More than one million private acres classified as open for public use under a landowner-incentive program are easier for outdoor enthusiasts to find thanks to a new online state mapping tool unveiled by the state.
Earlier this year, Gov. Scott Walker directed the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop a mapping system as a short-term solution, while a more comprehensive mapping application is developed by the department.
“The Managed Forest Law (MFL) is a valuable program for the overall health and productivity of our forests,” Gov. Walker said. “MFL land plays an important role in Wisconsin’s timber industry, the tourism industry, and in our state’s rich hunting heritage. Lands enrolled as ‘open’ in this program must be accessible. The mapping tool will raise awareness about specific parcels of land that are open to the public.”
Created by the DNR, the Web-based mapping tool will help users find privately owned land open for specific recreational activities under the Managed Forest Law. This law is a landowner-incentive program that incorporates sustainable forest practices, such as timber harvesting, wildlife management, water quality and recreation – while improving public access to these lands.
“We understand some of the MFL land parcels are hard to find,” DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said. “This new tool was developed in response to immediate concerns that some of the lands are hard to find, especially for the upcoming hunting season. We have been working on a more detailed system that will digitize the tens of thousands of maps associated with the tax law programs. However, because of the size of that project, we wanted to take action now to provide better information in the interim.”
To access the mapping tool which also includes lands enrolled under the Forest Crop Law, visit the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov, and type “MFL open land” in the Search or Keywords field.