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DNR Managed Lands Timber Sale Process

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources managed lands--including fisheries, parks and wildlife properties--are renewable resources that provide high quality timber while offering many additional benefits, such as wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. To facilitate timber harvests on these lands, the state allows both logging companies and individuals to bid on timber sales. Sales are subsequently awarded to the logging company or individual with the highest bid.

The sale process is as follows:

  1. State foresters look at stand history and the current status of stands to determine which are ready for harvest.
  2. Foresters check the data to make certain the records for each stand coincide with what is on the ground.
  3. The next step is to plan the timber sales. This includes determining which trees will be cut, which will be left and which follow-up treatment will be required, such as site preparation or tree planting.
  4. Foresters give the plans to DNR resource managers in wildlife, fisheries, water quality and endangered resources to review.
  5. After considering all comments, foresters determine both the stand boundaries and the trees to be harvested. They also estimate harvest volume.
  6. This information is incorporated into a timber sale notice form and the property manager and supervisor approve or reject the timber sales.
  7. Next, a notice is placed in newspapers and a mailing is sent to all parties interested in bidding on the sales.
  8. Bids are taken on each tract by species. The forester accepts the highest bids under specified conditions and writes a contract for each sale.
  9. During and after the harvesting process, each site is inspected to make sure the logger or logging company has met all contractual obligations.

Money generated from timber sales does not remain with the individual property, but is deposited in the statewide conservation account (e.g. wildlife account) that coincides with the property from which timber is harvested. Those accounts directly support the sustainable management and improvement of state properties which are managed by the DNR program associated with each account.

More details about the establishment of timber sales on DNR managed lands are available in the DNR Timber Sale Handbook [PDF].

View the base stumpage rates [PDF] for county forest and DNR managed properties.