In order to fulfill the statutory charge of providing public hunting and trapping on wildlife areas, the quality of their wildlife habitat must be maintained or developed. However, this is not to be construed as authority for exclusive single-purpose management of entire properties. Wildlife habitat needs and public hunting objectives shall receive major consideration in management planning for wildlife areas; however, fishery, forestry, wild resource and outdoor recreational objectives will be accommodated when they are compatible and do not detract significantly from the primary objective.
The concept of a general user fee to fund operational activities on wildlife areas which require maintenance to keep them safe, functional and attractive is endorsed.
The following uses will be accommodated on wildlife areas in accord with the priorities and constraints of practical and scientific wildlife management principles and obligations:
(a) Public hunting and trapping.
The primary use on all designated wildlife areas shall be hunting and trapping. Legislation and regulations are encouraged to limit numbers of participants utilizing state land where necessary to insure opportunities for a quality recreational experience. The use of closed areas and/or refuges is endorsed to provide wildlife with required sanctuary from hunting and to protect property.
(b) Scientific study.
Relatively undisturbed biological systems on wildlife areas provide a unique opportunity for scientific research on natural or near-natural systems. Since a thorough knowledge of wildlife ecology is the basis of a sound wildlife management program, the designation of suitable tracts as scientific areas is encouraged.
(c) Compatible open-space uses.
Open-space pedestrian uses, including hiking, nature study, wildlife viewing and cross-country skiing are generally compatible with the primary purpose of wildlife areas. These activities will be accommodated but may have to be limited in time and location to avoid interference with wildlife production or survival and public hunting or trapping.
Limited primitive camping may be permitted on wildlife areas. Camping should not be encouraged nor will developments be undertaken to service campers except at locations designated in the property master plan.
(e) Off-road vehicles.
Unrestricted use of off-road vehicles, including snowmobiles, will not be permitted on wildlife areas. Agreements may be made with counties, other municipalities, or private clubs for the use and maintenance of designated trails or areas where such use will not be detrimental to wildlife or conflict with public hunting.
Indiscriminate horseback riding will not be permitted on wildlife areas. Use of horses may be permitted on designated trail systems, specific dog trial and training areas and in other areas where such use will not unduly damage wildlife habitat or conflict with wildlife production and public hunting.
(g) Special use permits.
Special use permits may be authorized for outdoor recreational activities such as organized youth group camping, dog trials, etc., but only where such activities do not conflict with each other and where they are compatible with the primary purpose of the property. Sites where such activities are to be permitted and the facilities required shall be designated in the property master plan.
NR 1.51 History
Cr. Register, July, 1977, No. 259
, eff. 8-1-77.
Policy on promulgation of environmental quality standards. NR 1.52(1)(1)
As used in this section, “environmental quality standard" means a regulatory measure needed to prevent or reduce environmental pollution as that term is defined in s. 299.01 (4)
Information submitted to board.
Whenever the department seeks to adopt a rule, the department shall provide the board with information regarding the following: the authority for the rule; the conformity of the rule with the requirements of federal or state statutes or controlling judicial decisions; and the need for the rule.
Adoption of environmental quality standard more restrictive than corresponding federal law or regulations.
For environmental programs subject to a delegation of authority by the U.S. environmental protection agency, whenever the department seeks to adopt an environmental quality standard more restrictive than a standard provided under corresponding federal law or regulations, the department shall advise the board why the more restrictive standard is needed in Wisconsin to protect public health, safety or the environment. For the purposes of this subsection, any environmental quality standard is not considered more restrictive than a standard provided under corresponding federal law or regulations if the federal government has not enacted a law or regulation establishing a corresponding standard. This subsection is prospective in application; no environmental quality standards adopted prior to August 1, 1996, are affected except under the circumstances described in sub. (4)
Federal standard relaxed.
If the department has adopted an environmental quality standard which has a corresponding standard adopted under federal law or regulations, and after August 1, 1996, that corresponding federal standard is relaxed by promulgation of a more lenient standard in federal law or regulations, the department shall within 120 days of the federal action notify the board and propose a schedule for the department to advise the board whether the current state standard is needed in Wisconsin to protect public health, safety or the environment.
NR 1.52 History
Cr. Register, July, 1996, No. 487
, eff. 8-1-96; correction in (1) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, September, 1999, No. 525
Master planning for department land. NR 1.60(1)(1)
Master plan development.
In addition to the requirements of ss. 23.091
, Stats., the natural resources board shall determine whether a master plan will be developed for any department managed property or group of properties. If developed, the plan shall establish management, development and public use.
Local and regional perspectives.
Management decisions shall be based on local and regional perspectives.
Management of a department property and the master plan applicable to it shall be consistent with and further the purposes and benefits of the property's designation by statute, rule or the natural resources board.
NR 1.60 Note
For example, state forests shall be managed in accordance with s. 28.04
, Stats., state recreation areas in accordance with s. 23.091
, Stats., and state parks in accordance with s. 27.01
Management activities shall be compatible with the land's ability to support and sustain the intended management, development or recreational use.
In planning efforts, the effects of management activities on adjacent management areas are to be considered and, where adverse, are to be avoided whenever practicable.
Tribal treaty rights.
Management of a department property within the ceded territory as defined in s. NR 13.02 (1)
, and the master plan applicable to it, shall recognize the opportunity for tribes with off-reservation hunting, fishing and gathering rights to continue to exercise those rights.
NR 1.60 History
Cr. Register, August, 1996, No. 488
, eff. 9-1-96.
Public use of department land.
Except as prohibited or regulated by rule or statute, all department land shall be open for:
Traditional outdoor recreational uses, including hunting, fishing, trapping, walking, nature study and berry picking; and
Other types of recreational uses, including camping, bicycling, equestrian uses, field trials, and snowmobiling or other motorized activities, as authorized on a property by the property master plan.
NR 1.61 History
Cr. Register, August, 1996, No. 488
, eff. 9-1-96.
Policy on education. NR 1.70(1)(1)
Wisconsin has a unique abundance of varied and high quality natural resources. The successful stewardship of those resources is largely dependent upon enlightened and responsible decision-making by Wisconsin citizens, government and private interests. The department recognizes the need to develop a coordinated environmental education program. Education is the foundation of effective resource management and environmental protection activities. Natural resources protection and management goals can be more readily achieved and sustained by incorporating education elements in department functions and philosophies. An active educational program is necessary to encourage incorporation of education into department programs, to inform citizens on natural resources issues and to develop alternative solutions to natural resources problems.
Effective environmental education will result in better understanding of the operations and programs of the department and will help meet management goals. The goal of the department's environmental education program is to assist in developing a citizenry that:
Understands resource use issues, limits, capabilities and problems;
Analyzes and evaluates personal and public values that affect resource management; and
Acquires the individual and collective skills and purpose to act responsibly in using natural resources in work and leisure.
The department shall assist Wisconsin educational institutions at all grade and age levels by:
Making available supplemental services, education materials, expertise of department employees and volunteers, and facilities and properties.
Cooperating and coordinating with the department of public instruction, University of Wisconsin System, Wisconsin board of technical college system in assisting teachers, administrators and others interested in education in understanding the importance of their role in environmental education and in obtaining knowledge, skills and materials in this instructional area.
Department education programs shall follow agency policies, management directives and guidelines. Educational programs should be a means of achieving management goals and objectives; should complement and be consistent with agency priorities; and should focus on the areas of natural resource management and environmental protection. To implement its educational policy, the department shall:
Designate the office of communication as agencywide coordinator of environmental education activities.
Create a department education committee, appointed by the secretary, to advise the secretary on environmental education matters.
Actively cooperate with private, state and federal agencies and organizations with existing or potential interest in environmental and conservation education.
Consider and incorporate education elements into annual and long-range program plans and budgets.
Consider environmental education skills and interest in the recruitment, training, promotion and assignment of department employees.
Delineate environmental education responsibilities in position descriptions.
Incorporate additional and broadened environmental education elements in department subprograms.
Incorporate environmental education elements in property and facility acquisition, development and programming.
Utilize the MacKenzie Center and youth camps and facilities for environmental education programming.
Identify teachers and selected adult groups as primary audiences to maximize program impact.
Encourage involvement with volunteer, school, youth, special interest and adult groups.
Develop written and audio-visual materials, supplies and aids necessary to accomplish program goals.
NR 1.70 History
Cr. Register, October, 1983, No. 334
, eff. 11-1-83; correction in (3) (b) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 6., Stats., Register July 2001, No. 547
; 2015 Wis. Act 330
: am. (3) (b) Register April 2016 No. 724
, eff. 5-1-16; correction in (4) (a), (i) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 6., Stats., Register February 2019 No. 758
Policy on friends groups. NR 1.71(1)(1)
The purpose of this section is to encourage and provide for the establishment of friends groups, including not-for-profit concession corporations and cooperating associations. The department may work with a friends group established under the provisions of this section as the lead volunteer organization for a property, facility or program. The department may grant friends groups certain privileges, such as use of department equipment and facilities, under the terms of a written agreement. Nothing in this section prohibits the department or its individual properties, facilities and programs from accepting benefits from other groups or individuals, or from entering into separate agreements with others, if not in conflict with agreements executed with a friends group.
The provisions of this section are applicable to all friends groups formed to support department properties, facilities and programs, including not-for-profit concession corporations and cooperating associations.
“Cooperating association" means a friends group organized to support only interpretive programs.
“Friends group" means a non-profit, non-stock, tax-exempt corporation organized to support, assist and promote the mission and activities of department properties, facilities and programs and other activities as approved by the department under the provisions of a written agreement with the department.
“Not-for-profit concession corporation" means a friends group organized to sell goods and services in a department facility and to return the profits to the department under the provisions of a written agreement with the department.
The objectives of friends groups shall be to:
Promote department properties and programs to visitors and potential visitors through publications, special events and interpretive programs.
Provide and coordinate volunteer service for department properties and programs.
Provide financial support to department properties, facilities and programs for such things as development projects, land acquisition, programs and interpretation. Friends groups may raise revenues for department properties, facilities and programs through such methods as membership fees, grants, donations, sales and special events.
Put particular emphasis on supporting the interpretive, educational and visitor service programs of department properties.
Not serve as an official advisory group to the property or program with which affiliated.
To be recognized as a friends group, the group shall organize as a non-profit, non-stock, tax-exempt corporation, and shall be structured through articles of incorporation and by-laws to direct its mission and activities to the support of the property, group of properties, or other department facilities and programs as approved by the department.
The department shall enter into written agreements with each qualifying friends group to ensure statewide consistency and fiscal accountability. The agreements shall, at a minimum, include provisions that require friends groups to:
Provide an annual fiscal and program report to the department, which may not include a list of donors or itemized donations,
Provide meeting notice which is reasonably likely to apprise interested persons,
Provide liability insurance indemnifying the department if requested by the department,
Prohibit department employees from serving as officers or directors,
Agree to not represent their employees and volunteers as department employees,
Permit the department to promote the friends group in its publications and announcements,
Distribute assets upon dissolution to another not-for-profit corporation benefiting the same property, another DNR friends group, the Wisconsin natural resources foundation, inc., or the department. The agreements will include a provision for termination upon reasonable notice by either party.
The department may assist friends groups by making department facilities and equipment available to them, dependent upon availability, and as specified in written agreements.
Permanent department employees may be members of a friends group, but may not serve as directors or officers of the group. Department employees may, incidental to their regular duties, sell items on behalf of the friends group.
NR 1.71 History
Cr. Register, July, 1989, No. 403
, eff. 8-1-89; CR 07-026
: am. (4) (b) 4. Register December 2007 No. 624
, eff. 1-1-08.
Public access policy for waterways. NR 1.90(1)(1)
It is the goal of the state of Wisconsin to provide, maintain and improve access to the state's navigable lakes, rivers and streams for the public. Public access facilities shall allow for public rights of navigation, related incidental uses and other uses which are appropriate for the waterway. Waterway uses shall be equally available to all waterway users and include enjoyment of natural scenic beauty and serenity. These public rights and uses may be provided by any combination of publicly and privately owned access facilities which are available to the general public free or for a reasonable fee. The department, alone or in cooperation with local government, shall exercise its management and regulatory responsibilities to achieve this goal and to assure that levels and types of use of navigable waters are consistent with protection of public health, safety and welfare, including protection of natural resources.
Acquire, develop, maintain and improve navigation access which meets policy objectives;
Provide public access to lands adjacent to state waters for uses that are not directly related to navigation but which require or are enhanced by proximity to water;