Preserving North’ is Doyle’s first priority
Madison Gov.-elect Jim Doyle is preparing to assume the
governorship of Wisconsin and faces a large budget deficit and
state operations that are bracing to be pared down.
At the same time, the state faces large challenges in the area
of natural resources.
Doyle, the Democratic candidate who defeated Republican Gov.
Scott McCallum, believes two of the biggest natural resources
concerns for the state involve the Northwoods and water.
“There are two issues that haven’t received enough focus,” he
said. “One is how we maintain the essential nature of the
Northwoods. How, as the paper industry finds it necessary to sell
off large tracts of timberland, we protect that forest.
“I think there are a lot of people who hunt and fish and think
they are in state or national forest, but they actually are on
paper company land.
“My family came from the north. My grandfather was from Wausau
and spent a lot of time in a cabin up by Minocqua and I’ve spent a
lot of time in the Northwoods. I think I have an appreciation for
why it’s special, and what it means to have woodlands across the
north. How we protect that will be an enormous challenge during the
coming years. If we carve up all of that woodland and no longer
have the vast tracts that we have now, it will change the essential
character of this state.
“The second, is water. Whether you are talking about the
protection of the Wolf River and the Crandon mine issue I hope the
mine does not go forward because of concerns over water quality or
Perrier wanting to take out groundwater, or high-capacity wells, or
selling water from the Great Lakes to other parts of the country,
how we protect our waters from people who want to take it away from
us is important.
“The state’s name comes from strong, rushing waters. Water to us
is what mountains are to Colorado. It is what defines this area and
we really have to be focused on how we maintain and improve our
rivers and groundwater.”
In an exclusive interview with Doyle, here is what he said about
natural resources and the DNR.
Q: What is your view of the sports of hunting, fishing and
Doyle: I think they are wonderful activities. I’ve spent enough
time fishing that I know how much enjoyment you get out of it. The
time spent with my father in the boat fishing, but not catching
anything preserving the resource was some really good time
together. That’s very important.
The hunting, fishing and trapping traditions in this state are
part of Wisconsin’s fabric. I know how deeply people feel about it
and how important it is to our way of life.
And, when you talk about deer hunting, it is a very important
safety measure. I put 50,000 miles a year on the roads and if we
don’t have a full deer hunt, it can be a serious safety matter to
drivers, as well as a big loss to agriculture. The hunt is an
important part of the natural system.
Q: What thoughts do you have on what Wisconsin has to do on
Doyle: There are two directions. One, we have to be focused on
the science, how far it has spread, what its cause is, how we
eradicate it. I don’t pretend to be a game management expert, and
will listen to the experts on what’s the best way to do that. That
will take a lot of effort and money, and help from the federal
government, especially since it’s been found in other states
including Illinois and a Minnesota game farm.
The second thing is that we have to have in place by the bow
season next year, a public/private partnership by which there can
be private individual testing done at reasonable prices on every
single deer. A hunter should have confidence that the deer he/she
got does not have CWD.
We also have to focus on how we can restore confidence for
hunters in this state so that they can enjoy hunting deer. This is
not only important to our way of life, but crucial to our economy,
highway safety and agriculture.
We have to give individual hunters confidence that the deer they
got does not have CWD.
Q: Will you reappoint Darrell Bazzell as DNR secretary?
Doyle: I won’t comment on specific people, but I will say it is
my intention generally to bring my own people into the cabinet.
Q: What are you looking for in a DNR secretary?
Doyle: This is a tremendously important job and when you look at
the long-term health of Wisconsin this may be as important as any
appointment I make. Decisions in natural resources, fish and game
management, dealing with CWD, will affect this state for years
after I’m governor.