December 23, 2014
MADISON -- Hunters, anglers, campers and other outdoors enthusiasts from all over the country showed their love this year for Wisconsin's state parks, natural areas, wildlife areas and fisheries by making a donation to the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund. Donations came in from residents of every state, two Canadian provinces and even the armed services, helping to make the fund's first year a resounding success.
"If your family is like mine you have fished, hunted, camped and hiked our gorgeous state and cherished every moment," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "The Cherish Fund is committed to enhancing our public lands and waters so future generations can also enjoy our great outdoors."
The Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund was created through unanimous bipartisan legislation to "protect, restore and improve habitat for Wisconsin's plants and animals" on state-owned lands. In a unique public-private partnership, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin holds and manages the fund as an endowment.
"We are so grateful to everyone who has made an investment in the natural places that make Wisconsin a truly special place," said Ruth Oppedahl, executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. "We can all envision a place in Wisconsin we cherish, where we fell in love with hunting, fishing, birding, camping or hiking. Those are the places we are going to be able to care for and manage with the Cherish Fund."
Since the 2013 kickoff, the Cherish Fund has brought in more than $90,000. The bulk of those funds came from $2 donations from the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses, and state park stickers and trail passes through DNR's Automated License Issuance System. More than 25,000 individuals agreed to give at least $2 when prompted during registration. Donations also came in from campers reserving campsites through Reserve America, on the Cherish Fund's website and in the form of planned gifts to the Natural Resources Foundation.
"Wisconsin has a strong tradition of protecting land, but now needs to responsibly manage those public lands," said Charlie Luthin, former executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and Cherish Fund donor. "I am proud to have helped create the Cherish Wisconsin Fund and am happy to be one of the early donors to it. I encourage like-minded conservationists to support the Fund to ensure proper stewardship of our public lands long into the future."
Over the next year, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin aims to bolster the dollar amount of donations that come in, ensuring the restoration and permanent protection of beloved natural places such as Crex Meadows, Horicon Marsh, Tiffany Bottoms and the White River Fishery Area, among many others.
The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin provides sustainable funding for Wisconsin's most imperiled species and public lands, while helping citizens connect with our state's unique natural places. Learn more at www.wisconservation.org (exit DNR).
Learn more about the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund: cherishwisconsin.org (exit DNR).
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Carly Darrow, DNR, 608-264-8976 (office), 608-381-2705 (cell), Carlyn.Darrow@wisconsin.gov; or Lindsay Renick Mayer, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, 608-266-3138 (office), 608-843-6669 (cell) email@example.com