STAR JOURNAL REPORT
Now that Rhinelander has been selected as one of three finalists for a potential relocation of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry headquarters, the Oneida County Economic Development Corporation is urging the general public to send the DNR letters in support of that relocation.
“ODEDC, in conjunction with other proponents, would like to have as many businesses and citizens from Oneida County and the surrounding area write letters of support for the city of Rhinelander as the ‘premier site,’” said OCEDC executive director Roger Luce. “A letter in support of the relocation of the offices to Rhinelander would be highly valued.”
The 2015-17 state budget calls for the DNR to develop a proposal to move its Division of Forestry headquarters from Madison to north of U.S. Hwy. 10. That proposal will be submitted with the DNR’s 2017-19 budget request. Wausau and Hayward are the two other finalists for the possible relocation.
Expera Specialty Solutions’ Rhinelander mill manager, Jeff Verdoorn, has voiced his support for the relocation in a letter to the DNR. He noted the Chequamegon/Nicolet National Forest headquarters and the United States Forest Service’s northern research station are located in Rhinelander, along with other forest agencies.
“Rhinelander is centrally located to the majority of the forest land that is assisted or managed by the (DNR) staff, along with the important external agencies they would interface with,” Verdoorn said. “There is also substantial (DNR) infrastructure already in place.”
The Lumberjack Resource Conservation and Development Council also wrote to the DNR in support of relocating the Division of Forestry to Rhinelander.
“By moving the headquarters to Rhinelander, the DNR Forestry Division and its employees would be in the heart of the northern timber belt and enjoy the same access to the lands and partners as local employees,” said Lumberjack office manager/program assistant Tracy J. Beckman. “Rhinelander and Oneida County are considered the hub of northern Wisconsin and offer the infrastructure to ensure a successful transition of the Forestry headquarters.”
The deadline is Aug. 5 to submit comments to the DNR in support of the headquarters relocation to Rhinelander. Comments may be emailed to Rebecca.Diebel@wi.gov.