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the mapping application.
PDF county map series.
the Public Access Lands (PAL) Atlas [exit DNR]
DNR lands for outdoor activities.
Contact information
For information on public access lands, contact:
DNR Customer Service
Toll Free 1-888-WDNRINFo

Public access lands maps Mapping application

The Public Access Lands mapping application is a map-based system that allows you to locate and obtain information on public access properties.

Elk Creek Fishery Area

Elk Creek Fishery Area, © Gary Scott.

Launch mapping application in Html5

Mapping update notice

The Bureau of Facilities and Lands has completed the migration of the Public Access Lands web map application from Silverlight to the non-proprietary HTML5 platform.

If you have save a direct link via bookmarks or web page links to the Public Access Lands web map, make sure that the link is to the HTML5 version.

This web mapping application is powered by Geocortex Essentials middleware and provides a robust intuitive platform to display geometry, perform spatial analysis and create custom maps. The mapping application is formatted to HTML5and can be viewed in most web browsers.

Visit the help document [PDF] for guidance on map navigation and tool usage.


This web mapping application is powered by Geocortex Essentials middleware and provides a robust intuitive platform to display geometry, perform spatial analysis and create custom maps. The mapping application is formatted to HTML5 and can be viewed in most web browsers.

Basic map navigation has been simplified to mouse functions of shift-right-click-draw box to zoom to a specific area (marquee zoom) and right-click to pan. Users can also use the mouse wheel to incrementally zoom in and out of the map. For detailed usage descriptions on the mapping tools, refer to the help document [PDF]

homeHome — Displays notices of new layers and functionality and provides guidance to data layer usage. Includes data disclaimers and links for feedback and questions regarding the display and content of the application. Provides a link to return to the Map Home Page for guidance and information.

layersLayer List — Displays the list of data layers available to the user within the mapping application.

show legendShow Legend — Displays the layer symbology visible at the current scale.

map themesMap Themes Layers — Dropdown available in the Layer List to allow the user to select a map based on a specific theme.

searchGlobal Search — Allows the user to enter a name to search for map features. Layers that would return a high number of results, such as roads or water, do not have search functionality. Use the I Want to Find tool to search for these features.

I want toI want to… — Short cuts to popular tools such as locate a property print map, open layer list or bookmark extent. These tools and more are available in the Map Tools toolbar.

basemapsBasemaps — Contains short-cuts to display available basemaps of aerial photos, waterbodies, topo quads and Town/Range/Section. 2010-2013 aerial photos are organized as a "Slider" group which the user can drag to fade out one aerial and fade into another.

coordinatesCoordinates — Displays the map coordinates on the cursor in Lat/Long, Decimal Degree, Degree- Minutes-Seconds or Wisconsin Transverse Mercator (meters)

map toolsMap Tools — Mapping functions organized by tabs to provide display options, map analysis and feature search capabilities within the mapping application.

  • File — Save map application as a Project file, Open Existing Project File and Print
  • Helpful Links — provides links to DNR Home page and other DNR Programs
  • Home — Basic map navigation, identify/locate map features and map sharing tools
  • Tools — Add custom graphics and text, upload/export to shapefile to map; plot coordinates
Why can't I see the property the state recently bought?

The property has not been entered into our GIS spatial database. We try to enter them into the layer as fast as possible.

Why is the map not available?

The web map server might be down temporarily. Please try again in a few minutes. If it still isn't available, contact us.

How can I see air photos/topographic information?

Zoom to your area of interest. Click on the Show Layers button in the Home Tool Bar and scroll to bottom of layer list and expand (+) the Base Map Layers folder. Expand (+) the Aerial Photos folder and select the aerial photo that best meets your needs or select the USGS Topo Quads layer to display the topography.

OR select the Basemap icon in the bottom left corner of the map. The icon will expand to display additional icons. Select the Aerial Photo icon, a slider will display. Slide the bar between available aerial photos to compare the display of the different years and seasons. Select the USGS Topo Quad icon to change the background to topography. Select Basemap to return to the default roads/rivers layer.

Are Managed Forest Lands (MFL) available on this map?

No, private forest lands open to public recreation through Managed Forest Law and Forest Crop Law programs are not available on this map. See Private Forest Lands Open to Public Recreation Web mapping application.

Are private lands (plat books) available on this map?

No, they are not available on this map. This web map contains those lands that for the most part are open to the public. For more information, see Platbooks and Land Ownership Maps or your county office.

How do I see additional detail?

Users can zoom in or out by using the scroll wheel on the mouse. Users can also draw a box around a desired destination using the Ctrl key and the left mouse button. Users can perform a measured zoom in or out by selecting the + or − buttons on the left side of the map.

How do I find out detailed information for a specific site?

Several tools allow for identification and information of map features. Some feature results will display links to program web pages for additional details.

  • Identify - Select tool then select the map feature to display information in the left-side Identify Results panel
  • Search - Type a feature name in the text box in the upper right of the map to display information in the left-side Search Results panel
Select the Results feature to open the Description panel with details about the selected feature. Links to more information may also be included in the Description.
I see coordinate positions reported on the map system; can I use these with my GPS?

The accuracy of these lat/long, utm, or wtm coordinates is unknown. While we have generally found it to be quite good, we do not consider it to be an appropriate tool for, say, collecting lat/long coordinates and incorporating them into a database. These coordinates are generated "on-the-fly" by the application. You must be aware of how your GPS collects, stores and displays data.

Layer Themes

Layer Themes: Displays a basic theme of public lands and recreational opportunities. All available layers are displayed in this theme therefore it is recommended to select a specific layer theme (see below descriptions) to reduce the map clutter.

Public Lands: Displays a variety of open public lands-DNR Managed Land as parcels and property, federal, county forests; as well as recreational opportunities such as trails, shooting ranges, boat access sites and parking areas.

DNR Land Sales: This theme is associated to the DNR Land Sales program and displays the parcels that are slated for sale by the department with only DNR land and roads/surface water as a base map. Use Identify to select a parcel of interest and provide a link to the Land Sales web page for a static map and detailed parcel information.

BCPL: Used in cooperation with the Board of Commissioners of Public Land to display land held in their School Trust Lands program. Layers initially displayed are the BCPL land and the roads/surface water base map.


The State of Wisconsin has a variety of outstanding natural resources, such as rushing trout streams, quiet wetlands, pristine wild rivers, clear lakes, native prairies, vast green forests, Ice Age eskers and picturesque waterfalls. Wisconsin's increasing population, together with out-of-state visitors, is placing increased pressure and demands on these resources. Each year, thousands of people boat, camp, fish, hunt, hike, bike, ski, canoe, sightsee, study nature and pursue other outdoor activities. Our public lands are places where we can get away from daily routines and enjoy the natural beauty Wisconsin has to offer.

Over the years, Wisconsin citizens have recognized the need to protect Wisconsin's natural resources and have provided the DNR with the ability and funding to purchase land. DNR's first purchase was made in 1876 and, since then, the DNR's land acquisition program has become an important tool to protect natural resources and provide outdoor recreational opportunities for the public.

The DNR purchases land to manage and protect natural resources and to provide recreational opportunities to all the people of the state. Through the land acquisition program, wetlands, forests, scenic areas, prairies, savannas, wildlife and fish habitat, rare species habitat, glacial features and other resources are being protected and managed.


The Department of Natural Resource manages lands through ownership, easement or lease rights. The map data should not be interpreted as representing legal property boundaries. State lands depicted are generally open to the public. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities. Contact DNR customer service for more information.

Neither the State of Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources, nor any of its employees shall be held liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information described and/or contained herein and they assume no responsibility for anyone's use of the information.

DNR web mapping applications contain the most current information about DNR properties and private lands under DNR management with public access for hunting and recreational activities. Please be aware that 3rd party web mapping applications (e.g., Google Maps, commercial mapping companies, etc.) may display erroneous boundaries of these properties. To ensure that you can reach your intended area and avoid trespassing, use DNR web mapping applications to plan your outing. Confirm the ownership of non-DNR public land (e.g., municipal, county, federal), tribal land, and private land through other means, and recognize that on-ground postings and property boundary signs override property boundaries shown in DNR and 3rd party web mapping applications and should be respected.

Last revised: Friday September 01 2017