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President's Remarks

Presidential Remarks
Winter, 2018

As I write these words in early December, it's easy to look back on 2017 and realize that most news out of Madison was decidedly unfriendly to Wisconsin Lakes and conservation practices in general.

Legislation passed earlier in the year reduced DNR oversight on high capacity wells and made the permitting process easier. A bill passed this fall made short term and weekend rentals permissible, thereby placing even more pressure on Vilas County lakes.

Two additional bills circulating as of this writing would continue this practice of relaxing environmental standards. A proposed property rights bill would pretty much permit a property owner to do whatever they please with their property regardless of how that action might affect other properties on a given lake. Another bill being proposed would restrict the DNR from determining some impoundments as navigable waters thereby restricting access and potentially running afoul of the states' Public Trust Doctrine.

The state budget process was not completed until late September which condensed the fall legislative sessions and periods where new bills could be introduced. The Wisconsin Shoreline Initiative has one and possibly two bills being readied as this is written, which could possibly roll back some of the bad legislation passed since Act 55 back in 2015.

Because of this toxic political climate, VCLRA continues to believe that education will be the key moving forward. We're excited to announce that we are working on a scholarship for Vilas County High School seniors going into a Natural Science field. Our joint multi-county lakes conference with our OCLRA counterparts will again take place in June of 2018. Look for the complete agenda in the May Newsletter.

Please take the time to renew your VCLRA membership at your earliest opportunity. The form is in the Winter newsletter and can be printed off our website. VCLRA will continue to act as a conduit for pertinent information as becomes available in 2018.

Best regards,

Steve Budnik