Door County Land Trust Executive Director Tom Clay says losing the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program would flip their business model upside down. Rep. Joel Kitchens of Sturgeon Bay and Rep. Amy Loudenbeck of Clinton are proposing a bill to extend the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program out to 2030. The last budget signed into law by Governor Tony Evers only extended it for two years while a bipartisan task force was supposed to study its future. The new legislation calls for $31 million in total authorized yearly spending, a third of which would come from segregated forestry funds to save on future debt. Clay says without the funds, efforts like last year’s acquisition of Pebble Beach in Sister Bay would be nearly impossible.
The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program has been used to purchase 669,000 acres in Wisconsin since 1989, including 4,833 acres in Door County and 1,025 acres in Kewaunee County.
Picture courtesy of the Door County Land Trust