Chimney Rock state wetlands area north of Boyceville could be for sale
By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — A new state law requiring the Natural Resources Board to make 10,000 acres of public land available for sale by June 30, 2017, could be hitting close to home.
Members of the Northwest Rod and Gun Club sent a letter dated January 18 to the state Department of Natural Resources in strong opposition to the proposed sale of the Chimney Rock State Wetlands Area north of Boyce-ville just west of state Highway 79.
According to the letter, which was signed by Joe Adams (president), Tom Maes (vice-president) and Stephen Bauder (secretary), the Chimney Rock State Wetlands Area was donated by the Northwest Rod and Gun Club to the DNR in March of 1960.
Located along the Hay River, “the land was purchased through donations made by past members of NWRGC. Purchasing and donating this property was one of the major successes of our organization in the late 1950s. Many of the members who worked on acquiring this property are now hunting in heaven, making this property a living legacy to the families of the deceased club members,” the letter states.
Four other properties in Dunn County are listed on the DNR’s land sales web page as being under review, including another property north of Boyceville, 76 acres of the Big Beaver Creek wildlife area south of state Highway 64 between Highways 79 and 25.
The Northwest Rod and Gun Club’s letter points out that in the late 1950s, members of the club recognized the Chimney Rock parcel of land as valuable for recreational purposes and wildlife habitat.
“The recreational value of the land is even greater today than when the land was donated to the DNR. The Chimney Rock State Wetland Area is heavily used by hunters, anglers, trappers and birdwatchers. The land is contiguous to county owned public hunting and recreation land to the north. The two parcels of county land are also contiguous to another piece of DNR property which abuts 115 acres of public access land. In addition to the two aforementioned recreation activities, a public snowmobile trail also runs through this property,” the members of the Northwest Rod and Gun Club wrote.
“There is already a shortage of public access land in Northwestern Dunn County for these types of recreational activities. The sale of this parcel will have a significant negative impact on many outdoor recreational activities,” they wrote.
The letter goes on to note that the club has about 100 members who help run the shooting range, support multiple youth trap shooting teams, teach hunters’ safety and work on habitat improvement projects.
The Northwest Rod and Gun Club held a special meeting to discuss the possible sale of the Chimney Rock State Wetland Area.
“We are unanimously opposed to this sale. The land was given to the DNR as a public trust to be held in perpetuity for the public to use,” the letter states.
“We feel the sale of this land is a violation of the public trust and an affront to the legacy of our past club members who put so much time, money and effort into making this land available to the public,” the members of the Northwest Rod and Gun Club wrote.
The letter, addressed to Peter Wolter, Northern Real Estate Team Supervisor at the Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center, concludes by respectfully requesting “that you withdraw the Chimney Rock State Wetland Area from consideration for sale prior to the list being submitted to (the) Natural Resources Board.”
Additional parcels in Dunn County listed on the DNR’s land listings web page include the Elk Creek Fishery Area south of Interstate 94 on the Dunn County and Eau Claire County line (1.78 acres); and almost 20 acres on Muddy Creek in Section 18 of the Town of Spring Brook in two separate parcels of 9.31 acres and 9.26 acres.
In Chippewa County, one parcel is on the list for 39.9 acres on Bob Lake.
In St. Croix County, 11.4 acres of extensive wildlife habitat area on the east side of Baldwin is listed on the DNR’s land sales web page.
All together, 118 parcels of land are being reviewed by the DNR’s field managers for possible sale. The land is located in 40 counties and totals about 8,300 acres.
To see the listing of land under review for possible sale, visit www.dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/Real
Scroll down and click on “parcels approved for field review.”
Peter Wolter, the DNR’s real estate team supervisor at the Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center can be contacted by e-mail at Peter.Wolter@Wisconsin.gov or at (715) 421-7811.