Vernon County

Land & Water Conservation Department

   Of the 34.76 million acres in Wisconsin, there are 16 million acres of forest.
  Of the 508,770 acres of land in Vernon County, there are 225,000 forested acres, with the majority being privately owned.

Vernon County owns 880 acres of forest land, and maintains another 700 acres for the state. These acres are open to the public for limited recreational use.

Recreation is an ever more popular land use and some landowners are deciding to subdivide and sell because the recreational value of their land is more than the agricultural value.

Duck Egg County Forest
Other landowners are harvesting more timber than is healthy for their forest, in attempts to increase value they receive from their land.
With these trends in mind, the Parks and Land Conservation Departments thought their park land could be used more cost effectively and provide more public recreation.

In 1999, Vernon County entered an agreement with the State of Wisconsin to manage their forest land in cooperation with Department of Natural Resources (DNR) county foresters in a sound and sustainable manner. The program is called "County Forest Law Program"

The intent of this program is to maintain healthy productive forests that will provide public access for recreation, and also provide marketable forest commodities. The only requirement was that the County had to write a ten year management plan when they entered into the program.

Under the County Forest Law program, Vernon County became eligible for different grants and loans. Grants from the program are helping pay for improvements to County-owned land and partially fund the County Forester position in the Land & Water Conservation Department.

County Forest land is now being managed in a sustainable manner, and all of the timber harvests are planned rather than doing random harvests when revenue is needed.
Since 1999, Vernon County has had a County Forester who manages the land and can provide assistance to private forestland owners. The revenue from timber harvests can fund parks, additional plantings, timber stand improvements, and more. The Towns where County Forest land is located also like receiving 10% of timber harvest revenue.
The public also appreciates the additional recreation opportunities that come with the funding available for county forests. More public hunting land is available. Parking areas, access roads, trails and shelters are now able to be built to encourage use of the forests.
Visit our two County Forests; Duck Egg, and Kooyumjian-Lost Creek.
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