Ch. 28 Cross-reference
See definitions in s. 24.01
“Department" when used in this chapter without other words of description or qualification means the department of natural resources.
The department shall execute all matters pertaining to forestry within the jurisdiction of the state, direct the management of state forests, collect data relative to forest use and conditions and advance the cause of forestry within the state.
Forestry demonstration and education center.
The department shall develop a plan to establish a forestry demonstration and education center.
History: 2001 a. 16
State forests lands. 28.02(1)(1)
State forests lands include all lands granted to the state by an act of congress entitled, “An act granting lands to the state of Wisconsin for forestry purposes," approved June 27, 1906; all lands donated to the state by the Nebagamon Lumber Company for forestry purposes; all lands acquired pursuant to chapter 450, laws of 1903
, chapter 264, laws of 1905
, chapter 638, laws of 1911
, and chapter 639, laws of 1911
, or under ss. 1494-41 to 1494-62, 1915 stats., and all lands subsequently acquired for forestry purposes. Unless an island is designated as state forest land by the department, state forest lands do not include lands granted to the state by an act of congress entitled, “An act granting unsurveyed and unattached islands to the state of Wisconsin for forestry purposes," approved August 22, 1912. The department may designate as state forest lands any lands within state forest boundaries which were purchased with other conservation funds and where forestry would not conflict with a more intensive use.
The department may acquire lands or interest in lands by grant, devise, gift, condemnation or purchase within the boundaries of established state forests or purchase areas; and outside of such boundaries for forest nurseries, tracts for forestry research or demonstration and for forest protection structures, or for access to such properties. In the case of condemnation the department shall first obtain approval from the appropriate standing committees of each house of the legislature as determined by the presiding officer thereof.
Disposition of improvements.
Buildings not required for administrative or other public use may be razed for salvage material. Otherwise they shall be sold.
Sale of state forest lands. 28.02(4)(a)
Lands outside state forest boundaries may be sold pursuant to s. 23.15
Lands within state forest boundaries may be sold pursuant to s. 23.15
, after public hearing in the county courthouse of the county in which the lands to be sold are located, following class 2 notices published, under ch. 985
, in the county, and in the official state paper, for the following purposes only:
To a local unit of government when required for a public use.
To others for the purpose of making land adjustments due to occupancy resulting from errors of survey.
To public utilities, cooperatives organized under ch. 185
to furnish gas, light, heat, power, or water to their members, and to telecommunications cooperatives formed under ch. 185
when needed for power and telecommunications substations, transformers, booster stations and similar installations.
When no longer needed for conservation purposes.
The department may grant easements for a right-of-way for public or private roads or public utility lines, or for flowage rights where it finds that any such use at the designated location does not conflict with the planned development of the forest. Easements for public roads shall be granted for a nominal sum; in all other cases the appraised value shall be required in payment.
Certain leases forbidden.
No lease shall hereafter be issued or any existing lease extended or renewed by the department on any unsurveyed and unattached islands in inland lakes north of the township line between townships 33 and 34 north, and granted to the state by an act of congress, approved August 22, 1912, entitled “An act granting unsurveyed and unattached islands to the state of Wisconsin for forestry purposes," except that the department may extend or renew any such leases in existence June 25, 1925, to public charitable, religious, educational or other associations not organized for profit, and except that the department may extend or renew any such leases in existence June 25, 1925, on islands upon which improvements have been made.
See also s. NR 1.42
, Wis. adm. code.
Annual allowable timber harvests. 28.025(1)(1)
In this section, “forested property" means forested property owned by this state and under the jurisdiction of the department from which timber is harvested.
The department shall establish annual allowable timber harvests for each forested property. The department may establish a single annual allowable timber harvest that applies to 2 or more forested properties in a particular region of this state, as determined by the department, if each one of those forested properties is smaller than 5,000 forested acres and if all of the proceeds from the sale of timber harvested on those combined forested properties are credited to appropriations under s. 20.370
that provide funding for the same purpose, as determined by the department.
By January 1, 2007, and biennially thereafter, the department shall submit a report to the council on forestry specifying the total timber harvest on each forested property for the previous biennium, except as provided under par. (b)
Notwithstanding subd. 1, the department shall submit its report to the council on forestry as required under subd. 1.
by January 1, 2009, and biennially thereafter, if the forested property that is the subject of the report has not been inventoried by the department under s. 23.135
If, under sub. (2)
, the department establishes an annual allowable timber harvest for combined forest properties, the department may submit a report that specifies the total timber harvest for these combined properties.
If the department submits a report under this section that states that the timber harvest for forested property in any biennium is less than 90 percent, or more than 110 percent, of the allowable timber harvest established under sub. (2)
, the council on forestry shall prepare a report containing the reasons for noncompliance and recommendations on methods of ensuring that the timber harvest is consistent with the annual allowable timber harvest established by the department under sub. (2)
. The council on forestry shall submit the report to the governor, to the department, and to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature under s. 13.172 (3)
History: 2005 a. 166
; 2007 a. 97
State forests. 28.03(1)(1)
State forests shall consist of well blocked areas of state owned lands which have been established as state forests by the department.
The state forests are designated as follows:
“American Legion State Forest" in Oneida County.
“Brule River State Forest" in Douglas County.
“Flambeau River State Forest" in Sawyer, Rusk and Price counties.
“Kettle Moraine State Forest" in Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Washington, Waukesha, Jefferson, Ozaukee and Walworth counties.
“Northern Highland State Forest" in Vilas and Iron counties.
“Point Beach State Forest" in Manitowoc County.
Department may name.
The department may designate by appropriate name any state forest not expressly named by the legislature.
American Legion State Forest. 28.035(1)(1)
The state forest located in townships 38 and 39 north, ranges 7, 8 and 9 east, Oneida County, shall be named the American Legion State Forest.
The department shall enter into an agreement with the Wisconsin department of the American Legion for hunting in the state forest lands described as lots 3, 4, 6 and 7 of section 8 and lots 2 and 3 of section 17, township 38 north, range 7 east, Oneida County, which are used in connection with Camp American Legion and which the Legion is now maintaining on this location as a restoration camp for sick and disabled veterans and their dependents.
The written lease entered into between the Wisconsin state department of the American Legion and the department of natural resources dated June 15, 1944, which leases Camp American Legion for a period of 10 years commencing June 1, 1944, shall continue in full force for an additional 10 years, and may be renewed for additional 10-year periods, notwithstanding the expiration of the term expressed in the lease, so long as the Wisconsin state department of the American Legion or any of the American Legion posts organized under s. 188.08
maintains on the property structures which were constructed prior to May 31, 1956, at the expense of the Wisconsin state department of the American Legion or any post, for the purpose of the rehabilitation, restoration, or recreation of veterans and their dependents of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Mexican border service, World Wars I and II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, and service in a crisis zone, as defined in s. 45.01 (11)
The ownership of all of the buildings and equipment of the camp shall revert to the state upon the discontinuance of the use thereof for such purposes. On or before January 15 of each year the department of the American Legion shall file with the governor, the department of veterans affairs and the department of natural resources a written report of the operations and the financial status of the camp.
Management of state forests. 28.04(1)(1)
In this section:
“Biological diversity" means the variety and abundance of species, their genetic composition, and the communities, ecosystems and landscapes in which they occur. “Biological diversity" also refers to the variety of ecological structures, functions and processes at any of these levels.
“Community" means an assemblage of species living together in a particular area, time and habitat.
“Ecological capability" means the potential of an area to support or develop one or more communities through management, with the potential being dependent on the area's abiotic attributes, its flora and fauna, its ecological processes and disturbances within and upon the area.
“Native" means indigenous to the area or region.
“Sustainable forestry" means the practice of managing dynamic forest ecosystems to provide ecological, economic, social and cultural benefits for present and future generations.
Purposes and benefits of state forests. 28.04(2)(a)
The department shall manage the state forests to benefit the present and future generations of residents of this state, recognizing that the state forests contribute to local and statewide economies and to a healthy natural environment. The department shall assure the practice of sustainable forestry and use it to assure that state forests can provide a full range of benefits for present and future generations. The department shall also assure that the management of state forests is consistent with the ecological capability of the state forest land and with the long-term maintenance of sustainable forest communities and ecosystems. These benefits include soil protection, public hunting, protection of water quality, production of recurring forest products, outdoor recreation, native biological diversity, aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, and aesthetics. The range of benefits provided by the department in each state forest shall reflect its unique character and position in the regional landscape.
In managing the state forests, the department shall recognize that not all benefits under par. (a)
can or should be provided in every area of a state forest.
In managing the state forests, the department shall recognize that management may consist of both active and passive techniques.
The department shall prepare a plan for each state forest that describes how the state forest will be managed. The department shall work with the public to identify property goals and objectives that are consistent with the purposes under sub. (2)
. The department shall identify in each plan the objectives of management for distinct areas of the state forest.
In this paragraph, “
forest production area" means an area in a state forest that has been classified by the department in preparing plans under par. (a)
as an area in which the primary management objective relates to the production of timber and other forest products.
Notwithstanding par. (a)
, the department shall do all of the following with respect to managing a forest production area:
Establish the primary management objective of a forest production area to be the production of timber and other forest products.
Maximize timber production on forest production areas while using accepted silvicultural practices.
Notwithstanding par. (a)
, the department may not do any of the following with respect to a managing a forest production area:
Classify the area under any other land management classification.
Authorize or prescribe timber management techniques and activities, including commercial timber harvests, that are not consistent with the specific management objectives in the plan and with locally accepted timber production practices common to the industry.
Use management activities or techniques in the area that are not authorized in the plan for that area.
The department may do all of the following with respect to managing a forest production area:
Vary the specific objectives for different forest production areas, taking into consideration only the site's capability to produce timber, the type of timber produced in the area, the market for forest products, and the economy.
Establish the specific objective of extracting economic value from land while managing for timber products.
Authorize any management activity or technique that is consistent with the management objective specified in the plan for that area and compatible with the area's ecological capability and the practice of forestry.
The department shall establish procedures for the preparation and modification of these plans, including procedures for public participation. In preparing and modifying plans under this subsection, the department shall use the best available information regarding the purposes and benefits of the state forests that the department acquires through inventories, evaluations, monitoring and research. In evaluating such information, the department shall consider both regional and local scales, including the impact on local economies. As new information becomes available, the department shall adapt its management of the state forest and, if necessary, the plan for the state forest.
History: 1995 a. 257
; 2015 a. 55
See also ch. NR 44
and s. NR 1.24
, Wis. adm. code.
The department has no authority to construct spectator sport facilities in state forests, nor has it authority to lease state forest lands for such purpose. 63 Atty. Gen. 519.
Forestry inventory; implementation. 28.042(1)(1)
The department shall undertake and maintain an inventory of forested areas on land owned by the state, including the areas of timber in these forested areas that have been or are to be harvested for purposes of state forestry management.
The department, in performing its duties under this chapter, shall give priority to the completion of the inventory described in sub. (1)
and the completion of the harvesting of timber that has been identified for harvesting in this inventory.
History: 2005 a. 25
Educational requirements for field foresters. 28.045(1)(1)
Every person hired as a field forester by the department on or after November 20, 2003, shall have received a bachelor's or higher degree in forestry from a school of forestry with a curriculum accredited by the Society of American Foresters or an equivalent degree, as determined by the chief state forester.
Notwithstanding s. 230.14 (3m)
, the department may require as a condition of application that an applicant for the position of field forester has met the educational requirements specified under sub. (1)
History: 2003 a. 66
Timber sales; state forests.