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about the programs that provide a healthy Wisconsin shoreland, a system of native plants and trees thriving in and around the shallow water.
resources provided by local communities that offer zoning ordinances to guide development near navigable lakes and rivers.

Did You Know?
Lakes and rivers belong to the state's citizens. See: The Public Trust Doctrine.
The number of homes on lakes of all sizes increased 216 percent from the 1960s to 1995.
See: Development Trends in Northern Wisconsin.

As northern lakes are developed...
Songbirds decrease and grackles, cowbirds and other common species increase.
Green frog populations decrease.
Musky, trout and bluegill populations decrease.
See: Preserving Fish and Wildlife Habitat.

Contact information
Visit our Wisconsin Shoreland Zoning Contacts page to find out who to contact regarding your property.

Safeguarding our shorelands Research on natural scenic beauty

Sunrise on a quiet lake.

Sunrise photo on a quiet lake.

Water is universally attractive, most people like to hear the wind in the trees or watch it play a lake into shimmering waves. The natural beauty of water is even important to people who never use or see the waterway directly.

Over the past 25 years, studies and informal surveys have consistently shown that lakefront property is purchased and owned primarily for natural beauty and aesthetically induced sense of solitude.

While land use planning and other public policies relating to aesthetic values must be balanced with constitutional protection of private property rights and evolving community norms, the protection of natural scenic beauty and aesthetics has consistently been considered the most important value for owning lake front property.

Adapted from "Woodland Visions - Appreciating and Managing Forests for Scenic Beauty" [PDF exit DNR]. UWEX. 2002.

The following documents provide information and describe various studies that have been conducted to describe the importance of protecting natural scenic beauty.

This list of resources should not be construed as being complete. It is only part of a collection of resources and research that DNR employees use as a reference in their day-to-day work. This list is in no way an endorsement of these organizations, but rather a resource for the public who may be interested in shoreland related issues.

Contact information
For more information about this page, please contact:
Shoreland policy coordinator
Bureau of Watershed Management
Last revised: Wednesday July 17 2013