Wisconsin MFL change?

  • Jeremy
    Richland County, WI
    Posts: 677

    I just received this in an email, haven’t heard of the change at all. I actually think this would be a good idea, its intent is to punish landowners charging people to hunt/fish on land that should be open to the public, the landowners are already getting tax breaks for allowing public access. Here is the email:

    The Wisconsin Legislature has passed a new Managed Forest Law that bans many recreational uses on 2,900,000 acres of privately owned land.

    ‘The specific recreational activities covered in the new law are hunting, fishing, hiking, sight-seeing, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and staying in cabins.’

    Source: DNR Letter sent to 29,000 forest land owners on October 30, 2007

    from: Kathryn J. Nelson

    Forest Tax Section Chief

    Division of Forestry

    Wisconsin DNR

    Land owners are being required by the DNR to terminate verbal and written leases with hunters by January 1, 2008.

    Source: DNR Letter sent to 29,000 forest land owners on October 30, 2007

    New changes in Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law ban all types of outdoor recreation on 2,900,000 acres of private forest land if the forest owner receives any type of compensation or consideration for the activity.

    Land owners allowing this type of recreation on their land will face immediate fines and additional potential Managed Forest Law penalties of tens of thousands of dollars.

    The DNR Forest Tax Section intends to aggressively enforce the new Managed Forest Law. Their first major effort is likely focus on the spring turkey hunt followed by the 2008 deer hunt.

    The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2008.

    If the land you hunt, fish, ski, or ride on is part of the 2,900,000 acres of private forest covered by the new Managed Forest Law, this may be your last season to enjoy hunting, a cross-country ski trail, riding, or a secluded cabin in the woods.

    How did this happen?

    No hearings were ever conducted. This was a back room deal. The Managed Forest Law outdoor recreation ban was slipped into the state budget by the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on behalf of special interests.

    Who voted for this?

    All members of the Joint Finance Committee.

    Who are the legislators on the Joint Finance Committee?

    Use this link for a list of the Committee members and get their contact information. Please call them.


    Why didn’t Governor Doyle veto this law?

    Governor Doyle ignored repeated requests to veto this special interest legislation. Please contact Governor Doyle immediately at 608-266-1212. Governor Doyle’s email address is [email protected] Ask the Governor to call for legislation to repeal the Managed Forest Law outdoor recreation ban.

    Call your state Senators and Representatives immediately.

    This link has contact information for the State Legislature


    This one is for the State Senate


    Ask your Senator and Representative to sponsor or cosponsor legislation repealing the Managed Forest Law legislation banning many types of recreational use on private forest land. Your legislator will tell you that they need to study this issue.
    Follow up with calls every several days to determine if your legislator has finished studying the issue and is prepared to support repeal of the Managed Forest Law outdoor recreation ban.
    Please forward this message.

    The new law becomes effective January 1. Take action now to repeal the Managed Forest Law outdoor recreation ban.

    Hudson, WI
    Posts: 4143

    The way I read this, it will affect some positively, others negatively. For those who lease land in this program, you’ll be at risk of the landowner allowing you what amounts to free access since he/she cannot charge you to hunt.
    To me this is a positive, since I hunt a friends land that is in this program. With this legislation, my friends family will never feel they are missing out on lease income by allowing family/friends to hunt and I won’t need to feel guilty about not paying or offering to pay. I get down there 1-2 year to help maintain trails, cut wood, and help with general maintenance.

    I hope I’m reading this right, but it seems to make sense and should help to keep property values reasonable. Buffalo Cty land is selling at $4000+/acre and some are buying, subdividing and leasing to help make payments.

    There might be some good here. Again, if I’m reading this right.


    Posts: 5130


    New changes in Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law ban all types of outdoor recreation on 2,900,000 acres of private forest land if the forest owner receives any type of compensation or consideration for the activity.

    From what I gather on this, is the State is trying to stop the “double dipping”. The landowners are already being paid from the State on lands that are enrolled in the Forest Management. These lands are supposed to be open to the public with certain parameters built in. If these same landowners are also charging people to use the land, they are in violation of the rules.

    From what I remember from reading the rules and regulations on this subsidy, once the landowner charges a fee for land use, other than what the State is paying, then it turns into a “recreational” property and they can lose the right to have the land enrolled and also subject to repaying the State for what has been paid.

    Personally, I feel it is only right to not allow the landowners to double dip the system. Landowners signed the paperwork when they enrolled in the program knowing fully the requirements to be in the program.

    But, if this is a full ban on using the land for ANY outdoor recreational use, that is going to stir up a hornets nest that I really don’t think they want to play with, especially in a state where hunting and other outdoor uses are rooted deeply with tradition.

    Posts: 15

    From what we are learning here at school at UW-Stevens Point is that it is to stop the double dipping. The landowners are getting a tax break to begin with. There are two MFL sections, one is closed, and the other which is open to public. When the people are leasing, they are usually doing this on the land that is closed to the public, but they are still recieving a tax break but just not as big. The double dipping is what it hurting us all. Sucks for those landowners but then again they screwed us all out of our own tax dollars and hunting dollars. Glad to see this is being stopped

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