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Contact(s): Yoyi Steele, property planner, 608-266-3568; Mitch Horrie, property planner, 608-266-2698
June 4, 2019

Public comment period open through July 8

ADAMS, Wis. - The public has an opportunity through an upcoming open house, office hours, and online information to learn more about the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' regional master planning process for properties located in the Central Sand Plains Ecological Landscape. This landscape encompasses portions of Adams, Clark, Eau Claire, Jackson, Juneau, Monroe, Portage, Waushara, and Wood counties.

A master plan, guided by Chapter NR 44, Wisconsin Administrative Code, establishes the level and type of resource management and public use permitted on department-managed properties. Under the regional master planning process, department staff will develop a plan for all properties located within a defined region. The regions are based on 16 previously defined ecological landscapes in Wisconsin, distinct areas of the state that present different ecological attributes and management opportunities. The Natural Resources Board approved the regional planning process at the June 2017 board meeting.

The Central Sands Plains position straddling the tension zne contributes to its diverse mix of species, with elements from both southern and northern ecosystems - Photo credit: DNR
The Central Sands Plains position straddling the tension zone contributes to its diverse mix of species, with elements from both southern and northern ecosystemsPhoto credit: DNR

Approximately 45,000 acres of DNR-managed lands will have new master plans developed as part of this planning process. Properties within the Central Sand Plains that already have NR 44-compliant master plans will have these existing plans referenced during the planning process. The DNR will evaluate whether any updates need to be made to these existing plans; any necessary updates will be included in the regional plan to be developed.

The Central Sand Plains properties contain a wide variety of habitats and natural features, including extensive deciduous-coniferous forests, pine-oak barrens, rivers and streams, forested and non-forested wetlands, extensive grasslands, and unique geological features such as sandstone cliffs and gorges.

Mill Bluff State Park is one of the properties included in the master planning for the Central Sands Plains. - Photo credit: DNR
Mill Bluff State Park is one of the properties included in the master planning for the Central Sands Plains.Photo credit: DNR

The properties in the Central Sand Plains also provide important recreational opportunities. Wildlife and Fishery Areas and State Natural Areas, such as Buena Vista Wildlife Area, Colburn Wildlife Area, Big Roche-a-Cri Fishery Area, and Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area offer extensive tracts for hunting and trapping. The Fishery Areas provide a coldwater fishery for brown and brook trout as well as paddling opportunity. Mill Bluff, Roche-a-Cri, and Rocky Arbor state parks offer camping, swimming, picnicking, and hiking trails. These properties are among those that will have new plans developed.

People can learn more about and engage in the planning process for the Central Sand Plains regional master plan online by searching the DNR website,, for keywords "property planning" and then selecting Central Sand Plains. In addition to information about this ecological landscape and the department properties within it, people will also find opportunities to offer their input on the planning and management of the properties. A public meeting and office hours will be held on June 18, 2019 for the public to learn more about the planning process and to submit comments on the properties' future management and use:

"We welcome and encourage people to visit our website and attend the office hours and public meeting to learn about the department's property master planning process and share their suggestions for future management and use of these properties," said Diane Brusoe, property planning section chief.

In addition to opportunities to offer input online, at the public meeting, or during the office hours, people may also contact Yoyi Steele, DNR property planner, by email at or phone at 608-266-3568, DNR property planner Mitch Horrie by email at or phone at 608-266-2698, or either planner by regular mail at Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.

The public comment period will be open through July 8, 2019.

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 04, 2019

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