Saturday, February 14, 2015

Walker budget turns over forest health to the loggers

The State of Wisconsin gives forest owners a tax break if they open their land to public uses, like hunting, hiking and fishing. And if the owners want to log that land, the Wisconsin DNR reviews the plan. It's an obvious and fair trade-off.

The trade-off keeps some money in the land owners' pockets while protecting the health of the forest, and also the health of streams, lakes and wildlife habitat when logging equipment is moved in and trees are taken out.

But as part of his broad plan to strip public input and scientific analysis from the DNR and its activities, Scott Walker wants to distance the agency and its public-interest mission from these logging plan reviews because the loggers don't like paperwork.

All the land owner would have to do to automatically win state logging permission would be to hire a private logging planner who'd participated in a state forest management program.

And the DNR is under orders to sell 10,000 of state land, with DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp leading the charge, so look to more logging on both former public land and in forests that comes with a tax break.

So a year or two from now, when you go to your favorite hiking trail or fishing hole in those subsidized woods, but find a clear cut or mud and stumps in the water, feel free to ask the owner pretty-please to fix any damage.

So far, no one is suggesting the recipients of the forest land tax break pee in a cup to keep the entitlement coming.


Anonymous said...

Does this make sense? Do bears crap in the woods?

Griffin Brown said...

Have you even looked into the facts of this? Please read this:

You will find that your nightmare scenario of clearcuts and whatnot are not founded in reality.