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Wisconsin to Start Third Phase of Selling DNR Lands


Wisconsin has listed more than 10,000 acres of land up for sale.

The idea didn’t come from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or from the Natural Resources Board, either. It seems this move is political and was brought by legislation and supported by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

The legislators forcing the issue were upset by the amount of land and the cost it was incurring. Costs arise from having to pay interest to issue state bonds used to purchase more land. The money raised from bonds goes into the state land fund known as the Knowles/Nelson Stewardship Fund. However, when the bonds mature, state general-purpose revenue in the form of sales and income taxes pays out the amount due.

There are advantages to using the tax revenues in the future years, allowing future generations to benefit from the public land use numbering over 30,000 acres. Of that public land, 92% is open to hunting and 97% is open to public fishing. So, to some, the idea of selling the lands is mind-boggling. Those against the sale state that the land will be in shorter supply, and therefore more valuable, in the future. They also argue that it will provide recreation opportunities to those who cannot afford to purchase land, and public land is vital to the recruitment of new hunters and anglers.

Those who support the sale claim the state owns too much and the interest expense is too large. Looking at this FAQ, you can see that the cost is half of one percent of the state’s budget, or about one-fifth the amount spent on highways.

The Wisconsin DNR just finished a project to identify the “least valuable” acreage to be put up for sale. These parcels cannot be in established project boundaries (forests, state parks, wildlife areas). The project took three years and identified 10,226 acres.

If you are interested in purchasing land, you can head to


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Wisconsin to Start Third Phase of Selling DNR Lands