To all club members,
This was sent to me by one of the attendees of the Townsend Listening session held by Senator Felzkowski last week. I felt that you should be aware what was said during the meeting.
Also attached is a report by Greenlight Metals, the mining company that has the mining interests in northern Wisconsin. Please read the attached report. In addition, here is a link to their website is here https://greenlight-llc.com/
March 25th Felzkowski & Callahan – Townsend listening session report
The Townsend event started at 8:50 AM with the first topic being broadband. Felzkowski and Callahan started out be disparaging Governor Evers at every chance in front of the friendly crowd.
At 9:05 AM, an audience member asked Felzkowski “you are one of the politicians who voted to bring copper strip mining to northern Wisconsin, I work for Komatsu and we want to bring mining shovels to the northwoods, so thank you.” And “some want to conserve the headwaters area of the Wolf River in the Pelican River Forest.” And “others think it should be developed.” And “I have the corporate presentation (he held it up) from a Canadian mining development company called GreenLight Metals, and they have plans for strip mining all over northern Wisconsin.” And finally “does your definition of development include strip mining for copper all over Wisconsin?”
Felzkowski went into a seven minute speech that was word for word exactly the same as the article that was in the River News. She explained her anonymous objection from within the Joint Finance Committee and how “that is how it has worked since the beginning of the Committee.” She included the strong language from the article and cast suspicion on the DNR and the Conservation Fund as being “liars”. She made the claim that young people come up to her all the time and complain about the shortage of land and that they can’t find a place to live in northern Wisconsin. She included “this conservation takes away local control from the people.” She included “Wisconsin has 1.3-million acres of public land.” Later to contradict that amount.
Felzkowski included “I can show you emails that prove the DNR had information before the October NRB meeting that raised objections.” She then said looking at Callahan “this will be a surprise to you because this is the first time anyone is going to hear this – I am introducing legislation to mandate down MFL.” And “if you have land in MFL you are going to have to open it for ATV and snowmobile use.” And “50-cents from each ATV/snowmobile registration will be used to maintain roads in that MFL land.” She included “no one thinks people from Milwaukee and the southern part of the State will come up to the northern part to recreate.” And “2/3 of all the recreation land is north of Hwy 8.” And “we have 5.9-million acres of public land – not including MFL land – available for public recreation.” Callahan then contributed “we don’t need any more public land.”
Felzkowski included “development is good and the water coming out of the paper mills in Tomahawk is cleaner than the water coming in.” The audience member then had to re-ask “so your plans for development include open-pit strip mines?” And “have you been in contact with GreenLight Metals about their plans to develop strip mines all over northern Wisconsin?” Felzkowski said “yes – I support mining an no I have not been in contact with them.”
It was obvious that she was the one who wrote the article that appeared in River News and simply gave it to the reporter for him to put his name to.
The rest of the hour was divided into 8 to 10 minute segments discussing election conspiracies, transgender issues, book banning, drag queen bans, Air BnB issues of overuse of services, and plenty of blame for the State’s woes because of how Milwaukee and Evers handles things. On healthcare, Felzkowski said “I am a hard no on Medicaid expansion and I always will be.” Later in the hour, Felzkowski and Callahan stressed the importance of attracting people from Milwaukee and the southern part of the State to recreate in the northern part of the State. An obvious contradiction to what they asserted just minutes earlier.
Felzkowski made it clear that she considers northern Wisconsin a place where strip mining should take place and that a conservation project like the Pelican River Forest would stand in the way of that development.
The article Felzkowski wrote that appeared in The River News Online is here: https://www.rivernewsonline.com/index.asp
Titled: Bombshell: DNR sat on resolutions opposing Pelican River Forest purchase
Townsend Town Hall from 9-10am
My sincere thanks to all members for your continued interest.
Pel-Cho Muddnutz ATV/UTV Club
To all members,
This opinion article was recently published in the Northwoods River News. I felt it was very well written and really accents another perspective of what this project means for Monico and adjacent locales so I reached out to Dan, the writer to see if has any problem with me passing it on to everyone, and he was more than happy to say yes.
Growing up, we would travel north to our place on Squash Lake by way of Monico on U.S. Highway 45. It wasn’t much of a town in the early 60’s. And sorry to say, nothing has really changed except for the reconstructed intersection of 8 and 45.
No growth in 60 years. No development. No nothing. It’s still a place you pass through on your way to somewhere else. Like Sugar Camp, it’s not a destination.
In all the arguments back and forth over the Pelican River Forest easement controversy, I think the County and the Town of Monico have lost sight of what will be lost by advocating the status quo. The lands are and will be in Managed Forest Land. No change in tax base there. But without the easements, there are no ATV/UTV or snowmobile trails.
Senator Felzkowski says they can open them up now if they wanted. What’s the incentive to open up private lands? None. The owners are not obliged to open them without the assurances that come from easements. The Senator, County Chair Scott Holewinski (Sugar Camp) and County Supervisor Briggs (Monico) are angry because the DNR only gave the towns 30 days notice.
When has the state, county, or towns ever given any citizen more than the bare minimum required notice? But, in an epic temper tantrum, those three have orchestrated a hostage situation: “Give us what we want, or no deal.” Well, news flash. They are not interested in negotiating. They just like bullying. To get their way, misinformation is being spread. And who loses? The Town of Monico.
The land is in new hands. It is still and will be a working forest with or without the easements. So for now, nothing changes. Status quo. Monico remains a place you pass through on your way to somewhere more interesting.
But with the easements, there is the prospect of development. Monico could be a trailhead for ATV/UTV and snowmobiling. And that comes with all the support businesses and development geared toward outdoor activities. The easements ensure the lands are managed in a way that generates revenue from timber AND from recreation. The easements ensure the forest stays contiguous to support wildlife habitat that becomes threatened when large tracts are broken up.
With proper planning around the Pelican River Forest, Monico could become an outdoor recreation destination. Here’s the choice. Keep the status quo because you’re having a tantrum, and Monico remains stuck in time in arrested development. It remains a place you have to pass through to get to somewhere else. Or look beyond your petty grievances, Ms. Felzkowski, Mr. Holewinski, and Mr. Briggs, and make this project happen.
Signed, Dan Butkus Property Owner – Town of Crescent
I would like to reach out to all of our business sponsors to ask that if you have not gotten actively involved in supporting the Pelican River Project now is the time to do so. Depending on your business, this will have a direct positive impact on you and your business and now is the time to show your support.
I would like to ask each business sponsor to let me know how they have supported this project to date, of if not, what your intentions are to support it in the future. Feel free to email me at <firstname.lastname@example.org> or text me at 715-777-5098 but make sure you identify who you are.
My appreciation goes out to all for your continued support.
Pel-Cho Mudd Nutz ATV/UTV Club
Pelican River Forest Project and Senator Town Hall Listening Sessions
I would like to thank all of our members for your continued interest and support in this important endeavor to obtain a recreational easement for this property. I know there have been a lot of emails and reporting on this project and I am glad to report there now is a separate and dedicated website hosted by Gathering Waters which provides for all of the factual information you need.
Please click on the following link to access it: https://pelicanriver.org/campaigns/
In addition, here are some opportunities for your opinion and voice to be heard directly by our Senator Felzkowski who still remains adamantly opposed to this project. A strong supportive presence of people in support of this project at these local town listening sessions may just be what we need to turn her opinion around. Please try to attend whichever ones that are most convenient for you, or all if you could.
From WJFW Channel 12 in Rhinelander State senator and assembly representative to hold local listening sessions
NORTHWOODS - State senator Mary Felzkowski and Assembly representative Calvin Callahan will be hosting a listening session on March 25 in multiple locations across their areas.
The listening session will be an opportunity for constituents to give their input on what they would like to see in the biennial state budget.
Both politicians will start the day in Townsend at the Townsend Town Hall from 9-10.
They will follow that visit with a stop to the Antigo City hall at noon.
Their trip will then take them to the Merrill City Hall at 2 p.m.
And then they will wrap up their day at the Tomahawk City Hal at 4p.m.
Pel-Cho Mudd Nutz ATV/UTV Club
URGENT CALL TO ACTION-PELICAN RIVER FOREST PROJECT-COUNTY COMMITTEE MEETING MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2023
Good morning all club members,
There will be a County Committee meeting on Monday regarding the Pelican Forest River Project.
We need to ensure a big turn out on Monday for the Oneida County “Specially Formed” Committee meeting to discuss the Pelican River Forest and associated Resolution to Object to the Project set for 10:00 AM. Folks need to show up AND Speak Up.
Please do what you can to attend, and get the message out to your friends and neighbors and fellow members. Again, they do not need to speak, number of bodies will speak for themselves. Couple of supportive signs would not hurt as media may very well be there again.
There is a movement of people and politicians that are against this easement, we need to show them that we greatly outnumber them.
See below for more background on this
PresidentPel-Cho Mudd Nutz ATV/UTV Club
The following notes from the County Board meeting is from Charlie Carlin from Gathering Waters who I have been working with.
Dear Friends of Pelican River,
First, a hearty thank you to everyone who attended Monday’s Oneida County board meeting. The turnout in support of the project was impressive.
Let’s not bury the lede. How did things turn out?
Importantly, the resolution opposing the Pelican River Forest and land conservation–a document riddled with errors and misleading statements–was tabled.
Instead, the board voted to form a committee to study the issue and draft a new resolution. The committee members will be chosen by Board Chair Scott Holowenski, and the Board intends to consider the new resolution at their May meeting.
Here are some insights about how things went…
Attendance was spectacular. The meeting room was full. Attendees spilled into the hallway and into an overflow room.
The news media showed up and paid attention. Public radio (WXPR) and two television stations (WAOW Wausau and WJFW Rhinelander) listened to the entire meeting and recorded the proceedings. WXPR’s Katie Thoresen published a particularly thoughtful piece on the meeting.
If you would like to listen and view the County Board meeting I can send you the link which will allow you to do so.
More than 20 people made public comments. 100% of the speakers opposed the resolution. All but one speaker voiced strong support for the Pelican River Forest project. The one speaker who didn’t? He questioned the legitimacy of the information in the resolution and said he “had a million questions,” none of which were answered by the resolution.
Public comment was wide-ranging, insightful, and factual.
People spoke about logging and its vital role in the local economy.
They emphasized the importance of preserving water quality throughout the Wolf River watershed, but especially at the headwaters.
They explained why it matters to have reliable and consistent road access and a network of ATV and snowmobile trails throughout the property.
They described how keeping the forest intact will support wildlife and leave a legacy for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.
Several people focused on why visiting or living in the Northwoods is so appealing because of large stretches of accessible, protected land.
That’s just a sampling of the comments. Watch the meeting for yourself here.
Many people also spoke about their concerns with the Board’s process and the misinformation in the resolution. See here for details on the error and misrepresentations in the resolution.
You can read the entirety of the resolution and the errors it contained in the attachment below.
Speakers described the resolution as “misleading.” They said the resolution’s author failed to “act in good faith.”
Speakers encouraged compromise and pointed to the efforts already made by The Conservation Fund to address concerns about future development raised by the Town of Monico. They pointed out that the project, as currently proposed, is in line with the Town of Monico’s comprehensive plan.
Speakers questioned why the resolution was not vetted by a committee, why it was introduced on the eve of a holiday weekend with only a few days for it to be considered, and why the private land conservation project was being consistently mischaracterized by opponents as a public land acquisition by the DNR.
Did anyone speak in favor of the resolution and against Pelican River?
After an hour of public comment in favor of Pelican River and opposed to the County’s resolution, State Senator Mary Felzkowski spoke. She expressed her opposition to the Pelican River Forest project, a sharp deviation from her constituents who had just finished speaking. Senator Felzkowski claimed that she is not against conservation or ownership of public land, but she repeatedly suggested that there is too much public land in Northern Wisconsin, that the “purchase of land north of Highway 64 has to stop,” and that “government ownership of land” is a “prohibition on the accumulation of wealth.” She said that it is “wrong” that local governments cannot sell lands acquired with Knowles-Nelson Stewardship dollars. She suggested that land acquisition in Northern Wisconsin happens because “they don’t want us to live Up North.” The Senator did not say to whom “they” refers.
And how did debate unfold among County Board members?
Some board members were attentive to public comment and the views of their constituents as well as concerned with the errors and misleading statements in the resolution itself. Several board members noted that many people had contacted them before the meeting, almost all in favor of Pelican River. One board member referred to the resolution as “trash” because of its misinformation. He suggested that the board “slow down” and “find out the truth.”
Other board members seemed unconcerned by the factual errors in the document. They suggested that passing the resolution would “send a message to Madison,” even if the document was not accurate.
Ultimately, the board decided to form a new committee to study the issue, prepare a new resolution, and present their findings to the Board at the May County Board meeting.
Here’s our take:
We would have liked to see a clear rejection of the resolution in the form of a “no” vote. However, we very much appreciate the efforts of those Board members who acknowledged that they have many unanswered questions and that, ultimately, they want any resolution passed by the board to be accurate.
We also hope that County Board members will be responsive to the outpouring of support for the Pelican River Forest from their constituents and from residents across the state.
We will continue to do our best to provide accurate, factual information on the protection of the Pelican River Forest. We’ll track the progress of the County Board’s work. And, we will continue to urge the Governor and the DNR to act to protect Pelican River Forest.
Another big thank you to everyone who made an appearance at the board meeting, who helped to spread the word, encouraged others to contact county board members, and alerted the news media.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Gathering Waters: Wisconsin's Alliance for Land Trusts
In addition, here is an excellent story from the Madison Newspaper The Daily Cardinal which provides additional background.
I am not sure if there is any interest on behalf of you or your club on any of this, or this project. In the two previous emails I requested that you acknowledge receipt, as well as let me know what actions your club can take if it is willing to assist and back this important endeavor. Granted, while it may not touch directly some of your clubs, it certainly impacts others, and the potential it has to draw more riders to the north should be obvious.
To date I received one reply, and it was not from an Oneida County Club. I will no longer bother you with updates or additional information unless I am requested to do so by replying to this email.
Pel-Cho Mudd Nutz ATV/UTV Club
Pel-Cho Mudd Nutz
PO Box 98, Pelican Lake, WI 54463
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