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Team Knowles Nelson Updates: Preparing for reauthorization, exploring new tools, and celebrating wins

Prepare for Knowles-Nelson reauthorization in the 2025 state budget, explore our new advocacy toolkit, and celebrate wins across WI.

While the Supreme Court arguments may be behind us, our work isn’t done. As we eagerly await the court’s decision, which could significantly impact the future of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, let’s keep the momentum going.

This summer presents a perfect opportunity to engage with your legislators in their districts, highlighting the incredible value of Knowles-Nelson to Wisconsin’s land, water, and our communities. Our recently updated advocacy toolkit is here to help you effectively reach out to your elected officials.

Together, we’ll make sure that Knowles-Nelson remains a bipartisan success story for years to come.

Supreme Court Case Update

A month has passed since oral arguments in the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program Supreme Court case, and we’re all eagerly awaiting the court’s decision. The outcome of the case could have significant implications for how the legislature functions, not just Knowles-Nelson.

Media coverage surrounding oral arguments has sparked lots of conversation and thrust Knowles Nelson into the spotlight. While we don’t know which way the court will rule, one thing is clear – it’s more important than ever to keep advocating for Wisconsin’s lands and water. 

We want to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who has stepped up to show their support for Knowles Nelson. Your voices matter, and together, we’re making a difference.

Advocacy Toolkit

With the Knowles-Nelson reauthorization coming up in the 2025 state budget, we’re excited to share that our refreshed Knowles Nelson advocacy toolkit is now available! This dynamic toolkit provides resources to help you educate your community, connect with elected officials, and share your Knowles Nelson story. Inside, you’ll find:

  • Team Knowles Nelson essentials: Get program facts, budget timelines, and other key details
  • Action steps: Discover effective ways to connect with legislators, raise awareness, and mobilize your community
  • Print & share assets: Download logos, info sheets, posters, and more

Celebrating the Pelican River Forest With Governor Evers

A group of adults stand outside for a photo.

On May 22, we hosted Governor Evers for a celebratory tour of the Pelican River Forest. We hiked the property and introduced the Governor to to key project partners including Tribal Nations, ATV enthusiasts, foresters, clean water advocates, and local government officials. Most importantly, we celebrated the fact that nearly 70,000 of working forest is now protected, forever! Read more from WXPR.

Knowles Nelson Wins

ORA Trails
The Outdoor Recreation Alliance (ORA Trails) of the La Crosse area was awarded a $1.1 million grant to establish the ORA Community Trail Farm, a landmark project transforming nearly 300 acres of the La Crosse Blufflands into a vibrant community recreation hub. ORA Trails has plans for 15 miles of new trails and connectors to the existing 100+ miles of the Bluffland Traverse. The Trail Farm will focus on conservation, education, and recreation, as ORA Trails strives to foster an inclusive space for the community to connect with the natural world.

Vilas County Forest
Vilas County was awarded a $396,000 grant to expand its county forest by 356 acres. The addition connects two existing blocks of Vilas County Forest, creating a larger, contiguous area of protected land that will a healthier ecosystem and promote additional recreational opportunities for the community. The entire block will be enrolled in the County Forest Program, ensuring long-term sustainable management that balances timber production with recreation, wildlife habitat, and watershed protection.

Ice Age Trail
The Ice Age Trail acquired 55 acres within the Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit, permanently securing public access while providing a safer route for hikers on this heavily trafficked section of the trail. With property values on the rise and development pressure continually increasing, it’s crucial to prioritize land protection projects in densely populated areas to ensure a healthier environment, stronger communities, and equitable access to nature.

Knowles Nelson In The News

– CharlieMorgan, and all your advocates at Gathering Waters

Featured image by Aaron Burden, 2017.

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Supreme Court

WI Environmental Groups Celebrate Supreme Court Ruling

Midwest Environmental Advocates and Clean Wisconsin, both of which filed amicus briefs in the separation of powers lawsuit, praised the court’s decision that a statute allowing the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) to block Knowles-Nelson projects is unconstitutional.

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