Private Forest LandsOpen for Public Recreation
Did you know that the public can access open Managed Forest Law (MFL) and other privately-held forested land for hunting and other recreational purposes? Find out which lands are publicly accessible through the new Wisconsin DNR mobile-friendly web mapping application (use your mobile phone or tablet in addition to your laptop or desktop computer to find out where you can recreate on private lands).
All hunting and fishing needs to follow the DNR hunting and fishing seasons and regulations.
Wisconsin Forest Tax Laws
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 appropriate recreational opportunities you need to know which program the land is enrolled in.
The Managed Forest Law (MFL) program is “open” to public access and allows for hunting, fishing, hiking, sight-seeing and cross-country skiing on lands designated as MFL-Open.
The Forest Crop Law (FCL) program only allows for public hunting and fishing.
Do I need permission to access MFL-Open and FCL lands?
No, you don’t need permission from the landowner; however, speaking with the landowner is encouraged, especially if the landowner lives near the site or if access is not readily apparent.
All other land uses other than those specifically mentioned here are prohibited unless the landowner gives specific permission.
What if I am denied access to or asked to leave open MFL/FCL lands?
Anyone denied access to or asked to leave open MFL/FCL lands should report that information to the local DNR Forester assigned to the property or you can call the DNR Call Center Toll Free 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463) for contact information.
Will the data improve over time?
Yes, the WI DNR - Division of Forestry is working towards converting an older system to a newer electronic system where more precise locational information can be provided to the public. This will however take a while to complete.