MERCER - This year, almost 40 northern Wisconsin communities formally expressed interest in becoming the new home of the DNR's state forestry headquarters. But there's a chance the headquarters will go nowhere, and will stay in Madison.
The state legislature asked for proposals to move the office and its dozens of staff members north of Highway 10 and closer to most state forests. In July, the DNR selected Rhinelander, Wausau, and Hayward as finalists.
"We're putting together a plan now with all of the different pros and cons, with the different communities that have submitted their interest in wanting to be the headquarters," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp on Monday in Mercer. "We're going to submit that to the governor in the upcoming weeks. There will be discussions at his level about that."
Even though they are the finalists, there's no guarantee Rhinelander, Wausau, or Hayward will become the headquarters. The legislature could decide to keep the office in Madison.
"I've long given up handicapping anything in Madison," Stepp said. "If I was ever really good at it, I'd probably quit this day job and make a lot more money in predicting the future. You never can tell what's going to happen."