University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Wisconsin. State Conservation Committee (1915-27) / Biennial report of the State Conservation Commission of Wisconsin for the years 1915 and 1916

Mocdy, F. B.
The forestry case,   pp. 69-71 PDF (614.1 KB)

Page 69

                           By F. B. MOCDY.
  All of the powers granted by former legislatures to the State Board of
Forestry and the State Park Board, with respect to the management of
the so-called forest reserves and state parks, were delegated to the Con-
servation Commission. The work of the two divisions since August 1,
1915, has been under the direct supervision of the forester member of the
  The report of the former State Forester for the two preceding years
prior to the consolidation of the Departments was not issued, and it has
not been deemed necessary to report on the work of the Forestry Board
for that period, except in a general wvay.
  The status of forestry in Wisconsin is a peculiar one, and in order to
present the matter clearly, the following statement is made, setting forth
the reasons why the whole question was brought before the Supreme Court
for adjustment.
                       TIHE FOREISTIiY CASE.
  The policy of the Forestry Board in acquiringlarge tracts of land under
a land contract caused the questions to be raised during the 1913 session
of the legislature as to whether the purchase of forest reserve lands is
not "works of internal improvement" which is prohibited by the
Constitution. Since, upon careful study of the question by the Attorney-
General's department, they were unable to find that tLis question had
ever beet decided by the c.urts in any state, they advised that the ques-
tion be brought before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin. The Court
agreed to take original jurisdiction of the case, and it was brought before
the Court upon "the petition of the Attorney-General seeking to obtain
writ of mandamus against the defendant, the Secretary of State, to compel
the auditing of certain vouchers issued by the State Forester and the
issuance of warrants thereon against the State Treasurer for the payment
of part of the purchase price of certain lands attempted to be purchased
from the G. F. Sanborn company to be added to the State Forest Reserve."
The suit was a friendly one, and the Secretary of State agreed to refuse
payment of the vouchers so the case could be brought promptly before the
Supreme Court.
  Upon the submission of briefs by both sides, other points were brought
out, among them: (1) Whether the Forestry Board has correctly con-
strued the Statute in presuming to have authority to bind the State by

Go up to Top of Page