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2021-2027 Public Land Strategy

Acquiring land

A majority of the public land base managed by the DNR was acquired as a result of tax-reversion. The land became state-owned due to the nonpayment of taxes, most commonly in the early 20th century and during the Depression era and due to widespread removal of timber and subsequent farm failures. However, the DNR is now much more focused when it comes to land acquisitions and typically acquires new lands through the purchase of privately owned lands from a willing seller. The DNR uses a variety of funding sources to acquire these priority lands for an array of uses. The funding sources vary including federal, state, DNR-generated and private donations. Each funding source may include special requirements regarding how the land acquired with those funds can be used. While dedicated funding is the most common method for acquiring land, the DNR does receive gifts of land and, to a lesser extent, has received lands through legal settlements and through legislative means (see Appendices L, M and N).

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