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Real Estate ProgramLand sales
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will make available for sale at least 10,000 acres of land by June 30, 2017 as per 2013 Wisconsin Act 20 and policy and procedures approved by the Natural Resources Board (NRB) at their December 2013 meeting. The land offered for sale will meet some or all of the following criteria:
- parcels of land outside of a project boundary with difficult or no access for the department for management purposes;
- parcels of land outside of a project boundary with limited or no public access;
- parcels of land outside of a project boundary that have limited public recreational or natural resources value;
- parcels of land that have been identified for sale as a result of a NRB action; and
- parcels of land recommended for sale as a result of a master planning process or other department action.
We will be selling land to three groups in order of priority.
- Sale to a unit of government or Wisconsin sovereign tribal nation.
- Private sale for trespass or boundary settlement or with adjacent property owner under special circumstances.
- Public sale to the general public.
Frequently asked questions
- What is this about?
Wisconsin Act 20, which is the 2013-15 state biennial budget bill, contains a provision that requires the Natural Resources Board to make at least 10,000 acres of land, located outside of project boundaries, available for sale by June 30, 2017. This land sale policy has been developed to comply with the state statute.
- How much land does DNR Own?
The department owns 1,517,454 acres in fee title ownership and 300,267 acres in easements. The sale of 10,000 acres represents less than 1 percent of the department's total land ownership.
- What are some of the benefits of the land sale requirement?
- Realign land ownership for more efficient management
- Repurpose lands that don't serve the department's mission to more suitable use
- Where recommended, retain deed restrictions
- Work with organizations to meet common property & conservation goals
- Direct limited land management funds to properties that meet the department's mission
- When will the department start selling land?
The department began marketing the first parcels of land in 2015; others will be marketed after being approved for sale by the NRB.
- What is a DNR Project Boundary?
A project boundary is created by a feasibility study or master plan and must be approved by the Natural Resources Board and the Governor. Projects with official project boundaries that you might be familiar with include Devils Lake State Park and the Brule River State Forest. The department has over 600 named projects with official project boundaries.
- Has DNR sold land before?
The department owns a large amount of land and land sales are a regular part of managing this land base. Between 1876-2013 the department has sold approximately 80,000 acres of land.
How to acquire parcels
The Bureau of Facilities and Lands, Real Estate Section will facilitate the marketing and title transfer for all parcels of land approved by the Natural Resources Board (NRB) for sale. Marketing of individual parcels may occur in the following manner:
- Direct sale to another governmental agency or Wisconsin sovereign tribal nation.
- Direct marketing by DNR to adjacent property owners to resolve trespass or other boundary matters or directly to adjacent property owners when the parcel being sold has no legal access other than through the lands of adjacent property owners.
- Private marketing through the services of a private real estate brokerage or auctioneering firm who must have a current Wisconsin real estate broker's license. This method shall be most appropriate when the parcel being sold is of significant value and we determine that marketing of the property by a private firm is likely to maximize the price for which the land is sold or because certain other factors exist that may require the expertise of a private marketing firm. All private marketing services shall be chosen with an equitable bidding process governed by DNR policy and covered by a "Purchase of Services" contract.
- Public sale using a competitive bid process open to the general public.
We will make more information available about the sale and marketing of each individual parcel once that parcel has been approved for sale by the NRB.