The Door County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution that “strongly supports” reauthorizing the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for another decade.
The support comes as the Wisconsin Legislature is considering the 2021-23 state budget. Gov. Tony Evers has included a 10-year reauthorization of the program in his executive budget, funded at $70 million annually and to be allocated among 35 various components of the program.
The fund was established in 1989 to preserve important natural communities, protect water quality and fisheries, and expand recreational opportunities. The fund has been renewed several times over the years and will expire if it’s not renewed in the 2021-23 budget.
Door County has received more than $1 million in grants from the fund during the past 30 years to help fund county park and marina improvements, along with grants to local governmental units, The Ridges Sanctuary, Crossroads at Big Creek, Door County Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy for a wide variety of projects.
Tom Clay, Door County Land Trust executive director, asked the supervisors to support the resolution during the community-comment period of the board’s May 25 meeting. Clay said visitation at the land trust’s public lands has “exploded, which is a good thing,” but also a challenge. The stewardship money helps Door County Land Trust to balance the public use of lands under its stewardship.