, ,

DNR Brings In $5.9 Million From Land Sales To Date

About 40 Percent Of Roughly 10,000 Acres Has Been Sold

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (CC-BY-ND)

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has sold about 40 percent of the roughly 10,000 acres it put up for sale. The agency has been marketing land to pay down its significant debt in the state’s stewardship program.

The 2013-2015 state budget directed the DNR to put up for sale less than one percent of its lands by this summer. Jim Lemke, real estate section chief for the DNR, said they’ve sold 4,215 acres with another 100 acres of pending land transactions. He said the majority of that land will now be privately-owned.

“We continue to market quite a bit actually to the local units of government because some of them haven’t been in the position to make decisions at this point,” he said.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Lemke said they also plan to market land to private landowners and the general public for at least another year.

About 1,500 acres or 36 percent of land sales went to tribal and local units of government. According to the DNR website, the agency has listed hundreds of parcels of land for sale in at least 37 counties across the state. Bayfield County Forestry Administrator Jason Bodine said the county bought just under 200 acres in Bayfield from the DNR using surplus revenues from timber sales.

“It’ll be part of that county forest block. From a timber production standpoint, there’s really good potential. There’s well-established recreational trails that run through the property already. They’re managed by (Mount) Ashwabay so it provides that security to that rec network,” he said.

Bodine said the county is finalizing the deed with the state after purchasing the land for roughly $130,000 late last year.

To date, the land sales have generated around $5.9 million for the agency. Lemke said $5.3 million will go toward paying down the $617.5 million debt the agency is in from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. The state incurred the debt through buying lands under the program and making improvements to properties, including dams.