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Chittenden, Alfred K. (Alfred Knight), 1879-1930 / The taxation of forest lands in Wisconsin
(1911)

Chittenden, Alfred K.; Irion, Harry
Introduction,   pp. [5]-9 PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 8


THE TAXATION OF FOREST LANDS IN WISCONSIN.
towns a strong tendency has recently developed to enforce the law
more rigidly, and valuations have in many cases been greatly in-
creased. This increase in valuations is more noticeable upon timbered
land than upon cut-over or farming land. The cut-over land is already
being assessed at practically its actual value, or even higher.
  6. The present law, granting total exemption for thirty years to
farmers who have planted their land to timber, is not being taken
advantage of to any extent, and there are no records of any advan-
tage having been taken of the old law, now repealed, allowing bounties
to farmers who planted shelterbelts.
  7. Owing to the great danger from forest fires in the state of Wis-
consin, to the length of the time required to secure returns from cut-
over lands by waiting for a second cut, and to the cost of protection
in the meanwhile, forest management is not a particularly tempting
investment for timberland owners, especially in view of the fact that
cut-over land can be sold to settlers at a good price. For this reason
it is believed that the state's forest policy should be greatly extended
and strengthened.
  8. The fire-patrol system at present in force in Wisconsin, while
excellent as far as it goes, is not sufficient to successfully contend with
forest fires during any particularly bad fire season. The fire-patrol
system should, therefore, be greatly strengthened, and non-residents
employed as firewardens if possible.
  The work upon which this report is based was confined principally
to the northern portion of the state, since it was manifestly impossible
to go thoroughly over the entire area. Moreover, the results of an
investigation in every county would not have yielded any more com-
plete or reliable data on the tax question than could be obtained by a
selection of typical counties. As has been already stated the southern
part of the state is a well-developed farming country, and the ques-
tion of forest taxation has little bearing there except in its applica-
tion to farm woodlots. For this purpose one southern county, con-
sidered to be typical of many-Jefferson county, was selected, and an
examination of that county was made to determine the effect, if any,
of the present tax laws on woodlot conditions. For the rest the work
was confined to the northern part of the state. Certain counties, how-
ever, such as Marathon, are well settled, and there are large areas of
prosperous farms throughout. While it is probably true that a large
proportion of this northern region contains soil suitable for agricul-
ture or that dairy farms will be established, yet there are large areas
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