State offers land for public sale

State land near Collins will soon be up for sale.
State land near Collins will soon be up for sale.

COLLINS - It's a chance for the public to buy some public land.

As part of the state budget, the Department of Natural Resources is offering up 10,000 of its 1.7 million acres of property over the next four years.

But what type of land is for sale?

"We're pretty much standing in the northwest corner of the state land," said Chuck Wendling, Manitowoc County.

Chuck Wendling and his family own 200 acres near the Collins Marsh State Wildlife Area. They may be interested in more.

"It's like one 40 acres in the middle of the marsh, and then there's a 10 or 12 further away," said Wendling.

The DNR identified 33 parcels totaling 2,552 acres to be sold. State law requires the agency to sell 10,000 acres over the next four years.

"We look at this as a way to take a look at our portfolio. Find lands that have little or no value to these missions, and re-purpose those lands in some way in some form," said Doug Haas, DNR Bureau of Facilities and Lands.

The DNR says property within park boundaries won't be sold. The Collins parcels have no public access, and are miles from the marsh.

But not everyone is interested in the DNR's deal. One neighbor we talked to didn't want to go on camera, but he said the new parcels are somewhat soggy, and tough to get to.

The DNR says local governments and tribal nations will have the first opportunity to buy, followed by adjoining property owners, and then the general public.

The agency expects to use the money to reduce real estate debt, and buy more properties.

"We have a $20 million budget for this year, to buy land for this fiscal year, and next fiscal year. We'll probably add another 6,000 to 8,000, 10,000 acres of land," said Haas.

Neighbors say this land could fetch $3,000 per acre.

Chuck Wendling says the DNR should avoid the real estate business.

"They don't know what's going to happen in the future, we might want to sell our land. They could buy our land, and it would be connecting," said Wendling.

Until then, Wendling and his family will continue to use the land.

"It's a good place to hunt, I enjoy it," said Wendling.

The parcels are expected to hit the market this summer.

Click here if you want more information about the DNR land sale.