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Governor Knowles State ForestHistory

Portrait of Governor Knowles
Governor Warren P. Knowles

Established in 1970 as the St. Croix River State Forest, the forest was re-designated the Governor Knowles State Forest in 1981 to recognize former Governor Warren P. Knowles for his administration's progress in conservation.

Warren P. Knowles was above all an outdoorsman. Even as Governor of Wisconsin, he never missed an opportunity to get out and enjoy Wisconsin’s magnificent natural resources. He coupled this love for the outdoors with an unwavering commitment to conservation.

Knowles was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate in 1940, serving continuously until 1955 when he was elected Lieutenant Governor. Knowles promoted a conservation agenda in both of these positions. He was a major force behind the original Outdoor Recreation Act Program (ORAP) in 1961, which generated funds for land acquisition.

In 1964, Knowles was elected to his first of three terms as Wisconsin Governor. While Governor, Knowles initiated efforts to reduce water pollution and expanded ORAP funding to increase the acquisition of land for conservation purposes. He also founded the Governor's Fishing Opener in 1968, to focus attention on all that Wisconsin offers for anglers. He participated in this event both as Governor and for many years after he left public service. In fact, Governor Knowles died during a break from fishing on opening day in 1993.

It is in tribute to Governor Knowles and his conservation accomplishments that this forest is named in his honor.

Last Revised: Friday March 23 2012