The DNR says it needs more information to determine whether an off road park in Forest County would be eligible for certain grants.
The nonprofit Wisconsin Off-Road Vehicle Park Incorporated wants Forest County to buy the land for a 10,000-acre park.
The group is pitching the project as a good deal for the county, saying park tourism and timber management on the land could generate revenue, while the purchase of the land could be fifty percent paid-for by DNR stewardship grants.
But the state agency has sent a letter to the county board, noting that those grants are not a guarantee.
DNR Forestry Administrator Paul DeLong says the DNR would need to assess whether the project plan is compatible with the county forest program.
“Certainly a priority under the county forest law is to make sure that it’s providing a steady stream of forest products, given the importance to the state’s economy, and then ultimately to the local government, county and town as well.”
He says it is possible. There are other county forest lands that have multiple uses, including off-road vehicles. But that use can’t inhibit the sustainable management of the forest.
“We wanted to make it clear that—it may well be that what ultimately is proposed is consistent with and eligible for entry under the county forest land, and eligible and might compete well for a stewardship grant. However it shouldn’t be assumed that that would be the case.”
The Forest County board heard the details of the park proposal in closed session last month.