Winter Timber Sale

Key provisions of revised MFL program detailed

The agency is gathering feedback on drafts

MADISON and RHINELANDER -- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff are gathering reactions to draft regulations based on the revised managed forest land tax law (Act 358, which was passed in 2016).

Here are some key provisions in the draft regulations and reactions gathered at public hearings on Feb. 12 and 13 in Madison and Rhinelander:

  1. While the MFL bars most structures on forest land enrolled in the program, the law loosened limits for temporary structures. The draft regs specifically mentioned recreational vehicles and hunting blinds. There was a call at the hearings to also cite forestry sheds (for storage of tools and equipment) in the regs. R.J. Wickham, Head of the Tax Law Section of the DNR, said that additions will be considered as the regulations are finalized.
  2. There also was feedback to a draft provision that cited forest management plans as “contracts” that might be changed unilaterally. While the DNR might foresee natural circumstances which would suggest the need for rapid adjustments, changes could be made in the draft regulations that provide greater clarity and for more communication with the affected landowner, Wickham said.
  3. The draft rules provide guidance regarding both additions to and withdrawals from a parcel enrolled in the MFL system. For instance, additions of three acres or greater can occur if the land is contiguous and meets all other eligibility requirements.
  4. The draft rules would allow cutting notices to be extended beyond one year with a less formal process if the circumstances have not changed. Also, the harvest should be completed in a reasonable time and the person or entity who submitted the cutting notice makes contact with the DNR.
  5. The draft rules note that Act 358 that allows up to 320 acres of closed land in a municipality per landowner.

Wickham said that the DNR will be gathering written comments about the draft regulations through Friday. Changes will be considered based on feedback received in these comments and those received at the hearings.

The proposed regulations will go to the Natural Resources Board, the DNR Secretary and finally to Gov. Tony Evers, with the hope or finalization and approval by June.

The proposed rule can be accessed here:
https://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/documents/rules/FR2316DraftRule.pdf

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