04.07.14 Legislator Circulates Penokee Hills Conservation Proposal— State purchase would protect fishing, hunting opportunities, jobs

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For Immediate Release Contact: Rep. Brett Hulsey April 7, 2014 608-266-7521

Legislator Circulates Penokee Hills Conservation Proposal— State purchase would protect fishing, hunting opportunities, jobs

Madison, WI—With three Iron County Supervisors winning despite the Koch Brothers opposition, State Representative Brett Hulsey (D- Madison) today circulated a proposal to create a Penokee Hills Conservation Area to protect the outstanding fishing, hunting, and recreational opportunities of the area and create jobs.

“The Penokee Hills should be conserved forever, not strip mined by a big campaign donor,” said State Representative Brett Hulsey (D-Madison), a member of the Assembly Jobs and Tourism Committees. “I wanted to offer this conservation choice for public discussion.”

A state-wide poll last year showed more than twice as many people oppose Gov. Walker’s proposed strip mine as support it.

Principles of the Penokee Hills Conservation Area Proposal include:

  1. Create sustainable jobs as quickly as possible;
  2. Conserve the outstanding fishing, hunting, skiing, and snowmobiling of the area;
  3. Spend as little public money as needed to conserve the area;
  4. Keep as much land in private ownership as possible;
  5. Promote sustainable forestry and protect public access using the Managed Forest Law;
  6. Protect drinking water sources, lakes, rivers, wetlands, and critical fish and wildlife

habitat; and

Protect sacred Native American burial and other sites from destruction.

“Northern Wisconsin needs jobs now, not more arguing and lawsuits,” said Hulsey who has worked to create and expand parks for the Sierra Club and other groups for over 30 years. “As we saw with the Apostle Islands Ice Caves last winter, tourism is a huge tourist attraction for the area and the Penokee Hills can help draw them there.”

More than 130,000 people visited the ice caves, but they need other things to do. The vistas and waterfalls of the Penokee Hills would give tourists more attractions.

The public can send comments on the Penokee Hills Conservation Proposal to P.O. Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708, call 608-266-7521 or email Rep.Hulsey@Legis.wi.gov.


Penokee Hills Conservation Proposal April 7, 2014 draft for public comment

By Representative Brett Hulsey

  1. Create sustainable jobs as quickly as possible;
  2. Protect the drinking water for Ashland, Bayfield, Superior, Lake Superior, and the Bad

River Tribe from acid mine pollution;


recreation opportunities of the Penokee Hills and Copper Falls State Park;

Conserve the area at minimal costs to taxpayers; and

Maintain as much private land ownership as possible through the Managed Forest laws.

Investing in purchasing key parts of the Penokee Hills will get people back to work by expanding tourism draws, reduce tax costs and lawsuits in a contentious strip mine permitting process, and keep harmful water pollutants out of our drinking water.

Create Good Jobs

Wisconsin’s tourism industry is a $16 billion money maker creating 184,000 jobs. Creating a high quality recreation area like the Penokee Hills will create more tourism stays and jobs in northern Wisconsin. Most of the area would be left in private hands and open to sustainable forestry and recreation under the state’s Managed Forest laws.

Conserving Key Natural Features a Proven Tourism Winner

As we have seen with the more than 130,000 people who have flocked to the Apostle Islands Ice Caves, unique natural features like the Penokee Hills and associated water falls, have a major tourist draw.

The money to pay for the strategic land conservation purchases could come from the Stewardship Fund, private donations, federal matching money, the Board of Public Lands Commissioners fund, or other sources.

Let me know your thoughts on the idea.

Thank you.

Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) serves on the Assembly Jobs, Tourism, Energy, Government Operations, and Ways and Means Committees. You can reach him at 608- 266-7521 or email Rep.Hulsey@Legis.wi.gov.