The board then approved the conservation easement.

John Burton is the WXPR Morning Edition Host.
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