Under current law, a parcel of land is eligible for designation as MFL only if it
consists of at least ten contiguous acres. Under this bill, the minimum acreage
requirement is increased to 20 acres, but the owner of an MFL parcel of less than 20
acres may apply for a one-time renewal of the order designating the parcel as MFL
without meeting the 20-acre requirement.
Under current law, a parcel that is developed for a human residence is not
eligible for designation as MFL. Under the bill, a parcel is not eligible if there is any
building or improvement associated with a building located on the parcel. The bill
defines "building" to include any structure used as shelter, as a place of employment,
or as storage and "improvement" to include any accessory building, structure, or
fixture that is placed on a parcel for the parcel's benefit. The bill specifically excludes
roads, certain rights-of-way, fences, hunting blinds, and other structures from being
considered improvements. This bill requires DNR to promulgate rules relating to
hunting blinds and authorizes emergency rule making.
Under current law, the owner of land that is designated as managed forest land
under an order that takes effect on or after April 28, 2004, may file an application
with DNR to designate as managed forest land an additional parcel of land if the
additional parcel is at least three acres in size and is contiguous to any of that
designated land. This bill allows any owner of MFL to apply to designate an
additional parcel of land as MFL regardless of the date of the order designating the
land as MFL. The tax rate applicable to an added parcel is the tax rate currently
applicable to the parcel to which the land is being added.
Under current law, an amendment to or repeal of the MFL subchapter of the
statutes does not affect the terms of an order or management plan, except as
expressly agreed to in writing by the land owner and DNR. Under this bill, subject
to certain exceptions, DNR may not amend or otherwise change the terms of an order
or management plan to conform with changes made to the statutes subsequent to the
date on which the order was entered or the plan was approved. If a statute is enacted
or a rule is promulgated during the period of the order that materially changes the
terms of the order, the state shall require the landowner to elect between acceptance
of modifications to the contract or voluntary withdrawal of the land without penalty.
Under current law, an MFL order may be renewed at the end of its term. DNR
may deny an application for renewal only if the land does not comply with the
eligibility requirements, the owner has failed to comply with the management plan
for the MFL, or delinquent taxes are owed on the land. Under this bill, DNR may
deny the application if the land that is subject to the renewal application is not
identical to the MFL under the existing order or if certain requirements for
establishing, updating, and reviewing mandatory forestry soil and conservation
practices in a management plan are not met.
Sales and transfers of land
Under current law, an owner may sell or transfer an entire parcel of MFL. An
owner may also sell or transfer part of a parcel of MFL, if the land being sold or
transferred is all of the owner's land located in a quarter-quarter section or in a
government lot or fractional lot, provided that the land remaining meets the
eligibility requirements for designation as MFL. Under the bill, an owner may
voluntarily withdraw part of an MFL parcel for the purpose of selling it or using it
as a construction site. The land withdrawn may not be less than one acre and may
not be more than five acres. The bill limits the number of times that MFL may be
withdrawn for this purpose and requires the owner to pay the withdrawal taxes and
the withdrawal fee.
Productivity of land
This bill creates a provision that allows an owner of MFL that has been
damaged by a natural disaster to restore the productivity of the land so that it meets
the requirements under the MFL program for producing merchantable timber. If the
owner fails to complete the restoration within a time period specified by DNR, either
DNR may order withdrawal of the land or the owner of the land may request
withdrawal of the land. The owner is exempt from payment of withdrawal taxes if
the owner makes the request and DNR determines that the MFL is unable to meet
the production requirements for merchantable timber and if the owner withdraws
only the number of acres necessary for the parcel to again meet the production
requirements. This bill defines "natural disaster" as fire, ice, snow, wind, flooding,
insects, drought, or disease.
This bill also allows an owner who is unable to meet the requirements for
producing merchantable timber for environmental, ecological, or economic reasons
to request withdrawal of that part of a parcel that is unsuitable for the production
of merchantable timber. The owner is exempt from payment of withdrawal taxes or
Under current law, a person may not cut any merchantable wood products on
FCL or any merchantable timber on MFL unless the owner has filed a notice with
DNR. DNR may prescribe the amount of forest products or timber to be removed
unless the notice of intention to cut was provided to DNR by a cooperating forester
authorized to assist in the harvesting and sale of timber or by an accredited forester.
Under this bill, DNR may not prescribe the amount of forest products or timber to
be removed if the notice of intention to cut was provided to DNR by additional
persons meeting specified education and work experience requirements.
Under current law, an owner may designate MFL as closed to public access. The
closed area may consist of a quarter-quarter section, a government lot, a fractional
lot, or a combination thereof or up to 160 acres in each municipality. Under this bill,
an owner may designate any MFL as closed to public access, and the limit on acreage
that can be designated as closed applies only to land owned by a business entity.
This bill also allows an owner of land designated as closed to permit a person
who performs land management activities on the land to access the land to conduct
Under current law, a "forest production area" is an area in a state forest that
DNR has classified as an area in which the primary management objective relates
to the production of timber and other forest products. This bill requires DNR to
propose a variance to the master plans of all state forests except for the southern
state forests and Governor Knowles State Forest so that 75 percent of all the land
in those state forests combined is classified as a forest production area.
Under current law, DNR conducts a natural heritage inventory program to
determine the existence and degree of endangerment of natural areas. Under this
bill, activities under the program related to private property may be conducted only
with the permission of the property owner.
This bill authorizes DNR to prepare a state wildlife action plan that identifies
which native wildlife species with low or declining populations are most at risk and
that provides guidance for activities to conserve those species. The plan may not
require action by property owners or the department and may not be referenced as
guidance on DNR forms.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
20.370 (1) (cr) of the statutes is amended to read:
(cr) Forestry — recording fees.
All moneys received under ss. 77.82 3
(2m) (d) and (4) and 77.88 (2) (d) (ac) 1.
for the payment of fees to the registers of deeds 4
under s. 77.91 (5).
23.0951 of the statutes is created to read:
623.0951 Wildlife action plan.
The department may prepare a state wildlife 7
action plan that identifies which native wildlife species with low or declining 8
populations are most at risk and provides guidance for activities to conserve those 9
species. The plan may not require action by property owners or the department. The 10
department may not require that the plan be used as guidance on official department 11
23.27 (3) (c) of the statutes is created to read:
(c) Rights of property owners.
The department may conduct activities 14
under this subsection related to private property only with the permission of the 15
owner of the property.
26.06 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
Foresters, forest supervisors, rangers and wardens of the department 18
and the cruisers and foresters of the board of commissioners of public lands have the 19
enforcement powers specified in s. 26.97 with respect to, and may seize, without 20
process, any forest products unlawfully severed from public lands of the state, federal 21
lands leased to the state, county forest lands entered under s. 28.11, forest croplands
entered under subch. I of ch. 77 or managed forest land designated under subch. VI 2
of ch. 77. Seized products cut from lands under the control of the board of 3
commissioners of public lands shall be held for the commissioners and those cut from 4
forest croplands, managed forest land or county forest shall be held for the owner, 5
and subject to the payment of severance taxes, yield taxes or
severance share thereon 6
to the state. Products cut from state forest lands or federal lands leased to the 7
department shall be appraised and sold. Products appraised at more than $500 shall 8
be sold on sealed bids not less than 10 days after a class 1 notice has been published, 9
under ch. 985, in the county where the material is located. Any sheriff may seize and 10
hold for the owner thereof any forest products unlawfully severed or removed.
74.25 (1) (a) 6. of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) 6. Pay to the county treasurer 20% 20 percent
of collections of 13
occupational taxes on coal docks, 20% 20 percent
of collections of the taxes imposed 14
under ss. 77.04 and 77.84 (2) (a) and,
(am), and (bp)
, and all 20 percent of
of payments for lands under s. 77.84 (2) (b), and
(bm), and (bp)
74.30 (1) (f) of the statutes is amended to read:
(f) Pay to the county treasurer 20% 20 percent
of collections of 18
occupational taxes on coal docks, 20% 20 percent
of collections of the taxes imposed 19
under ss. 77.04 and 77.84 (2) (a) and,
(am), and (bp)
, and all 20 percent of
of payments for lands under s. 77.84 (2) (b), and
(bm), and (bp)
75.36 (2) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) If property is acquired by a county taking a tax deed under this 23
chapter, the county is not required to pay any special charges or special assessments 24
until the property is sold by the county. In the case of lands designated as forest 25
croplands or managed forest lands, the county is not required to pay any taxes under
s. 77.04, 77.07 or 77.87
until the forest crop is cut. The liens of the tax certificate and 2
of all general property taxes, special assessments, special charges and special taxes 3
levied against the property shall merge in the county's title.
(a) No person shall cut any merchantable wood products on any forest 7
croplands where the forest crop taxes are delinquent nor until 30 days after the 8
owner has filed with the department of natural resources a notice of intention to cut, 9
specifying by descriptions and the estimated amount of wood products to be removed 10
and the proportion of present volume to be left as growing stock in the area to be cut. 11The department of natural resources may require a bond executed by some surety
12company licensed in this state or other surety for such amount as may reasonably
13be required for the payment to the department of natural resources of the severance
14tax hereinafter provided.
Merchantable wood products include all wood products 15
except wood used for fuel by the owner.
77.06 (1) (b) 2. of the statutes, as created by 2015 Wisconsin Act 55
is renumbered 77.06 (1) (b) 2. (intro.) and amended to read:
(b) 2. (intro.) If The department of natural resources may not
19prescribe the amount of forest products to be cut if
the notice of intention to cut was 20
provided to the department of natural resources
by a any of the following:
cooperating forester authorized under s. 28.05 to assist the state in the 22
harvesting and sale of timber, or by a forester accredited by the Society of American
23Foresters, Association of Consulting Foresters, or Wisconsin Consulting Foresters,
24the department may not prescribe the amount of forest products to be removed
77.06 (1) (b) 2. b. of the statutes is created to read:
(b) 2. b. A forester accredited by the Society of American Foresters, 2
Association of Consulting Foresters, or Wisconsin Consulting Foresters.
77.06 (1) (b) 2. c. of the statutes is created to read:
(b) 2. c. A person who holds at least a bachelor's degree from a forestry 5
program provided by a nationally or regionally accredited institution of higher 6
education and who has engaged in the equivalent of 5 years of full-time work 7
preparing forest management plans or marking trees for cutting.
77.06 (1) (b) 2. d. of the statutes is created to read:
(b) 2. d. A person who holds a degree or diploma from a 2-year forestry 10
program provided by an accredited technical or vocational school and who has 11
engaged in the equivalent of 5 years of full-time work preparing forest management 12
plans or marking trees for cutting.
(c) Cutting in excess of the amount prescribed by the department of 16
natural resources, or cutting that the department finds is inconsistent with sound 17
forestry practices, shall render the owner liable to double the severance tax
18prescribed in s. 77.06 (5) a forfeiture equal to 20 percent of the value of the timber
and subject to cancellation under s. 77.10.
77.06 (5) of the statutes is repealed.
77.10 (1) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) The department of natural resources shall on the application of 25
the department of revenue or the owner of any forest croplands or the town board of
the town in which said lands lie and may on its own motion at any time cause an 2
investigation to be made and hearing to be had as to whether any forest croplands 3
shall continue under this subchapter. If on such hearing after due notice to and 4
opportunity to be heard by the department of revenue, the town and the owner, the 5
department of natural resources finds that any such lands are not meeting the 6
requirements set forth in s. 77.02 or that the owner has made use of the land for 7
anything other than forestry or has failed to practice sound forestry on the land, the 8
department of natural resources shall cancel the entry of such description and issue 9
an order of withdrawal, and the owner shall be liable for the tax and penalty under 10
sub. (2). Copies of the order of withdrawal specifying the description shall be filed 11
by the department of natural resources with all officers designated to receive copies 12
of the order of entry and withdrawal and this subchapter shall not thereafter apply 13
to the lands withdrawn, except s. 77.07 so far as it may be needed to collect any
14previously levied severance or supplemental severance tax
. If the owner shall not 15
repay the amounts on or before the last day of February next succeeding the return 16
of such lands to the general property tax roll as provided in sub. (4), the department 17
of natural resources shall certify to the county treasurer the descriptions and the 18
amounts due, and the county treasurer shall sell such lands as delinquent as 19
described in s. 77.04 (2). Whenever any county clerk has certified to the taking of tax 20
deed under s. 77.04 (2) the department of natural resources shall issue an order of 21
withdrawal as to the lands covered in such tax deed. Such order may also be issued 22
when examination of tax records reveals prolonged delinquency and noncompliance 23
with the requirements of s. 77.04 (2).
77.81 (4m) of the statutes is created to read:
"Natural disaster" means fire, ice, snow, wind, flooding, insects, 2
drought, or disease.
77.81 (6) of the statutes is amended to read:
"Recreational activities" include means recreational outdoor
5activities that are compatible with the practice of forestry, as determined by the
6department. "Recreational activities" includes
hunting, fishing, hiking, 7
sight-seeing, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and staying in cabins.
77.82 (1) (a) 1. of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) 1. It consists of at least 10 20
contiguous acres, except as provided 10
in this subdivision. The fact that a lake, river, stream or flowage, a public or private 11
road or a railroad or utility right-of-way separates any part of the land from any 12
other part does not render a parcel of land noncontiguous. If a part of a parcel of at 13
least 10 20
contiguous acres is separated from another part of that parcel by a public 14
road, that part of the parcel may be enrolled in the program, even if that part is less 15
than 10 20
acres, if that part meets the requirement under subd. 2. and is not 16
ineligible under par. (b). The owner of a parcel of less than 20 acres that is subject
17to a managed forest land order before the effective date of this subdivision .... [LRB
18inserts date], may apply one time for a renewal of the order under sub. (12) without
19meeting the 20-acre requirement.
77.82 (1) (b) 3. of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) 3. A parcel that is developed for a human residence on which a
22building or an improvement associated with a building is located. This provision first
23applies to managed forest land subject to an order on the effective date of this
24subdivision .... [LRB inserts date]
77.82 (1) (bn) of the statutes is repealed.
77.82 (1) (bp) of the statutes is created to read:
(bp) 1. For purposes of par. (b) 3., and except as provided in subd. 2., 3
an improvement is any of the following:
a. Any accessory building, structure, or fixture that is built or placed on the 5
parcel for its benefit.
b. Landscaping that is done on the parcel.
2. An improvement does not include any of the following:
a. A public or private road.
b. A railroad or utility right-of-way.
c. A fence, unless the fence prevents the free and open movement of wild 11
animals across any portion of the parcel.
f. Hunting blinds, as specified by rules promulgated by the department.
g. Structures and fixtures that are needed for sound forestry practices.
77.82 (2) (dm) of the statutes is amended to read:
(dm) A Subject to sub. (12), a
proposed management plan.
77.82 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
77.82 (4) Additions to managed forest land.
An owner of land that is 20
designated as managed forest land under an order that takes effect on or after April
may file an application with the department to designate as managed forest 22
land an additional parcel of land if the additional parcel is at least 3 acres in size and 23
is contiguous to any of that designated land. The application shall be accompanied 24
by a nonrefundable $20 application recording fee unless a different amount for the 25
fee is established by the department by rule at an amount equal to the average
expense to the department of recording an order issued under this subchapter. The 2
fee shall be deposited in the conservation fund and credited to the appropriation 3
under s. 20.370 (1) (cr). The application shall be filed on a department form and shall 4
contain any additional information required by the department. The tax rate
5applicable to an addition under this subsection shall be the tax rate currently
6applicable to the parcel to which the land is being added.
77.82 (4g) of the statutes is repealed.
77.82 (11) of the statutes is amended to read:
77.82 (11) Duration; effect of changes.
An order issued
under this subchapter 10remains shall constitute a contract between the state and the owner and shall
in effect for the period specified in the application unless the land is 12
withdrawn under s. 77.84 (3) (b) or 77.88. An amendment to or repeal of this
13subchapter does not affect the terms of an order or management plan, except as
14expressly agreed to in writing by the owner and the department and except Except 15
as provided in sub. subs. (3) (f) and
(11m), the department may not amend or
16otherwise change the terms of an order or management plan to conform with changes
17made to any provision of this subchapter subsequent to the date on which the order
18was entered or the plan was approved. If a statute is enacted or a rule is promulgated
19during the period of the order that materially changes the terms of the order, the
20landowner shall elect between acceptance of modifications to the contract consistent
21with the provisions of the statute or rule or voluntary withdrawal of the land without
77.82 (12) of the statutes is renumbered 77.82 (12) (a) (intro.) and 24
amended to read:
(a) (intro.) An owner of managed forest land may file an application 2
with the department under sub. (2) for renewal of the order. An application for 3
renewal shall be filed no later than the June 1 before the expiration date of the order. 4
The application shall specify whether the owner wants the order renewed for 25 or 5
50 years. The provisions under subs. (3),
(5), (6), and (7) do not apply to an application 6
under this subsection paragraph
. The department may deny the application only if 7the any of the following applies: