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LETTER: Does program own enough land?

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To the Editor:

It's interesting, but not surprising, to read that both Sen. Harsdorf and Rep. Severson are working hard to cut funding for Wisconsin's Stewardship program.

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Rep. Severson noted that "Wisconsin already owns 1.6 million acres of land;" ...(snip)... "do we really need to purchase even more?"

1.6 million acres of land sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Indeed, me thinks that's the impression that Rep. Severson meant to convey to us; that we, the people of Wisconsin (and the wildlife of WI), already have oodles of Stewardship land to to roam and recreate upon. But, do we really?

According to www.net state.com, Wisconsin consists of 54,314 sq. mi. of land and 11,190 sq. mi. of water. So, leaving out the water and doing the basic math conversion, Wisconsin has a total land mass of 34,760,960 acres or 34.8 million acres for simplicity sake.

Now, divide 1.6 million acres by 34.8 million acres and that equals the percentage of Wisconsin land that is presently Stewardship land, which comes to 4.6 percent of our total land mass. Not much after all, is it?

Still, according to both Sen Harsdorf and Rep. Severson, we've plenty of Stewardship land already, shouldn't be purchasing any more and, in fact, we ought to be selling some of this, and other state-owned lands as well.

I don't know, this sounds to me like a case of short-term thinking. Also, it seems like an attempt to fool most of the people at this particular time regarding this particular budget item.

Too, once "we" start selling Stewardship lands, where, if at all, does it stop? Who's going to buy our lands and what will they do with them?

What's in it for We, the People of Wisconsin (and the wildlife of Wisconsin), beyond having additional "Private, No Trespassing" signs posted all around the state?

Kurt Sroka

Somerset

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