Wednesday, July 15, 2009

$86 Million for "Public Lands"? Maybe Not-So-Public

The DNR (Damn Near Russia) is poised to strike again.

Back a few years ago, the Republicans agreed to fund Wisconsin 'public-land acquisition' at the rate of $86 million/year in exchange for ensuring that those lands would actually be accessible by the public.

DNR was given authority to write rules governing access, but the legislative intent was to preserve "access," not limit it. Recreational uses such as hunting/trapping/fishing were to be allowed, if at all possible, subject to reasonable limitations.

But DNR doesn't like all those damn filthy taxpayers who PAID FOR the land tramping all over

During this year's budget process, the co-chairs of the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee, state Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona) and state Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison), sought to jettison the delimiting statutory provision altogether, but the proposal was deleted after a howl of protests from various outdoors' and sports' groups, aided by Republican lawmakers

That was only Chapter One.

...DNR convened a 29-member citizens' advisory group to help write the rule, much like the advisory group impaneled for the recent rewrite of the state's NR115 shoreland zoning code.

As with that latter group, some members of the panel have privately fumed about the agency's behavior during the meetings, saying, off the record, the DNR wasn't listening to what members had to say.

DNR? "Not listening"? Be still, my heart!!

...George Meyer, himself a member of the advisory committee, also alluded to the possibility the rule process could be subverted.

"We will need to be continually vigilant on this issue," Meyer wrote. "There are hints that a separate legislative bill may be introduced deleting the Stewardship public access requirements and we are also anticipating that those opposed to public access for hunting, fishing and trapping will try to water down the access requirements by rules which will be going to the Natural Resources Board later this year."

The concerns are justified by DNR's track record.

"We learned that the statement '97% of all stewardship land was open to hunting' did not reflect the real picture," Nania said. "Many properties were open for hunting during a day or two of the deer season and closed to everything else the rest of the year." [Nania is Exec Director of the Wisconsin Waterfowl Ass'n.]

Not only its track record. Also by "interim protocol" which, in effect, will limit land use. long as the DNR is tightening restrictions and determining the merits of objections to those restrictions, the NRB won't get involved. For some, using that interim protocol would lead to more closed land - and for a lot more activities than just hunting - and thus far the agency seems to heading in that direction.

At $86 million/year of your money, it's worth keeping up with DNR's internal machinations.

HT: FoxPolitics


Anonymous said...

My family owns land in a subdivision just south of Sturgeon Bay along the shores of Green Bay. The area has a boat channel and a swimming pond as part of the subdivision. A group of wealthy residents pour weed killer into the water each year and are granted a permit from the DNR to do so. They do not have the consent of all who live there to do this. In fact, we are allowed no voice at all in the matter. These are arrogant people with yachts and multiple homes – largely out-of-state residents. They don’t care about fouling the water for the rest of us. Their convenience is their priority. I spoke to the “water quality DNR representative” a couple of years ago and she actually told me that the use of these chemicals was unnecessary, but they approve the application anyway!

We have a garden on our property and we don’t like being forced to pour chemically treated water on our vegetable plants. We used to swim in the pond, but now we don’t because we don’t want our family exposed to these chemicals. It is outrageous when we pay taxes to have our waterways protected from chemicals by the DNR, that they allow a small group of privileged people to pour chemicals directly into Green Bay and taint the water for everyone. The agency that is charged with the duty of safeguarding our waters is instead facilitating their pollution. I am at a loss at how to proceed to get this stopped. I think the public needs to demand an end to it before anything will change.

The person at Wisconsin DNR that OK’s the poisoning permit every year is Mary Gansberg, in the Green Bay office (email: ) If you think this is wrong and should stop, or just want confirmation of what you have read, I hope you will email her.

Thank you.

Dad29 said...

we don’t like being forced to pour chemically treated water on our vegetable plants, exactly, do you do that? Pump it directly from the chem-treated pond?

I'm not sympathetic to DNR, but I cannot imagine that DNR allows chem-treatment of water which would poison your children.