Ask an Official: DNR Warden, Forestry Director discuss outdoor burning; use of outboard motors
This week’s featured question was submitted for both Lincoln County Forestry and Parks Director Kevin Kleinschmidt and local WIsconsin DNR warden Pat Novetsky.
The question reads:
“I would like some information on which lakes and areas of the river have restrictions on outboards. Also, is there any restrictions on having campfires along shorelines or on river islands in the county? Thank you.”
Answer as given by Warden Novesky:
“The only state regulations for areas closed to motorboats in Lincoln County would pertain to areas marked or signed, such as the areas closed off below dams which prohibit operation of ALL watercraft within those areas, however county and township ordinance can be more restrictive in many cases.
“An important thing to keep in mind with campfires is that before starting a campfire you must know who the property owner is of which you intend to start the fire. Different owners of public lands may have different regulations. Also If you are on privately-owned lands without permission, you are trespassing regardless of whether or not you are just making a ‘quick stop’ and there are no signs. Also fire danger is a consideration and at certain times; ALL open fires are prohibited due to the risk of fire escape so you will need to pay attention to the fire weather.
“Other ideas to keep in mind are that of campfires must be completely out prior to leaving them unattended. Campfires are permitted on state owned lands, however overnight camping is only permitted on designated sites.”
Answer as given by Kleinschmidt:
“By Wisconsin State Statute 30.635, motorboats may not be operated in excess of slow-no-wake speed on lakes 50 acres or less in size having public access. Town and County Ordinance prohibits the use of motor driven boats in the waters of Otter Lake.
“In terms of the Lincoln County Forest, fires are allowed as long as they are not left unattended or abandoned, people are not careless with them, they do not interfere with anyone else’s use or enjoyment of county property, it does not damage any county property and must be completely extinguished before they are left unattended. Matches, cigarette, cigar or pipe ashes or any embers; must also be extinguished before throwing them away. Fires shall not be started or possessed on a DNR designated red flag day, including, but not limited to; campfires, use of cooking grills or smoking of cigarettes, cigars and pipes in the open.
“In Lincoln County parks and recreational areas, fires are not allowed except in the designated fire rings at campgrounds, or in grills located within a day-use area. Where allowed, fires must not be left unattended, must be kept small in size and must be completely extinguished before leaving.”
Have a question or concern you would like to address? Simply send your question or concern to firstname.lastname@example.org along with an indication of which entity your question or concern pertains to. Current participants are the Merrill Police Department, Merrill Fire Department, Tomahawk Police Department, Lincoln County Administrative Coordinator Randy Scholz, Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson, Merrill Area Housing Authority Director Paul Russell and Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) superintendent Dr. John Sample. Please note: Those who submit to the ‘Ask an Official’ feature remain anonymous.