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A question worth asking

June 6, 2012
The Daily News

EDITOR:What does public land mean to you?

It is a question worth asking along with who should be allowed to control public lands and manage them? Also the "question of what services or provisions should governmental agencies impose on access and use of those lands?" is important.

And finally, what should the government agencies reasonably expect the public to pay fees for?

I have generally understood that public lands are for the benefit of all the public - rich and poor, hikers and hunters, campers and fishermen, day users, etc.

It is a public trust for the public to be managed in a way assuring reasonable accommodation for the multiple demands by the public.

Profit and income for the use of the public natural resources (forests, parks, etc.) is secondary, from my point of view. I am not arguing that reasonable fees for camping, maintaining fish stock, managing wildlife numbers is inappropriate but becomes a violation of the public trust when it in practice limits public access due to lack of income or other factors beyond a person's control.

I bring this up because Gov. Walker has created the first Deer Trustee of Wisconsin, Dr. James Kroll. My review of the material on the internet seems to show that he is a recognized expert on white-tailed deer from Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas and instrumental in developing their deer management program. It also seemed to indicate that his focus was not on public land management of deer herds. His focus seemed to be on deer genetics. Even in his response to some blogs that appear to me to be unfair concerning his thoughts about hunting on public lands, his response emphasized his research, and work with private land owners, but not any specific detail on his thoughts managing hunting on public lands.

I believe that the vetting should have been made public regarding this issue since that particular usage has a great deal of meaning in the northern part of Wisconsin. It begs the question how much of the Texas model may become part of the Wisconsin policy.

Gilbert Engel

Niagara, Wis.



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