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Wilson State Nursery's future remains unclear
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seedling operations at Wilson State Nursery - WDNR

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is a step closer to deciding the future of Wilson State Tree Nursery in Boscobel.

The state currently has two active nurseries, the Wilson State Nursery in Boscobel and the Griffith State Nursery in Wisconsin Rapids. There is also a third nursery in Hayward, where some seed cleaning and research projects are done.

The DNR recently sought leasing proposals for the alternative use of those portions of the three properties relating to tree and shrub production. The expectation of the initiative is to ultimately consolidate bare-root production to either Griffith or Wilson State Nursery.

The proposals for alternative use were due by September 2 and could come from any outside agency, group or individual interested in using the facilities.

“We received two proposals, one for Griffith and one for Hayward,” said Carmen Hardin, the DNR Forestry Management Section Chief assigned to the project.

“Not receiving an (alternative) proposal for Wilson State Nursery doesn’t mean they will be chosen to stay open,” Hardin continued. “The panel reviewing the proposals has to make sure they meet the criteria set by the department and that the decision meets our needs.”

The alternative use proposals for the nurseries are now under review. Hardin hopes to have a decision of which nursery will continue to operate by early October, though she stressed the details of how the transition will occur and how the other sites will be used will take longer to iron out.

The DNR plans to maintain their offices and forestry and fire suppression staff at all three sites.