834,502 acres…what a legacy!

Dick Steffes served WI’s Department of Natural Resources’ Real Estate program in various capacities for 39 years and in those years he has more than earned his title of Policy Maker of the Year. Dick spent his tenure using the funds made available to him in the wisest and most creative ways possible, helping to preserve some of the true gems on Wisconsin’s landscape.

His leadership and influence helped to preserve over 834,502 acres throughout Wisconsin. He was a leader in the pioneering use of easements to secure public access while maintaining strong forests and was instrumental in the negotiations and acquisitions of hundreds of acres of Forest Legacy lands. These easements secure public recreational access and ensure best management of the state’s forest resources.

His achievements include some of the largest conservation purchases in Wisconsin’s history: The Wild Rivers Legacy Forest, The Chippewa Flowage Legacy Forest, and most recently the St. Croix-Brule Legacy Forest, all of which will now be available for future generations to enjoy.


Dick’s retirement in December 2012 has left large shoes to fill for the DNR’s real estate program. His keen instinct for opportunity and deep respect for sellers, partners, and the public whose funds were invested cannot easily be matched.  Those who had the opportunity to work with him have felt privileged to do so.

Please join us in celebrating and honoring Dick’s many achievements at our annual Land Conservation Leadership Awards Ceremony on September 26th at the Monona Terrace in Madison, WI.