Rainbow acquisition supported by Doyle
Dick Steffes, DNR director of real estate, presented the
recommendation to the NRB and told members that at night, fishermen
on the flowage don’t see any lights. It’s a wild area, with nesting
eagles and ospreys.
“The Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company is comprised of 11
paper mills and utilities and some of the ownerships have changed
and are now foreign-owned,” Steffes said.
Stora Enso and Georgia Pacific are foreign-owned; it is illegal
for any foreign business to own more than 640 acres of land in the
state. They approached the state about buying the land, and Doyle
urged the DNR to complete the negotiations.
The governor thanked WVIC for its excellent stewardship of the
land and its decision to offer it to the state. Had that not
occurred, the land could have been developed and closed to the
The purchase includes 10 islands and five boat access sites.
WVIC also is donating ownership of its submerged land (more than
10,000 acres) to the state, which is important during periods of
The uplands consist of mixed forests of pine, aspen, birch, and
oak. They provide hunting for deer, bear, ruffed grouse, woodcock,
and various furbearers. The shorebird migration on the shoreline
flats is significant, especially during late August and early
The purchase also includes 646 acres at the New Wood Wildlife
Area in west-central Lincoln County. The New Wood area was
established in 1945 for management of waterfowl and forest
wildlife, and includes a Class I trout stream, waterfowl, deer,
bear, grouse, and woodcock. The Averill Creek wolf pack resides in
the New Wood area, with dens and rendezvous sites on state
The DNR was interested in the land for several reasons,
including forestry practices and growth of recurring forest crops.
In addition, the area protects scenic integrity and provides
outdoor recreation, including hunting, wildlife watching, and
Each year about 45,000 cords of pulpwood and 1.5 million board
feet of saw logs are harvested in the Northern Highland/American
Legion State Forest, providing employment and consumer goods.
The purchase includes almost all of the Rainbow Flowage
shoreline. The Rainbow-Pickerel Lake Reservoir covers 4,951 acres
of surface water at full pool. The reservoir has a productive
walleye, northern pike, and panfish fishery.
The reservoir was created in 1935 with construction of the
The Stewardship program was renamed in the mid-1990s to
recognize the impact of Warren Knowles and Gaylord Nelson, and is
known as the Warren Knowles-Gaylord Nelson Stewardship Program.
Besides this purchase, the program has funded the purchase of many
other properties for the public, including 35,337 acres for the
Forest Legacy Program in north-central Wisconsin in 2002.