Wisconsin DNR Land Sale

State land under review for possible sale

Dawning of an understanding

A new state law requires the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to review state held lands for possible sale.  The department developed a land sale policy that reflects the requirements found in Wisconsin state statute.   That policy was shaped by public comments received at five informational meetings held throughout the state in October 2013 and by comments received through the public policy page of the DNR website.  The Natural Resources Board approved the final land sale policy in December 2013.

The general criteria used to determine whether a parcel should be considered for sale under this new law include parcels of land:

  • outside of a project boundary with difficult or no access for the DNR management purposes;
  • outside of a project boundary with limited or no public access;
  • outside of a project boundary that have limited public recreational or natural resources value as determined by field review criteria established elsewhere in this sub-chapter;
  • that have been identified for sale as a result of a Natural Resources Board action; and
  • recommended for sale as a result of a master planning process or other department action.

Doug Haag, Deputy Bureau Director for the Bureau of Facilities and Lands.

“This is the next step in a process that began shortly after the new law went in to effect on July 1.  Now we are conducting field reviews of the parcels. During the field review process, staff will assess the recreational and biological values of the property.  They will also consider whether there is legal access to the land, or whether the land was designated for sale through some past action of the Natural Resources Board.”

Kurt Thiede, Land Division administrator.

“We intend to break this up into manageable phases”   “The timeline going forward includes completing the field reviews sometime around March 1, seeking government and tribal review during the month of March and into early April and then preparing the final package for review by the Natural Resource Board at its May meeting in Green Bay.  Parcels approved for sale by the Natural Resources Board in May will be marketed for sale in June, July and August 2014.”

“We have four years to meet our statutory requirement. We want to complete this work in an open and transparent manner and in a time frame that is manageable for staff and the Natural Resources Board. The sale of these public lands will allow us to re-purpose surplus lands and divest in lands that don’t serve an important role for DNR land management objectives, or public access.”

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources owns land and land rights of more than 1.7 million acres statewide. The required sale of 10,000 acres affects less than 1 percent of the WDNR land holdings. It is expected the second phase of the land sale  to begin later this year and carry over into 2015.

For list of proposed land sales click-  Parcels for field review

The Natural Resources Board has final say on which lands will be offered for sale and will make that determination based on recommendations from the department later this year.

Personally I’m unfamiliar with most of these lands.  Regarding those I know about they are  land locked with NO public access.  The parcels were “gifted” by the owners for a generous tax write off.  However, after the gift the previous owners refused to allow public access across their remaining land.  The end result- they took some marginal land off the property tax roles, gained a large income tax deduction  and still have private use of that land.  Some gift uh?



  1. Donald Anderson says

    651 346 9970
    looking to buy in w or nw wisc for perm residance and build ave size home and garage someday , not to resell folks, Thankyou

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