Order of the State of Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Repealing, Renumbering, Renumbering and Amending, Amending, Repealing and Recreating, and Creating Rules
The statement of scope for this rule, SS 051-15, was approved by the Governor on May 21, 2015, published in Register No. 714A1 on June 1, 2015 and approved by the Natural Resources Board on June 24, 2015. This permanent rule was approved by the Governor on April 4, 2017.
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board adopts an order to repeal NR 45.09 (6), (10) and (11), 45.11 (7) (j), 45.13 (3) and (10) (c), 45.13 (13m), 45.13 (16) and (24); to renumber and amend NR 45.05 (3) (d), and 45.13 (14m); to amend NR 45.03 (3) and (16v), 45.04 (1) (b) and (3) (v), 45.045 (1) and (2) (c) (intro.), 45.05 (3) (f), (g) and (h) (intro.), 45.09 (1), 45.09 (5) (intro.), (a) and (b), 45.10 (l) (n), 45.12 (1) (b) 1. f., 45.12 (1) (b) 1. f., 7.d. and m., 45.12 (4) (g) 2. a., b., and (i), 45.13 (11m) (b), (18) and 21, 51.70 (1) (intro.) and 51.73 (1); to repeal and recreate NR 45.12 (4) (a) 1. to 3., 51.73 (2); and to create NR 45.03 (18x), (21d) and (25m), 45.04 (4), 45.046 and (Note), 45.05 (3) (d) 2., 3., (em) and (Note), 45.09 (4) (d), 45.09 (5) (f) and (Note), 45.095, 45.10 (1) (r) and (5), 45.11 (4) (zc), 45.12 (1) (d) 55. to 58., 45.12 (4) (l), 45.13 (14m) (a) 1. and 2., 45.13 (28) to (30) and 51.70 (3) relating to public use of department properties and implementation and administration of the stewardship grant program.
Analysis Prepared by the Department of Natural Resources
Statutes interpreted: The department has specific grants of authority to promulgate rules necessary for management of properties under its control in chs. 23 and 27, Stats. The department is directed under 23.09 (2) to promulgate rules necessary for protection, development, and use of forests, fish and game, lakes, streams and other resources. Authority related to state recreation areas is established in s. 23.091. General powers related to the care, protection and supervision of lands such as state parks, fish hatcheries, state forests and other lands owned by the state are established under 23.11 (1). The department’s responsibilities for the stewardship of state natural areas are established under 23.28 (3). Authority for rules related to all-terrain vehicles and utility terrain vehicles is established under 23.33 (4) (b). Promulgating rules related to the conduct of visitors at state parks is authorized under 27.01 (2) (j). Specific rule authority related to state campgrounds, including fee authority and reservations, is established under 27.01 (10) (b), (f), (h) and (11) (b), Wis. Stats. The rule making process is established in Ch. 227 Stats. Statutory authority: The department has specific grants of rule-making authority in Chs. 23 and 27, Stats., to manage its properties. See ss. 23.09 (2), 23.091, 23.11 (1), 23.28 (3), 23.33 (4) (b), 27.01 (2) (j), 27.01 (10) (b), (f) and (h), 27.01 (11) (b), Wis. Stats. The rule making process is established in Ch. 227 Stats.
Explanation of agency authority: The Department of Natural Resources is given general authority to promulgate rules relating to the management and protection of Department properties and to regulate the conduct of visitors to Department properties. In addition, the Department is given specific authority to promulgate rules relating to categories of campsites, camping fees, and the campground reservation system, and the use of all-terrain and utility terrain vehicles on road in Department properties.
Related statute or rule: These rule updates will make Ch. NR 45 consistent with 2011 ACT 35 which allows the concealed carry of firearms. Under the ACT, a person with a concealed carry license may possess a handgun which is loaded and uncased (concealed or unconcealed), and a qualified former law enforcement officer may possess the type of firearm they qualified with and which is indicated on their certification card, loaded and uncased (concealed or unconcealed) in a Wisconsin state park or state fish hatchery. These rule updates will make Ch. NR 45 consistent with 2011 ACT 51 which generally established that rifles, shotguns and muzzleloaders no longer have to be in a case in order to be placed in or on a vehicle or to be transported unloaded in or on a vehicle. These rules make a remedial revision so that Ch. NR 45 continues to be consistent with statute now that hunting and trapping are activities that are generally allowed in state parks with enactment of 2011 ACT 168.
Plain language analysis: The department has modified this rule since holding its initial hearing on February 1, 2016. Since that time, provisions establishing regulations for shooting ranges have been amended. Language has been added that repeals current prohibitions on the possession of firearms in certain areas and firearms would no longer need to be enclosed in carrying cases, for consistency with state law. Finally, a provision has been added which increases by $1.00 the fee to use the newly renovated pool facilities at Blue Mounds State Park in Dane and Iowa counties.
Chapter NR 45 is the principal rule governing the conduct of visitors to the properties and facilities owned, acquired by easement, or leased by the Department. This chapter is reviewed and revisions are proposed on a regular basis. Proposals seek to update fee structures, provide camping guidance, and address a variety of general and specific property uses governed by rule. A few rule changes are also included to implement recent statutory changes or to improve rule clarity. Chapter 51 relates to the administration of the Stewardship grant program. The language is updated regarding the purpose of the state trail network, water trails are defined, and a state water trail is added to the list of state trails making that project eligible for funding under the Stewardship program.
Section 1 amends the definition of “Bicycle” to be consistent with state law and amends the definition of “Physically disabled person” to be consistent with the definition in federal law.
Section 2 creates definitions for “Shooting Range”, “Special event” and “Water trail”.
Section 3 modifies a rule that allows, by posted notice, the closure of land, structures, or property for safety and/or protection of resources. The only option under current rules is to close areas for all public use, and this may restrict use more than is necessary. The rule establishes flexibility to restrict access for one or more activities in order to preserve opportunities which are not a safety hazard or in conflict with management goals. The proposal codifies that the closures are to be authorized by the department secretary or designee.
This section also clarifies that wood collection for legally authorized campfires does not require a forest product permit and adds the Rainbow Flowage property to the list of properties where driftwood and other dead and downed wood located below the ordinary high water mark may not be removed or destroyed without written permission.
Section 4 creates a mechanism to authorize and regulate “special events”. This will help ensure that these events do not have significant adverse impacts to public safety, other authorized uses of the property, and/or natural resources. Property management staff have experienced an increase in requests for special events on Department properties in the past several years.
Section 5 amends the regulations on the possession of firewood by eliminating the reference to where the firewood is intended to be used. This amendment provides clarity for enforcement of this provision aimed at slowing the spread of invasive species. For clarity, “lumber” is removed from the definition of firewood because NR 45.045 (3) already specifies that dimensional lumber that is debarked, kiln dried and smoothed is exempt from the requirements regarding firewood possession.
Section 6 creates provisions for the cutting and gathering of firewood for home use as authorized under a valid forest products permit. Currently no administrative rule or statute allows for enforcement of forest product permit conditions for firewood gathering.
Section 7 clarifies that permit authorization for use of a motorized vehicle is restricted to individuals with a disability that impairs mobility. This section also specifies the requirements for proof of disability and provides that up to two additional people may accompany the permittee.
Section 8 codifies that the department may establish permit requirements for motorized vehicle use by an individual with a mobility disability. Permits conditions are established to protect public safety and property resources. Codifying the provision creates an enforcement mechanism if the permit conditions are violated.
This section also authorizes the use of motor bicycles on linear state trails open to bicycles provided that the motor is not engaged, or is operating at less than 15 MPH if the electric motor is engaged. It also includes requirements establishing when motor bicycles would be permitted on other trails, or sections of trails.
Section 9 establishes that the requirements that currently apply to bicycles on designated state trails also apply to motor bicycles. The rules require stopping at stop signs and prohibit riding in a reckless manner that endangers life, property or people.
This section also clarifies the department’s authority to establish ATV routes on department roads as authorized in a property’s master plan. Under current rules, the department only has this authority on northern state forest lands. The revision eliminates the specific reference to northern state forests and generalizes the language to state that the department may establish ATV routes on department lands over department roads. It further reflects recent legislative direction in s. 23.116 to evaluate motorized access. Sections 10 to 14 and 31 to 33 modernize language related to hunting in state parks to reflect that hunting is now generally allowed in parks under current rules and by statute. These sections eliminate prohibitions on the possession of and requirement to enclose in a carrying case firearms, air guns, bows and crossbows on certain property types and on department lands in certain counties. These prohibitions have not been enforced since enactment of laws allowing concealed carry of weapons and elimination of statutory statewide requirements to enclose firearms and bows in a carrying case. The discharge of firearms in certain areas remains illegal under these rules but an exception is created which enables the department to issue a special use permit to facilitate hunter education, civil war reenactments, interpretive programs, and similar events. Finally, these sections clarify that it is legal to use a firearm to kill an animal that has lawfully been trapped in a state park. Trapping has been allowed in state parks since the enactment of 2011 Act 168.