Legislators offer $4 million for 14,000 acres in northern Wisconsin

47009333 - forest trail in autumn scenery in early october

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The Legislature's budget committee has approved spending more than $4 million to purchase more than 14,000 acres of forest land in northern Wisconsin under the state's stewardship program.

But the committee lowered the amount of money available for the purchase by $500,000, a move that one of the chief proponents of the deal said Tuesday could jeopardize the sale.

The land in Iron County would be preserved for public access and protected from development under the $4.3 million purchase approved by the Joint Finance Committee.

The Natural Resources Board earlier this year approved spending nearly $5 million from the state's Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program to purchase the easement from Keweenaw Land Association Ltd. of Ironwood, Michigan.

George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, says he worries that lowering the purchase offer to $4.3 million could jeopardize the sale.