Definitely not a slacker, Warren Knowles, was Wisconsin’s Republican governor from 1964-71. In that role he led efforts to clean up Wisconsin rivers and streams and is credited with the Outdoor Recreation Act program that reduces pollution and expands recreational lands. Equally energetic, Democrat Gaylord Nelson, governed Wisconsin from 1958-62, represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate from 1963 – 80, chaired the Wilderness Society and founded Earth Day.
In their honor, Governor Tommy Thompson and a bi-partisan legislature created the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program (KNSP). As a result, natural areas, wildlife habitat, water quality and fisheries are protected while outdoor recreation opportunities have expanded across our state. It’s estimated that the value of “natural infrastructure” on KNSP lands tops more than $2 billion annually. Just look what members of opposing political parties can achieve with a little cooperation!
And Wisconsinites love the results! Freddy Phisher, remarked, “Without clean water and accessible boat launching facilities how ya gonna catch the lunkers? Thanks KNSP!” “Ditto to that,” added Kandy Kanoer. “And without healthy habitat our bucks can’t grow those prize racks,” Hunter Honntur smiled. “Don’t forget a proud Wisconsin heritage, our great north woods,” Forest Phorester added. Finally, Wanda Bea Outcide and Hilda Hyker remind us of KNSP’s support of the benefits of just spending time outdoors - an increased sense of well-being, an improved attention span, reduced anxiety and depression, and greater availability for regular exercise. What a legacy! Thanks Warren and Gaylord!
If you’re like these folks, you’d like to see a 10-year reauthorization of Knowles-Nelson in 2021 that restores the funding that’s been cut over the past decade. Let your state legislators and the governor know your wishes because our beautiful Wisconsin home is where we’re all forever… Earthbound. (More KNSP info at: https://gatheringwaters.org/knowles-nelson-stewardship-program)