ACTION ALERT: DNR Land Sales could affect access to trout waters

A message from Linn Beck, WITU Council Chair:


Dear Friend of Wisconsin TU,


Thank all of you for contacting all of the DNR representatives and expressing your concerns on the properties that were proposed to be coming up for sale by the state. The review process on these properties will be coming to an end and the fisheries review board will be presenting their recommendations on the properties that will be offered for sale to the Natural Resources Board. The Natural Resources Board then will review and offer the recommended properties for sale. Unfortunately we will not know these recommendations until they come up for sale which will then be too late.


I cannot express the gravity of this issue. This is a very important time and we still need to voice our opinions on the properties we deem to valuable to be offered for sale. This is the time for us to let the Natural Resources Board know that we really would like these properties to be taken off of the saleable land list. See below for the properties in question, and then there are some talking points to help express the importance of these properties.


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released a list of 118 parcels of land which are currently being reviewed for possible sale. These parcels are being considered due to a state law which requires the Natural Resources Board to make 10,000 acres of non-project land available for sale no later than June 30, 2017. Lands currently proposed for sale are located in 40 counties, and tally approximately 8,300 acres. Of the lands identified, 5,387 acres are proposed for sale to the public. 2,575 acres are proposed for sale to Wisconsin’s counties, or other units of government. Finally, 325.5 acres are proposed for sale to Wisconsin Tribal Nations.


To be plain, the law involved and the disposition of State-owned land is the subject of great debate. That debate is not intended to be solved by this e-mail however, and our members are, as always, free to their opinions.


Several of the parcels proposed for sale, however, pose great concern to Wisconsin Trout Unlimited. First, several spring pond parcels in Langlade County have been proposed for sale. Langlade County has the world’s greatest concentration of spring ponds, and such ponds are destination fisheries for numerous anglers. Such ponds also provide a uniquely accessible opportunity for handicapped anglers.

Here are the file numbers for the properties mentioned in Langlade County: FI 1149, FI 1184, FI 1374, FI 1438, FI 1559, FI 1645, FI 1709, FI 1722, FI 1852, and FI 2135.


Next, lands bordering trout streams in Oconto and Marinette Counties have also been identified for sale. Several of these properties have received stream improvements paid for with trout stamp funds, and with monies from Trout Unlimited.

Here are the file numbers for those properties: Marinette County: FI 813, and Oconto County: FI 285, and FI 287.


And finally, we have parcels located in Vilas and Waushara Counties. These properties all border trout streams and the one in Waushara County has a public access for Lunch Creek.

The file numbers for these properties are: Vilas County: NF38, FO42, & FO94, and Waushara County: FI 2847.


All properties proposed for sale can be viewed at:


Each of the above properties is a part of Wisconsin’s incredibly vibrant trout fishing economy. Recent studies by the American Sportfishing Association, for example, indicate that recreational angling results in an over $2.2 BILLION annual economic impact in Wisconsin, supporting over 21,000 jobs, and resulting in over $145 MILLION in local and state taxes.


Wisconsin Trout Unlimited strongly supports the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources retaining ownership of the subject parcels. Such parcels are important pieces of Wisconsin’s trout and angling economy, and key pieces of Wisconsin’s coldwater resources.


Here are some talking points:


· We the public were mislead as we were told that program lands would not be sold and sales would focus on the out lots or odd parcels.

· The spring ponds are all part of the Statewide Pond program and the other parcels provide key access to important trout water.

· Many of these trout waters have been dredged or improved at costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

· The parcels would most certainly be sold at a net loss.

· And definitely mention the economic impact that trout fishing provides and how selling important fishing resources would negatively impact the fishing economy.


We cannot let this opportunity to express our feelings get away. Please contact Laurie Ross, the Natural Resources Board liaison, either by calling or sending an e-mail.


Laurie Ross




As always, please be polite, be concise, and thank Laurie for her time and service. Please keep in mind that you represent Wisconsin TU, and all those who have done so much work on its behalf.


Thank you for all that you do for Wisconsin TU.


Linn Beck

Wisconsin Trout Unlimited

State council chair