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Required property signage

Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program Grants

State law requires that projects funded with Stewardship dollars be posted with signs giving notice that Stewardship funds were used.

On land acquired with Stewardship grants, signs need to convey information about activities allowed on the land.

Site requirements and deadlines

The law, s. 23.09165, Wis. Stats. [exit DNR], requires that:

  • signs give notice that Stewardship Funds were used in the protection of the property;
  • signs be posted at "major access points" to the property;
  • signs shall list either the primary activities restricted or prohibited or the primary activities permitted on the land;
  • signs must be "of a durable material" and at least 108 square inches in size; and
  • on any property larger than 10 acres, include contact information or a website address of the property manager.

The law leaves room for creativity in how our sponsors convey the required information. If you don't find answers to signage questions on this site, please contact regional grant staff.

In addition to statutory requirements, DNR also requires that:

  • the Stewardship logo appears on signage
  • you submit to DNR the location of all funding and activities signs (GPS coordinates or distance in feet from a street or road) and a picture of the signs as installed on your Stewardship grant property. Please send the required documentation to the grant staff in the region where the posted property is located.

Frequently asked questions

Do signs need to reference the five nature-based outdoor activities (NBOA) - hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing?
The DNR strongly encourages that you mention those five activities in your signage. These five activities, required by section 23.0916, Wis. Stats., have become part of the standard language about Stewardship lands. It is reasonable to anticipate that future laws and rules will reference the five NBOA. If hunting, trapping, hiking, cross-country skiing or fishing are practical additions, including them among the primary activities your signs reference will meet the expectations of some visitors and may save time and expense in the future.
Do signs need to reference the five NBOA when the Stewardship Land is an urban park and those five activities are not practical?
No. Sponsors need to determine what the "primary activities" allowed or prohibited on the property are. If those five are not among "primary activities" allowed on a property and would be potentially confusing to visitors, your signs do not need to reference them.
Do we have to list fishing if there's no water?
Do we need to post two signs, one indicating Stewardship Funding and one about allowed or prohibited activities?
No. Information about Stewardship funding and allowed or prohibited activities can be combined on the same sign. Contact your regional community service specialists (CSS) for a copy of the Stewardship logo.
Do we have to post signs on property used as donated as a match to a Stewardship grant?
Yes. Properties donated as match are encumbered with a grant contract and by all the requirements of the Stewardship program, including signage.
Do we have to post signs on development projects funded by Stewardship grants?
Yes, but development-only projects only need signs giving notice that Stewardship funds were used in the project. Development projects do not need signs about allowed activities.
Does DNR have to approve sponsors' signs?
No. But if you would like to get DNR approval of your proposed signs before printing and installing, please contact your regional CSS.
Does DNR have an example of stewardship grant signage?
Grant staff members are accumulating a set of examples and your regional CSS can share those with you.
Are signs required on conservation easements?
Your signs need to comply with the "activities" requirements of the law where there is public access. If you have purchased a conservation easement with Stewardship funds, and if the easement allows for public access of any kind, you do need to post signs about primary activities allowed or prohibited.

If the easement does not include public access or is an easement exclusively for an established trail, you are not required to post signs.
How do we sign properties where hunting, trapping or fishing opportunities exist but vary from state regulation?
Posting that hunting is allowed implies that hunting is allowed per state regulation and local ordinance. If your rules differ from state regulation, we strongly encourage signage to indicate that. Either list rules on the sign, or, if they are more detailed than will reasonably fit on durable signage, indicate clearly where visitors can get information about your policies. Example: "Hunting rules on our preserves may differ from state regulation, please visit website for details."
How can we effectively post signs on preserves where allowed activities vary parcel to parcel within the preserve?
Sponsors who have expansive preserves made up of several parcels need to convey clearly in their signs that allowed activities may vary parcel to parcel. Signs should direct visitors to enough information to be able to abide by preserve rules.

Ideas For Addressing This Challenge
  • Use detailed signs at major entrance points explaining what opportunities vary on the preserve, direct visitors to a map illustrating where important boundaries are and use smaller trail-blaze type indicators along parcel boundaries so visitors know when they've reached a boundary where the rules have changed.
  • Allow visitors to print detailed maps from your website and make sure signage directs visitors to that site. Example: "Hunting opportunities are available on some portions of this preserve, please visit our website for detailed maps."
  • Post a detailed map, laminated and protected from the weather on the back of a large kiosk, or make maps available in a covered box.

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Sample signs

stewardship sign

A. This is the standard DNR funding sign. The DNR will provide these for each project when grants are awarded.
This is not the only way to give notice of Stewardship funding. Sponsors may incorporate the Stewardship logo into signage and combine the "funding" and "activities" requirements of the law.

old stewardship sign not legal

B. This old version of the funding sign is NO LONGER LEGAL. It does not meet the statutory requirement of 108 square inches. If you have these posted, please contact regional grant staff to request replacement "funding" signs (see A, above).

Dodge County Wild Goose Trailhead sign

C. This sign effectively communicates primary uses allowed and prohibited. It does not fulfill the "funding sign" requirement, but the Stewardship logo could be added or the funding sign (A) posted nearby.

Door County Land Trust sign

D. This activity sign was designed as a one-sign-fits-all sign for places where customized signs for each property would be unreasonably expensive.

DNR Lands Sign

E. The DNR must also comply with this law, and for DNR lands purchased with Stewardship funds, the signs will look like this with activities information varying parcel to parcel.

Downloadable logos and icons

[To save file: Windows users, right-click and select 'Save As...' or 'Save Target As...'; Mac users hold the command key down while clicking the link.]

Stewardship logo and five nature-based outdoor activities

More activities

  • Stewardship Logo

  • hunting icon no hunting icon


  • fishing icon no fishing icon


  • trapping icon no trapping icon


  • Hiking icon no Hiking icon


  • skiing icon no skiing icon

    Cross-Country Skiing

  • ATV icon no ATV icon

    All Terrain Vehicle (ATV)

  • Biking icon no Biking icon

    Biking [50KB]

  • Campfire icon no Campfire icon


  • Camping icon no Camping icon


  • Collecting icon no Collecting icon


  • Horseback Riding icon no Horseback Riding icon

    Horseback Riding

  • Mountain Biking icon no Mountain Biking icon

    Mountain Biking

  • Snowmobile icon no Snowmobile icon


  • Swimming icon no Swimming icon


  • UTV icon no UTV icon

    Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV)

  • Boating icon


  • Canoe icon


  • wildlife viewing icon

    Wildlife Viewing