Saturday, June 18, 2016

Walker's DNR to sell scores of 'Wildlife' parcels

[Updated] You may remember that the Legislature 'ordered' (wink-wink) a very compliant Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - - the once-proud science-driven public resource steward now managed by Gov. Scott Walker's intentional "chamber of commerce mentality" and supervised by enthusiastic public land-seller and former developer Cathy Stepp - - to put 10,000 acres of public land on the market:
"We have land we can't manage now and we're buying more," Stepp said. "That would be like saying to my husband, ‘We have a house with a really leaky roof, but let's go buy a vacation home.' 
Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp proudly shows off her first deer, taken opening weekend last year. In the upcoming TV Special "Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2012, Stepp urges male hunters to take more girls and women hunting. "The secret's out," she says. "Hunting is a lot of fun, so don't keep it to yourselves."  photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR
Her first deer kill. "Exciting and exhilarating." WI DNR photo
The Legislature also gave Walker the authority to sell any state asset - - even the Capitol building; the land sales activate the GOP's small government ideology, put some symbolic dollars back into the treasury and its $66 billion-dollar biennial budget and create some positive spin for self-serving news releases.

And offer an opportunity to please insiders and even Walker donors - - though that part blew up in the last DNR public land clearance sale.

Anyway, a new land sale list came out last week, and the Journal Sentinel has pointed out three key Southeast Wisconsin, including one in Waukesha County and another in Ozaukee County.

*  This 30+ acre parcel is labeled "SCATTERED WILDLIFE" in the DNR evaluation record.

*  This 87+ acre parcel in Waukesha County at the Dodge County border is labeled "EXTENSIVE WL HABITAT."

These are typical acreage amounts and designations on the list, and I'm guessing that there will be potential sprawl and special-interest opportunities in other parcels to the south, north and west which will look even juicer:

*  Here is a 69+ acre site in Barron County labeled "EXTENSIVE WILDLIFE" - - though some are larger and others are smaller - - and some properties are listed as "Fisheries Management" or were gifted to the state.

*  One large gifted parcel which the DNR wants to sell totals 264 acres in Sawyer County abutting Weirgor Springs Wildlife Area.

*  Here's another - -  a 29+ acre gift site proposed for sale - - the Frederic Tower Site, in Polk County, abutting Straight Lake Wilderness State Park. That's a relatively new such state park described with majestic language in this 2005 news story:
Across the glistening lake, the trees are just starting their annual fall ritual. Hues of gold, orange and amber stand stark against the sea of green. A hawk flies tall over the tree-lined horizon, and along the shore, a deer stoops to drink from cool, clear water. 
The scene is picturesque, almost unreal. This bit of nature is raw and untouched - so rare in these days of paved expanses and sprawling buildings - and it lies within the state's borders. 
This is Straight Lake State Wilderness State Park in northwest Wisconsin, the state's newest addition to its extensive park system.
The park, about 12 miles north of St. Croix Falls in Polk County, was added to the rolls in April 2005 after the purchase of the park's southern half was approved. The purchase of the park's northern half, which is designated as a wildlife area, is expected to be complete late in October...
"This is a real asset to the area and the state as a whole," said Sam Herbertson of Amery, a runner who traverses the park's trails once a week. "This is paradise...."
State officials envision that the park will primarily be used for silent sports: hunting, fishing, primitive camping, hiking and non-motorized boating.
The DNR land sales list posting does not indicate whether gifted parcels originated with individuals, corporations, non-profits or other units of government.

*  Parcels in Racine and Jefferson Counties are heavily represented on the list - - like this 100+ acre Fisheries Management parcel close to the Wind Lake Fishery Area in Racine County.

* And this 61+ acre site in Jefferson County near a Wetlands Reserve and the Glacial Drumlin State Trail.

The DNR's governing Natural Resources, dominated by Walker appointees, has the final say on each proposed sale parcel.


College Drop Out Governor said...

This is how Walker is going to reward the state's largest polluters - by giving them pristine pieces of land with ecosystems and wildlife that they haven't ruined. The rest of us can eat cake.

Unknown said...

Don't these gifts come with strings? If I or my ancestor donated this land I'd be pretty unhappy. If the WDNR doesn't want it anymore fine, give it back.