Department of Natural Resources.
To all to whom these presents shall come, greeting:
Know ye, that reposing special trust and confidence in the integrity and ability of ...., of the county of ...., we do hereby appoint and constitute .... a conservation warden (or county, or special conservation warden) for the (county of ....), state of Wisconsin, and do authorize and empower .... to execute and fulfill the duties of that office according to law, during good behavior and the faithful performance of the duties of that office.
In testimony whereof, the secretary has hereunto affixed the secretary's signature and the official seal of the department, at its office in the city of Madison, Wisconsin, this .... day of ...., .... (year)
(Seal) State of Wisconsin
Department of Natural Resources.
By .... ....
The department of natural resources shall furnish to each conservation warden at the time of the warden's appointment, a pocket identification folder in form and substance as follows: A leather-covered folder, size when folded, 3 by 4 inches; on one of the inner sides thereof shall be securely fastened a photograph of such appointee to be furnished by the appointee, and partly on the photograph and partly on the margin of such folder shall be an impression of the seal of the department of natural resources; such appointee shall also affix the appointee's signature below the photograph on such folder; on the other inner side of such folder shall be securely fastened a miniature true copy of the commission issued to such appointee, which shall be signed by the secretary. The appointee shall carry the identification folder on his or her person at all times that the appointee is on official duty, and the appointee shall on demand exhibit the same to any person to whom the appointee may represent himself or herself as a conservation warden. The cost of such identification folder shall be charged to the appropriation for the department.
All conservation wardens shall make full and complete reports of their transactions as such, according to the demand of the department and shall at all times be subject to its direction and control in the performance of their duties. They shall also gather and transmit all statistical information relative to such matters within their charge as the department directs. In its report under s. 15.04 (1) (d)
the department shall include information covering all its work and such other information as is valuable to the state in relation thereto and an itemized statement of receipts and disbursements.
General powers. 23.11(1)(1)
In addition to the powers and duties heretofore conferred and imposed upon said department by this chapter it shall have and take the general care, protection and supervision of all state parks, of all state fish hatcheries and lands used therewith, of all state forests, and of all lands owned by the state or in which it has any interests, except lands the care and supervision of which are vested in some other officer, body or board; and said department is granted such further powers as may be necessary or convenient to enable it to exercise the functions and perform the duties required of it by this chapter and by other provisions of law. But it may not perform any act upon state lands held for sale that will diminish their salable value.
Whenever any lands placed by law under the care and supervision of the department are inaccessible because surrounded by lands belonging to individuals or corporations, and whenever in the opinion of the department the usefulness or value of such lands, whether so surrounded or not, will be increased by access thereto over lands not belonging to the state, the department may acquire such lands as may be necessary to construct highways that will furnish the needed access.
The department shall have police supervision over all state-owned lands and property under its supervision, management and control, and its duly appointed agents or representatives may arrest, with or without warrant, any person within such area, committing an offense against the laws of this state or in violation of any rule of the department in force in such area, and deliver such person to the proper court of the county wherein such offense has been committed and make and execute a complaint charging such person with the offense committed. The district attorney of the county wherein such offense has been committed shall appear and prosecute all actions arising under this subsection.
The department may require an applicant for a permit or statutory approval which the department, by order, may grant, to submit an environmental impact report if the area affected exceeds 40 acres, the estimated cost of the project exceeds $25,000, or the applicant is requesting approval for a high capacity well described in s. 281.34 (4) (a) 1.
See also chs. NR 1
, and 150
, Wis. adm. code.
This section lacks any substantive criteria by which a petitioner could use s. 227.52 or 227.53 to challenge a Department of Natural Resources decision regarding state parks, and nothing in the text protects, recognizes, or regulates any person's interest in state parks or contemplates a challenge to agency action related to state parks. Friends of the Black River Forest v. Kohler Co., 2022 WI 52
, 402 Wis. 2d 587
, 977 N.W.2d 342
Under sub. (4), Department of Natural Resources wardens have general law enforcement authority on state-owned lands and property under the department's supervision, management, and control. 68 Atty. Gen. 326.
Designation of chief state forester.
The secretary shall designate the administrator of the division of forestry in the department as the chief state forester. The chief state forester shall be a professional forester as recognized by the Society of American Foresters.
History: 2001 a. 16
Duties of the chief state forester. 23.114(1)(a)
In this section, “state forest land" means all forested lands owned by this state and under the jurisdiction of the department.
Except as provided in par. (c)
, the chief state forester may declare, and shall manage, emergencies that threaten state forest lands. The department shall promulgate rules specifying those emergencies over which the chief state forester shall have management responsibility. The emergencies specified in the rules shall include invasive species or pest infestation, disease, and damage to timber from fire, snow, hail, ice, or wind.
does not apply to a state of emergency declared by the governor under s. 323.10
and does not supersede the authority of the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection under ch. 94
The chief state forester shall report directly to the secretary of the department.
History: 2005 a. 166
; 2009 a. 42
See also s. NR 45.075
, Wis. adm. code.
Designation of trails, etc. 23.115(1)(1)
The department shall designate trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and other special use areas located on property under its control. The department may designate roads located on property under its control. The designated roads, trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and other special use areas shall be shown on maps available at the department's district office, on a sign outside the office on the property or on signs placed by the designated roads, trails, campgrounds, picnic areas or other use areas at the option of the department.
The department shall inspect trail signs and designated features twice a year, once before July 1 and once after July 1.
does not apply to snowmobile trails on land under the control of the department that are maintained by snowmobile clubs or other nonprofit organizations or to water trails under s. 23.175 (2) (a)
does not apply to roads designated under sub. (1)
History: 1977 c. 418
; 1983 a. 418
; Stats. 1983 s. 23.115; 1995 a. 294
; 2013 a. 20
Department property; mapping and access to roads. 23.116(1)(1)
“Department property" means a property that is owned by the state, that is under the jurisdiction of the department, and that is used for one of the purposes specified in s. 23.09 (2) (d)
The department shall inventory and map all roads that are located on each department property. Each map shall designate which roads are open to the public for the use of motorized vehicles and shall state when each road is open or closed for such use.
For each department property, the department shall work with members of the public, governmental units, and other interested parties to prepare a plan for allowing the public to use motorized vehicles on the department property. Ecological, economic, and social criteria shall be considered in preparing each plan. Each plan shall include methods for implementing the plan, and each plan shall contain criteria to be used in determining when the use of motorized vehicles may be restricted or temporarily prohibited by the department due to logging or other activities.
The department may not prohibit a person engaged in silviculture from crossing a recreational trail on department property. At the request of a person engaging in silviculture, the department shall temporarily close a portion of a recreational trail on department property. Before the recreational trail is reopened, the person engaging in silviculture affecting the recreational trail shall restore any portion of the recreational trail affected by the silvicultural activities to its condition prior to those activities. The department may not limit the scope of a silvicultural activity on department property based on the proximity of that activity to a recreational trail on department property.
History: 2013 a. 20
; 2015 a. 55
Sale of insect repellant. 23.1165(2)
The department shall ensure that insect repellant is available for purchase in every state park and state forest through one of the following methods:
Making insect repellant available for sale at the state park office, state forest office, or other location in the state park or state forest at all times when the office or other location is open to the public and staffed.
Arranging by agreement with a friends group that operates a concession stand in a state park or state forest to have insect repellant available for purchase in that concession stand when open to the public and staffed.
The requirement under sub. (2)
does not apply with respect to a state park or state forest if there is no state park office, state forest office, or other location in the state park or state forest where the department can make insect repellant available for sale or no friends group that operates a concession stand in the state park or state forest or, if the state park or state forest office, other location, or friends group concession stand sells out of insect repellant, for an amount of time that is sufficient to allow for restocking.
History: 2019 a. 74
Use of trails by bicycles and electric personal assistive mobility devices. 23.117(1)(1)
No person may operate a bicycle, electric scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device on a trail in a state park or in the Kettle Moraine state forest unless the department has determined that the trail will be opened for use by bicycles, electric scooters, or electric personal assistive mobility devices and has posted the trail open for such use.
The department shall patrol on a regular basis the trails in state parks and in the Kettle Moraine state forest that are open to use by bicycles, electric scooters, or electric personal assistive mobility devices.
Any council that is created by the natural resources board under s. 15.04 (1) (c)
to advise the department on the opening of trails in state parks and in the Kettle Moraine state forest for use by bicycles, electric scooters, or electric personal assistive mobility devices shall have its recommendations regarding such use reviewed and approved by the natural resources board before they are implemented.
The department shall, in consultation with the department of health services, design signs to raise awareness of Lyme disease, inform about how to prevent tick bites, and encourage people to check for ticks after visits to state parks, state trails, state recreational areas, and campgrounds. No later than July 1, 2020, the department shall post at least one such sign in each state park, state trail, state recreational area, and state forest. The department shall post the sign in a common area where it is most likely to be seen by visitors, such as a park entrance, trailhead, or campground.
History: 2019 a. 73
Lyme disease awareness. 23.1185(1)(1)
If the department produces a brochure for a specific state park that includes information about the state park that is not solely a map of the park, the department shall also include in the brochure information on Lyme disease, how to prevent tick bites, and that visitors are encouraged to check for ticks after visiting the park.
Annually in the month of May, in connection with Lyme Disease Awareness Month, the department shall conduct a Lyme disease awareness campaign with the goal of raising awareness of Lyme disease, informing on how to prevent tick bites, and encouraging people to check for ticks after spending time outdoors. The campaign shall use some combination of digital platforms, including the department's Internet site, social media, and digital newsletters, and print platforms, including the Wisconsin natural resources magazine.
History: 2019 a. 158
; 2021 a. 240
Consent to use certain off-highway vehicles. 23.119(1)(b)
“Off-highway vehicle" means a motor-driven craft or vehicle principally manufactured for off-highway use but does not include a snowmobile, an all-terrain vehicle, utility terrain vehicle, or an off-highway motorcycle.
No person may operate an off-highway vehicle on private property without the consent of the owner of the property.
No person may operate an off-highway vehicle on public property that is posted as closed to the operation of off-highway vehicles or on which the operation of an off-highway vehicle is prohibited by law.
Said natural resources board may make and establish such rules and bylaws, not inconsistent with law, as it deems useful to itself and its subordinates in the conduct of the business entrusted to it.
Natural resources board member conflicts of interest. 23.125(1)(1)
If a member of the natural resources board is the holder of a permit or license issued by the department under chs. 280
, that member may not engage in a discussion at a board meeting or participate in a board decision on any matter that substantially relates to the permit or license.
If a member of the natural resources board receives, or has during the previous 2 years received, a significant portion of his or her income directly or indirectly from a holder of or applicant for a permit or license issued by the department under chs. 280
, that member may not engage in a discussion at a board meeting or participate in a board decision on any matter that substantially relates to the permit or license, except that this restriction does not apply with respect to a permit or license held or applied for by an agency, department, or subdivision of this state.
History: 2001 a. 16
Governor to be informed.
The board of commissioners of public lands and the department of natural resources shall furnish to the governor upon the governor's request a copy of any paper, document or record in their respective offices and give the governor orally such information as the governor may call for.
History: 1971 c. 164
; 1991 a. 316
Forest land inventory and report. 23.135(1)(1)
In this section, “state forest land" means any parcel of 10 or more contiguous acres of forested land owned by this state and under the jurisdiction of the department.
The department shall undertake and maintain a current inventory of state forest lands. The inventory shall specify the condition of the forest resources in state forest lands.
If the department prohibits the use of timber harvesting on any state forest land, the department shall prepare a report that contains a projection of the long-term forest health effects, a projection of the economic effects, and a projection of the public benefits that result from that prohibition.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, if the department is required to prepare a report under sub. (3)
for any state forest land, the department shall prepare that report by January 1, 2010, and every 15 years thereafter.
If the department is required to prepare a report under sub. (3)
for any state forest land for which a master plan has not been approved, the department shall prepare that report upon approval of the master plan and every 15 years thereafter.
The department shall submit the report required under sub. (3)
to the council on forestry and to the appropriate standing committee in each house of the legislature under s. 13.172 (3)
History: 2005 a. 166
Approval required before new lands acquired.
Prior to the initial acquisition of any lands by the department after July 1, 1977, for any new facility or project, the proposed initial acquisition shall be submitted to the governor for his or her approval. New facilities or projects include, without limitation because of enumeration, state parks, state forests, recreation areas, public shooting, trapping or fishing grounds or waters, fish hatcheries, game farms, forest nurseries, experimental stations, endangered species preservation areas, picnic and camping grounds, hiking trails, cross-country ski trails, bridle trails, nature trails, bicycle trails, snowmobile trails, youth camps, land in the lower Wisconsin state riverway as defined in s. 30.40 (15)
, natural areas and wild rivers.
Certain land sales required. 23.145(1)(1)
The natural resources board shall on or before June 30, 2017, offer for sale at least 10,000 acres of land owned by the state, under the jurisdiction of the department, and outside of project boundaries that were established by the department on or before May 1, 2013.
If there is any outstanding public debt used to finance the acquisition of any land that is sold under sub. (1)
, the department shall deposit a sufficient amount of the net proceeds from the sale of the land in the bond security and redemption fund under s. 18.09
to repay the principal and pay the interest on the debt, and any premium due upon refunding any of the debt. If there is any outstanding public debt used to finance the acquisition of any land that is sold under sub. (1)
, the department shall then provide a sufficient amount of the net proceeds from the sale of the land for the costs of maintaining federal tax law compliance applicable to the debt. If the land was acquired with federal financial assistance, the department shall pay to the federal government any of the net proceeds required by federal law. If the land was acquired by gift or grant or acquired with gift or grant funds, the department shall adhere to any restriction governing use of the proceeds. If there is no such debt outstanding, there are no moneys payable to the federal government, and there is no restriction governing use of the proceeds, and if the net proceeds exceed the amount required to be deposited, paid, or used for another purpose under this subsection, the department shall use the net proceeds or remaining net proceeds from the sale of land under sub. (1)
to pay principal on outstanding public debt under the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson stewardship 2000 program under s. 23.0917