Forest Tax Law Lands Open to Public Recreation
Wisconsin's forest tax laws encourage sustainable forest management on private lands by providing a property tax incentive to landowners. Some of these privately held forest lands also allow for public access for recreation. To legally access these lands for the authorized recreational uses, you need to know which program the land is enrolled in.
Managed Forest Law (MFL)
Lands enrolled under the Managed Forest Law program as “open” to public access allow for hunting, fishing, hiking, sight-seeing, and cross-country skiing.
Forest Crop Law (FCL)
Lands enrolled under the Forest Crop Law program allow for public hunting and fishing.
Both tax laws require that all hunting and fishing follow the DNR hunting and fishing seasons and regulations.
How do I know which tax law lands are open to public recreation?
- To view the open tax law lands, you can use the Private Forest Lands Open for Public Recreation web mapping application, which is now mobile-friendly.
- You can also use the open lands listings. A list of open land is created in March of each year. The list shows legal descriptions only. You may need to reference county plat books to identify ownership boundaries, roads, rivers, lakes, and other physical land features. Plat books can be purchased from your county clerk, directly from the publisher, or are available at public libraries.
MFL Open Lands Listing:
FCL Open Lands Listing:
To order a hard copy of the open lands listings, please use the Open Land Listing Order Form (form 2450-190) [PDF]. Please allow 3-4 weeks for mail delivery.
More precise locations of the lands enrolled in parts of a legal description are shown in maps recorded at the register of deeds office or at local DNR offices.
DNR Foresters can answer questions about the MFL and FCL programs and provide you with more precise maps. You can use the Forestry Assistance Locator to find the DNR Forester(s) who has responsibility for each county.
If you are a landowner who owns MFL-closed lands, non-MFL lands, or non-FCL lands, and you suspect the public is trespassing on your property, contact the local sheriff’s department or other local law enforcement agency. Conservation Wardens do not have the authority to investigate trespassing complaints.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please select a category:
Activities allowed on MFL-Open and FCL lands
Finding information about the location of MFL-Open and FCL lands
Accessing MFL-Open and FCL lands
Signage of MFL-Open and FCL lands
Hunting on MFL-Open and FCL lands
Leasing of MFL lands
FAQs: Leasing of MFL lands
|Can I lease MFL lands for hunting or recreation?|
|Why are landowners who are enrolled in MFL not allowed to lease their lands to hunters?|
|I would like to give the landowner a gift for allowing me to hunt on their property. Am I in violation of the MFL program's leasing prohibition?|
|When would a gift received from a hunter be in violation of the MFL program's leasing prohibition?|