When Wilder ceased their own programming at the Wilder Forest over 20 years ago, they began leasing out their property to entities who all had a mission and a use that was consistent with the goal of the Conservancy Zone, that is … “providing for the preservation, protection and management of environmentally sensitive lands.”  However, since Wilder looked to divest itself of the Wilder Forest property starting 10 years ago, they have been willing to sell their land to anyone, for any purpose, regardless of who they were or what their use and impacts might be.

First, Wilder was going to make their property available to the DNR to operate a Wildlife Management Area (WMA).  This would have meant year-round hunting, fishing and trapping of pristine lands and waters that have never been touched.  The users would have come primarily from the Twin City metro area, not from May Township.  How long before the lakes are fished out and the woods cleaned of game?   Envisioning shotgun blasts close to their visiting school children and shot raining down, the Manitou Fund which owns the Warner Nature Center, made a big investment to purchase 330 acres from Wilder right then and there, to act as a buffer from this use for their lands, waters and young visitors.  After a huge public outcry, Wilder eventually backed away from the sale.       

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