The county board may by resolution adopted by not less than two-thirds of its membership make application to the department to withdraw lands entered under this section. The county board shall first refer the resolution to the county forestry committee, which shall consult with an authorized representative of the department in formulating its withdrawal proposal. The county board shall not take final action on the application until 90 days after referral of the application to the forestry committee or until the report of the forestry committee regarding the application has been filed with the board. The application shall include the land description, a statement of the reasons for withdrawal, and any restrictions or other conditions of use attached to the land proposed for withdrawal.
Upon the filing of an application to withdraw lands under subd. 1.
, the department shall investigate the application. During the course of its investigation the department shall make an examination of the character of the land, the volume of timber, improvements, and any other special values. In the case of withdrawal for the purpose of sale to any purchaser other than the state or a local unit of government, the department shall establish a minimum value on the lands to be withdrawn. In making its investigation the department shall give full weight and consideration to the purposes and principles set forth in sub. (1)
, and it shall also weigh and consider the benefits to the people of the state as a whole, as well as to the county, from the proposed use against the benefits accruing to the people of the state as a whole and to the county under the continued entry of the lands to be withdrawn. The department may conduct a public hearing on the application, if it considers it advisable, at a time and place that it determines, except that if the county requests a public hearing in writing, the department shall hold a public hearing.
If the department finds that the benefits after withdrawal of the lands described in the application under subd. 2.
outweigh the benefits under continued entry of the lands and that the lands will be put to a better and higher use, it shall make an order withdrawing the lands from entry; otherwise it shall deny the application.
If the application is denied, the county board may, by resolution adopted by not less than two-thirds of its membership, appeal to a review committee. The department shall submit the findings of its investigation and of any hearing on a proposed withdrawal to the committee, which shall be composed of the following members:
a. One member appointed by the county board submitting the application for withdrawal.
b. One member who is appointed by the governor, who is from another county that has land enrolled under the county forest law, and who shall be chairperson of the review committee.
c. One member appointed by the department.
d. One member appointed by the University of Wisconsin from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
e. One member to be selected by unanimous vote of the appointed members or, if the appointed members fail to achieve unanimity, by the governor.
The review committee appointed under subd. 4.
shall, by majority vote within 60 days after receiving the findings of the department, do one of the following:
a. Approve the application for withdrawal if it finds the proposed use to be of a greater benefit considering all losses and benefits to the people of the state as a whole, as well as to the people of the county.
b. Provisionally deny the application for withdrawal giving specific reasons why it finds the proposal deficient and making any suggestions for revising the application to reduce the conflict of the proposed use with the public interest.
If the committee approves a withdrawal under subd. 5.
, it shall notify the county board of its approval stating, as necessary, specific procedures to be followed by the county relating to the withdrawal. The county board may then by a resolution approved by not less than two-thirds of its membership, withdraw the lands from the county forest law and shall send copies of this resolution to the department and to the county register of deeds who shall record the resolution.
If the committee provisionally denies the proposed withdrawal under subd. 5.
, it may consider an amended application for withdrawal upon presentation of the application and supporting information, or it may require additional investigation of the amended application by the department before reconsidering the application. Any additional investigation shall include additional public hearings if requested by the county, the department, or the committee.
If the application is approved the county shall reimburse the state the amounts previously paid to the county pursuant to sub. (8) (b)
which reimbursement shall be credited to the county forestry fund account; except that the department may waive all or part of such reimbursement if it finds that the lands are withdrawn for a higher public use or that the amount of such reimbursement is unreasonable when compared to the value of the land. If the department has waived any portion of such reimbursement and if at any subsequent time the land ceases to be used for the purpose designated in the application for withdrawal, the full amount of reimbursement due the forestry fund account on the lands withdrawn shall immediately become due and payable to the department and shall be credited to the forestry fund account, unless the department finds and determines that the lands will continue to be put to another higher public use in which case payments of such reimbursement may be deferred by the department so long as the lands are devoted to a higher public use. If payment is not made prior to the time of the next forestry aid payment to the county, forestry aid payments in an amount to be determined by the department shall be withheld until the amount due the forestry fund account is reimbursed.
If at any time it appears to the department that the lands are not being managed in accordance with this section it shall so advise the county forestry committee and the county clerk. If the condition persists the department may proceed against the persons responsible for such noncompliance under s. 30.03 (4)
All orders of the department made under this section may be reviewed under ss. 227.52
A county forest withdrawal appeal review committee under sub. (11) (a) is not a state agency whose decisions are reviewable under ch. 227. Allen v. Juneau County, 98 Wis. 2d 103
, 295 N.W.2d 218
(Ct. App. 1980).
County boards cannot sell or exchange county forest lands without first withdrawing them from the county forest program under sub. (11). 66 Atty. Gen. 109.
Conservation easements and restrictive covenants are permissible in county forests as long as they are consistent with and do not interfere with the purposes of county forests and the management plans properly developed for them under the county forest law. OAG 08-10
National forests. 28.15(1)(a)
“Cooperative agreement" means an agreement between the secretary or the governor and the secretary of the federal department of agriculture under which the department is responsible for conducting forest management activities on federal land in this state.
“Forest management activities" means harvesting and selling timber, activities that promote artificial and natural forest regeneration, and other activities to restore or improve the health of forests and forest watersheds, including fish and wildlife habitat in those forests and watersheds.
As permitted by federal law, the department may conduct forest management activities on federal land under a cooperative agreement.
As permitted by federal law, the department may contract with a county, private forester, or private contractor for the purpose of conducting forest management activities on federal land under a cooperative agreement.
The department shall pay the initial costs of administering and implementing a cooperative agreement and any contracts entered into under sub. (3)
from the appropriation under s. 20.370 (2) (mv)
On June 30 of each fiscal year, 10 percent of the revenues received by the department in that fiscal year from the sale of timber from federal land under a cooperative agreement under this section shall lapse from the appropriation account under s. 20.370 (2) (cz)
to the conservation fund. These amounts shall be lapsed until the total amount lapsed equals $750,000.
History: 2015 a. 55
; 2017 a. 59
Any city, village, town or school district may acquire land, engage in forestry and appropriate funds for such purpose. The forest property may be located outside the city, village, town or school district limits.
History: 1985 a. 218
; 1993 a. 246
Any municipality, by registering its forest with the department, shall be eligible to receive free planting stock from the state forest nurseries and the services of foresters in preparing and carrying out planting and forest management plans. No trees shall be cut except those marked or designated for cutting by a state forester. Products of the forest may be devoted to public use.
Timber sales; community forests.
Any timber sale from a community forest shall be based on the scale, measure or count of the cut products. Any timber sale with an estimated value of $3,000 or more shall be by public sale after 2 publications of a classified advertisement announcing the sale in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which the timber to be sold is located.
History: 1989 a. 79
; 1999 a. 9
All income from community forests shall be paid into the treasury, but may be assigned to the support of any legally authorized activity.
Parties to a violation. 28.99(1)
Whoever is concerned in the commission of a violation of this chapter for which a forfeiture is imposed is a principal and may be charged with and convicted of the violation although he or she did not directly commit it and although the person who directly committed it has not been convicted of the violation.
A person is concerned in the commission of the violation if the person:
Aids and abets the commission of it; or
Is a party to a conspiracy with another to commit it or advises, hires or counsels or otherwise procures another to commit it.
History: 1975 c. 365