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Contact information
Use the Forestry Assistance Locator to find cooperating foresters, DNR service foresters or tax law forestry specialists for your county.
View the current Directory of Foresters [PDF].

Managed Forest LawEnrollment

Governor Walker has recently signed 2015 Wisconsin Act 358 into law. This new law makes numerous changes to the Managed Forest Law (MFL) and some changes to the Forest Crop Law (FCL). Until this page can be updated, some of the information is incorrect. Please contact your local DNR Forester for more information on the changes to MFL and FCL and how it may affect you.

Enrollment into the Managed Forest Law (MFL) program is open to all private owners of forested land. To be eligible for the MFL program, a landowner must have a minimum of 10 acres of contiguous land and at least 80 percent of that land must be forested.


To apply for the MFL program, an application must be submitted with a management plan written by a certified plan writer. The management plan addresses items such as landowner objectives, timber management, wildlife management and water quality.

The deadline for submitting an application and required attachments is June 1 for entry effective the following January 1.


Frequent asked questions

What obligations will I be subject to if I enroll land into the MFL program?

A list of some primary obligations follows, but keep in mind that this list is not inclusive:

  • Follow your MFL management plan.
  • Pay MFL tax rates.
  • On open land, permit public access for hunting, fishing, cross-country skiing, sight-seeing, and hiking.
  • Submit a cutting notice before harvesting and a cutting report after harvesting.
  • Permit field inspections.
What is required in an application packet?
  • Application fee
  • Copy of recorded proof of ownership
  • Copy of your tax bill(s)
  • Copy of any certified survey maps pertinent to your property (if applicable)
  • Signed management plan
How do I start the application process?

You need to find a CPW to prepare the required management plan and application packet for submittal by the June 1 deadline.

What is a CPW?

A certified plan writer, or CPW, is a private consulting forester certified by the DNR to write management plans for the MFL program.

How do I find a CPW?

See the online CPW list [PDF] or the online forestry assistance locator. You can also contact your local DNR forester to be placed on a referral list to help you find a CPW.

What is the cost to apply?

A non-refundable fee of $30 per county must accompany each application.

What is the cost of a management plan?

Each certified plan writer (CPW) has a different fee schedule. Contact the CPW for payment information.

How much land can I close to public access?

320 acres per ownership per municipality

What are the current MFL tax rates?

Current MFL tax rates are listed here.

How long will the land be in the MFL program?

You have a choice of a 25-year or 50-year enrollment period.

Can I have buildings on MFL land?

Buildings that are developed as a residence or include landscaping are not permitted on MFL land. Buildings permitted on MFL land will still be taxed as personal property. More information is here.

How do I obtain a copy of my deed?

If you do not have a copy of your recorded deed in your files, you can contact the county Register of Deeds office [exit DNR].

What does it mean that my lands would be "certified"?

Landowners must choose whether or not to enroll in the MFL Certified Group upon enrollment into the MFL program. A fact sheet [PDF] describes the benefits and responsibilities for group members. Group certification focuses on DNR's administration of the group and quality of management on member's land. Third-party auditors determine if the MFL Group conforms to American Tree Farm System and Forest Stewardship Council principles and performance measures.

If I already have land in the MFL program, can I add additional land to it?

Yes, but there are different rules depending on when your existing MFL land was enrolled. Contact your local DNR forester for more information.

If I have land in the Forest Crop Law (FCL) program, can I convert it to MFL?

Yes, but all your FCL land in the municipalities indicated on the MFL application must be converted to MFL.

How do I re-enroll my expiring MFL land?

The re-enrollment of expiring MFL land follows the same procedure as new enrollments. Refer to the deadlines and instructions at the top of the page to ensure timely enrollment. Applications are only accepted for the deadlines listed above.

Can I post signs on my open land?

Signs restricting allowable recreation are not allowed. You may post signs to prevent misuse by the public (e.g. vehicular travel). If you post signs, you must state the allowable activities. Simple wording for signs may be available from the local DNR forester. Improper posting of forest tax law lands is a violation of the law and may result in program withdrawal.

Can I change my open/closed designation?

Yes, you are allowed to change the open/closed designation twice. You may do this by completing the Public Access Modification Request form [PDF]. Requests received by December 1 will take effect the following January 1.

Can I limit the number of people using my open land?


I don't have any streams or ponds on my property. Do I have to allow fishing on my lands?

Yes, however if fishing opportunities don't exist it is likely that the public will not use your lands for fishing.

Last revised: Monday February 20 2017