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Preserving ĎNorthí is Doyleís first priority
Tim Eisele
Wisconsin Outdoor News

Madison ó Gov.-elect Jim Doyle is preparing to assume the governorship of Wisconsin and faces a large budget deficit and state operations that are bracing to be pared down.
At the same time, the state faces large challenges in the area of natural resources.
Doyle, the Democratic candidate who defeated Republican Gov. Scott McCallum, believes two of the biggest natural resources concerns for the state involve the Northwoods and water.
ďThere are two issues that havenít received enough focus,Ē he said. ďOne is how we maintain the essential nature of the Northwoods. How, as the paper industry finds it necessary to sell off large tracts of timberland, we protect that forest.
ďI think there are a lot of people who hunt and fish and think they are in state or national forest, but they actually are on paper company land.
ďMy family came from the north. My grandfather was from Wausau and spent a lot of time in a cabin up by Minocqua and Iíve spent a lot of time in the Northwoods. I think I have an appreciation for why itís special, and what it means to have woodlands across the north. How we protect that will be an enormous challenge during the coming years. If we carve up all of that woodland and no longer have the vast tracts that we have now, it will change the essential character of this state.
ďThe second, is water. Whether you are talking about the protection of the Wolf River and the Crandon mine issue ó I hope the mine does not go forward because of concerns over water quality ó or Perrier wanting to take out groundwater, or high-capacity wells, or selling water from the Great Lakes to other parts of the country, how we protect our waters from people who want to take it away from us is important.
ďThe stateís name comes from strong, rushing waters. Water to us is what mountains are to Colorado. It is what defines this area and we really have to be focused on how we maintain and improve our rivers and groundwater.Ē
In an exclusive interview with Doyle, here is what he said about natural resources and the DNR.

Q: What is your view of the sports of hunting, fishing and trapping?

Doyle: I think they are wonderful activities. Iíve spent enough time fishing that I know how much enjoyment you get out of it. The time spent with my father in the boat fishing, but not catching anything ó preserving the resource ó was some really good time together. Thatís very important.
The hunting, fishing and trapping traditions in this state are part of Wisconsinís fabric. I know how deeply people feel about it and how important it is to our way of life.
And, when you talk about deer hunting, it is a very important safety measure. I put 50,000 miles a year on the roads and if we donít have a full deer hunt, it can be a serious safety matter to drivers, as well as a big loss to agriculture. The hunt is an important part of the natural system.

Q: What thoughts do you have on what Wisconsin has to do on CWD?

Doyle: There are two directions. One, we have to be focused on the science, how far it has spread, what its cause is, how we eradicate it. I donít pretend to be a game management expert, and will listen to the experts on whatís the best way to do that. That will take a lot of effort and money, and help from the federal government, especially since itís been found in other states including Illinois and a Minnesota game farm.
The second thing is that we have to have in place by the bow season next year, a public/private partnership by which there can be private individual testing done at reasonable prices on every single deer. A hunter should have confidence that the deer he/she got does not have CWD.
We also have to focus on how we can restore confidence for hunters in this state so that they can enjoy hunting deer. This is not only important to our way of life, but crucial to our economy, highway safety and agriculture.
We have to give individual hunters confidence that the deer they got does not have CWD.

Q: Will you reappoint Darrell Bazzell as DNR secretary?

Doyle: I wonít comment on specific people, but I will say it is my intention generally to bring my own people into the cabinet.

Q: What are you looking for in a DNR secretary?

Doyle: This is a tremendously important job and when you look at the long-term health of Wisconsin this may be as important as any appointment I make. Decisions in natural resources, fish and game management, dealing with CWD, will affect this state for years after Iím governor.
One of my great heroes in life was Buzz Besadny (DNR secretary from 1980 to 1993). I want someone, like Buzz, who has the combination of the appreciation and understanding of the fish and game side, as well as the environmental enforcement side of the agency.
Iím looking for a strong manager with a good natural resources background. Someone whom the citizens of Wisconsin know is not just a political appointment, but instead someone who really cares about the natural resources of Wisconsin and can lead this very important department.
(Doyle said he intends to have his cabinet in place, including the appointment of a DNR secretary, before the Jan. 6 inauguration.)

Q: Youíve indicated you would like to return to having the Natural Resources Board appoint the secretary of DNR. How and when will you do that?

Doyle: I do think itís better environmental policy to have the secretary appointed by the board, but I havenít decided yet when weíll move on that. My number one priority now is to get a balanced budget in place for this state. It may be that a few of these things will have to wait until after the budget.Ē

Q: Would you consider reappointing any current Natural Resources Board members?

Doyle: My mind is open. Obviously I want to make my own appointments, that is my responsibility. But we are looking for talent everywhere.

Q: What are you looking for in a NRB member?

Doyle: Some of this depends on who is already on the board. You want to have a collection of different talents and abilities on a board. Number one, you want a person who is committed to the natural resources of Wisconsin, and someone who has had a strong track record; that the person has really been devoted to Wisconsinís natural resources.
But you also want to have a mix. You want to make sure there are some very strong hunting and fishing advocates on that board. Everyone on the board should be, but some who are very strong, others who have a background in air and water quality work. Itís a matter of finding a team that is devoted to good natural resource protection, with different talents and experience.

Q: The Conservation Fund (fueled by hunting, fishing and trapping license fees) could be $40 million in the red by 2005. What is your attitude on potential license fund increases or alternatives?

Doyle: Iím not very enthusiastic about increasing fees. For one reason, particularly with deer hunting, we want to encourage people to hunt, not put barriers up. Now, we need hunters to go out and hunt deer. Thatís important for the whole state and is a cost that should be born not just by individual hunters but by the people of Wisconsin.
And, this idea that you raise fees when you are in a time of economic difficulty always sort of bothers me. It looks like, and probably is, an attempt to get more money out of peopleís pockets to help balance the budget. Fees should be very directly related to the cost of the services that are being provided.
We should never say that we will never look at another fee increase, because a fee may have been set 20 years ago and no longer relates to the cost of the service, but I donít think that we should be looking now at fee increases to balance the budget.
(Doyle said that he had not seen a report prepared several years ago by the Alternative Funding Committee of the Conservation Congress.)

Q: It is traditional that the DNR secretary runs the top DNR appointments past the governor. Do you expect the secretary to do the same for you?

Doyle: Yes I would. Under our current framework, and I would expect not only DNR but other cabinet secretaries, to run top appointments past me.

Q: How do you expect to gain support from the Republican-controlled Senate and Assembly?

Doyle: This is the challenge that Iíve been handed and itís probably not a bad idea at this point in the stateís history that we have a Democratic governor and Republican-controlled Legislature. Thatís what the voters have chosen and we have to live with that.
I would guess that in the area of natural resources, weíll find 90 to 95 percent agreement, and we will work to find those common areas. As attorney general, I had a lot to do with enforcement of environmental laws in the state and Iíve never found that to be a particularly partisan effort. We should be working so that we have clean air and clean water, that the laws are enforced fairly and evenly.
We are all committed to making sure we have wildlife and fish for hunting and fishing, and I believe we share a lot of common ground and will focus on the things that we agree on.

Q: Do you plan to participate in events such as the Governorís Fishing Opener up north, Governorís Youth Hunt, etc.?

Doyle: I would love to participate, though I wonít guarantee that I will catch anything.
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