Florence County Services Provided

The Client
Florence County -- Wisconsin

The Issue
Florence County, in far northern Wisconsin, wanted to sell nearly 6,000 acres of land to the Sate of Wisconsin for addition to the Spread Eagle Barrens Natural Area. The land, the county’s largest surviving parcel of the vanishing pine-oak barrens habitat, borders the Pine and Menominee Rivers on the south and east and contains five lakes.

While County and Department of Natural Resources officials and the non-profit Sand County Foundation preferred to protect the habitat many county residents wanted to sell the land to private interests and put it on the tax roll.

The Actions
Neil Palmer & Associates planned and conducted a public outreach program to build county residents’ support for the sale of the property to the state. Key to public acceptance was finding an alternate way of adding to the county’s tax base. To that end, attention turned to nearby riverfront land owned by Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and related to the utility’s hydroelectric dams.

Negotiations involving Wisconsin Electric, the county, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and Forest Service, led to an agreement to allow commercial and residential development on 435 acres of Wisconsin Electric land. Neil Palmer & Associates also assists Florence County I marketing that land to developers.

The Results
With the help of Neil Palmer & Associates in negotiating the sale, the additional 6,000 acres of Florence County land the Spread Eagle Barrens natural area now comprises 8, 850 acres.
aerial view