Implement simplified and understandable DNR regulations

Will "allow increased access to state lands for forest management and all of Wisconsin’s citizens. Implement simplified and understandable regulations."


Wait times for permits reduced; new map shows land open to the public

During his 2010 campaign for governor, Scott Walker pledged to increase "access to state lands for forest management and all of Wisconsin's citizens” and to "implement simplified and understandable regulations.”

Walker spokesman Tom Evenson cited two actions as evidence that his boss has kept the promise.

1. A new web mapping application on the Department of Natural Resources web site that aims to show which private lands are open to the public for recreational purposes.

The state regulates access to such lands through a managed forest law and a forest crop law.

The state's app was produced after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel created its own searchable online map in September 2012 as part of a Watchdog Report. The Hidden Hunting Land report revealed that the DNR didn't provide any statewide maps showing the location of managed forest properties in the program. More than 1 million acres of privately owned land in Wisconsin is supposed to be open to the public through a tax-relief program run by the DNR.

2. A broader "lean government initiative,” which Walker signed in an executive order in July 2012. It calls on state agencies to "engage leadership and staff” to "eliminate waste, save time, standardize workflow and decrease process complexity.”

The DNR announced in August 2012 that through its "lean government” work it had "eliminated wasteful steps in the grant application process” for its Clean Waters Clean Boats Project. The project involves volunteers and DNR staff performing boat and trailer checks, disseminating informational brochures and educating boaters on preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The agency said it has also reduced "from weeks to hours” the time it takes to process wild game permits.

Our rating

Walker has improved access to land for recreational purposes and has simplified some DNR regulations. His campaign promise didn't specify any number of such actions.

We rate this a Promise Kept.


Email interview, Gov. Scott Walker spokesman Tom Evenson, Sept. 17, 2013

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, web mapping application

Associated Press, "Gov. Walker signs ‘lean government" initiative,” July 18, 2012

Gov. Scott Walker, Executive Order 66