Action Alert: Renew the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund

Ever ride your bike along the Oak Leaf Trail along Milwaukee’s lakefront? How about the 400 State Trail between Reedsburg and Elroy? If you’ve enjoyed riding along these and many other trails in Wisconsin, there’s a good chance Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program funding played a crucial role in their existence.

As the future of Knowles-Nelson is in jeopardy, we’ve partnered with our friends at Gathering Waters to ask for your help.

What is Knowles-Nelson?

Named after two former Wisconsin governors — Warren Knowles, a Republican, and Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat — the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program honors Wisconsin’s historic commitment to land and water protection.

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program provides funds for cities, counties, non-profit groups, and the state to purchase land for conservation. It funds essential upkeep and maintenance of our waterways, parks, forests, and trail systems. The Ice Age Trail across Wisconsin, the aforementioned Oak Leaf Trail and 400 State Trail, snowmobile and ATV trails up north, boat launches on our lakes and rivers… all benefit from Stewardship funding. County forests stay working forests open to recreation because of Knowles-Nelson grants. Local governments and citizen conservation organizations also receive funds to purchase land for conservation. Stewardship has funded projects in every single county in Wisconsin.

If there’s a natural place in Wisconsin that is special to you, chances are the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program has made it better.

What’s at Stake?

Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) will debate Stewardship the week of June 10th. The governor and state legislature must act to renew and strengthen the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program in their 2019 budget or it will soon expire, and we will all lose this vital source of funding for land and water protection in Wisconsin.

Groomed but unpaved bicycle path in Wisconsin.

Biking along the 400 State Trail. Photo: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

How Can You Help?

We’re asking our members and everyone who cares about cycling in Wisconsin to email or even better, call your elected officials. Remind them how important Knowles-Nelson is to the future of cycling in Wisconsin. Ask them to call members of the JFC and emphasize how important the Stewardship fund is to their constituents.

Please Contact Your State Legislators

  • Request their support for the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund in the soon-to-be released State budget.
  • Ask them to CALL and encourage members of the bi-partisan Joint Finance Committee to support a 10-year reauthorization of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship fund at current level of $33M/year as they craft the budget.

EMAIL Your State Legislators in Three EASY Steps!

Simply click here and do the following:

  • Enter your address and zip code
  • Customize, or not, the automatically generated letter of support. It pops up along with the contact information for your representative
  • Click SEND

CALL Your State Legislators in Three EASY Steps!

Simply click here and do the following:

  • Enter your address and zip code
  • Above the names and pictures of your representatives is a phone icon
  • Click the phone icon and the phone numbers will appear

With your help we can ensure the reautherization of Knowles-Nelson and preservation of our shared forests, waterways, and bike trails to be enjoyed by Wisconsinites for years to come.

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