In Oneida County, the Board voted to pass a resolution opposing the Pelican River Forest project, going against the wishes of local residents — two dozen of whom spoke in favor of protecting the forest at a recent meeting, according to reporting by WXPR.
Local governments have been considering resolutions either for or against the project since the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted against using funds from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program in April to protect the 70,000-acre forest.
Supporters of the project noted that the land would be privately owned but kept from development, which means the property would still be subject to property taxes. They also cited the benefits of keeping the land open for recreation and timber harvesting, and the importance of protecting the headwaters of the Pelican and Wolf Rivers as reasons to support the project.
Despite his disappointment with the resolution’s passage, Clint Miller, the Conservation Fund’s Upper Midwest Regional Director, found a lot of positives from the meeting.
“It was all the people that came out. 100% supported this project. They supported the direction the DNR has headed. They support the direction The Conservation Fund is headed. I think really the news here and the excitement is the people that supported it,” said Miller.
The Conservation Fund will continue to explore options to permanently protect the Pelican River Forest.
Featured image by Ken Mattison, 2020