Contact(s): Teague Prichard, DNR Division of Forestry state lands specialist, 608- 264-8883
MADISON -- The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the final proposal from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for a master plan variance that will classify 75 percent of the state's northern forests as forest production areas.
The master plan variance was directed by, and compliant with, Wisconsin Act 55, 2015 Wisconsin Act 358 and 28.04(3). The legislation directs the department to propose a variance to the master plans of all northern state forests, except Governor Knowles State Forest, so that 75 percent of all the land is classified as a forest production area. The DNR is conducting the planning for all the affected state forests simultaneously to gain efficiencies and consistency, and to make engagement and review from interested parties more streamlined, according to Carmen Hardin, DNR Director of Forest Management.
Using public input from previous open houses and comment periods, and additional analysis, DNR staff refined and identified specific land management classification changes for each property, and drafted proposed changes to land management classifications to meet the 75 percent forest production directive.
Northern state forests include: Northern Highland American Legion State Forest; Peshtigo River State Forest; Flambeau River State Forest; Coulee Experimental State Forest; Black River State Forest; and Brule River State Forest. Together these forests account for 451,000 acres of forest in northern Wisconsin. Currently 66 percent of the lands are designated for forest production.
Public comments, and a response to comments received during the first phase of public review, along with maps and revised documents for the northern forests land classification variance can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "master planning," and then click on the links for "Northern State Forests".
All of the documents and associated maps will be available at the open houses that will be held:
The documents and maps will also be available for review during open office hours that will be held:
In addition to submitting comments at the open houses and open office hours, people can fill out online surveys or submit comments by email through the master planning pages for the properties. The public comment period runs through Feb. 27, 2017.