Rep Swearingen’s recent letter to Governor Evers’ Department of Natural Resources suspending ALL in-person recreational safety classes.

Rep Swearingen’s recent letter to Governor Evers’ Department of Natural Resources suspending ALL in-person recreational safety classes.

Rep Swearingen’s recent letter to Governor Evers’ Department of Natural Resources suspending ALL in-person recreational safety classes.


June 17, 2020
Governor Tony Evers
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI 53707
Hand Delivered

Dear Governor Evers,

It has come to our attention that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has temporarily suspended all in-person recreational safety classes, including Boating, Snowmobile, ATV, Hunting, Internet Field Days, and Bowhunting courses. This is alarming news to the millions of sportsmen across our state and would be incredibly detrimental to participation in our outdoor recreational activities at a time when our citizens, visitors, and tourism industry need it the most. In fact, the Department of Tourism says outdoor recreation was the top marketable driver of visits to Wisconsin in 2019.


 When the DNR officials responded to a representative about this concern, they stated, “The Department of Natural Resources places a high priority on the safety education programs offered to Wisconsinites.” It is great to see this is something we can all agree on.

If your administration agrees that these programs are a high priority, why have you ordered these courses to be suspended for the foreseeable future? We are reaching out in an earnest attempt to see what your reasoning is for this decision. It would appear, by all measures of your Badger Bounce Back program, there should be no problem with these classes occurring.

As part of your Badger Bounce Back program, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was asked to create guidelines for re-opening the state. According to the recommendations regarding “Outdoor Gatherings”, which includes outdoor educational programming, these instructional courses could resume with a maximum of 50 participants. Are your agencies following the same guidelines that you’ve asked Wisconsinites to follow, or do they have the privilege of playing by a different set of rules?

No one is arguing that caution should be thrown to the wind as we all work together to responsibly re-open. We are simply pointing out it is becoming impossible to comprehend what rules everyone needs to play by.
The DNR is following the lead of the Department of Health Services (DHS), which is waiting on the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to come out with guidelines for in-person pupil instruction. Should the DNR not instead be working with local governments on outdoor recreation class guidelines?

Unfortunately, your administration continues to operate under the Public Health Emergency you declared in Executive Order #72. As I’m sure you are aware, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down your Executive WISCONSIN LEGISLATURE P. O. Box 7882 Madison, WI 53707-7882

Order #28, which declared bureaucratic overreach by your administration. As supporters of local control, we would encourage you to follow the court’s ruling and continue to operate under the advisement of local officials, who we believe can make the best decisions for their region.
We are asking that your administration allows for these in-person safety classes to resume immediately. Business owners around Wisconsin have made adjustments to safely re-open and operate their businesses; we have full confidence that our local instructors can institute the necessary safety precautions to allow for these courses to proceed.

Last week, you encouraged Wisconsinites to “go outside and exercise your rights.” We agree with that message and look forward to working with your administration to resolve this situation. Thank you for taking the time to consider our request on behalf of sportsmen, the tourism industry, and Wisconsinites across the state.


Representative Rob Swearingen Senator Devin LeMahieu
34th Assembly District 9th Senate District

Representative Mary Felzkowski Senator Chris Kapenga
35th Assembly District 33rd Senate District

Representative Robin Vos Senator Daniel Feyen
63rd Assembly District 18th Senate District

Representative Warren Petryk Senator Andre Jacque
93rd Assembly District 1st Senate District

Representative Joel Kitchens Senator Howard Marklein
1st Assembly District 17th Senate District

Representative Gae Magnafici Senator Wanggaard
28th Assembly District 21st Senate District

Representative Rick Gundrum Senator Stephen Nass
58th Assembly District 11th Senate District

Representative Treig Pronschinske Representative Mike Rohrkaste
92nd Assembly District 55th Assembly District

Representative Janel Brandtjen Representative Bob Kulp
22nd Assembly District 69th Assembly District

Representative Romaine Quinn Representative Rob Summerfield
75th Assembly District 67th Assembly District

Representative Tyler August Representative Timothy Ramthun
32nd Assembly District 59th Assembly District

Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt Representative John Spiros
52nd Assembly District 86th Assembly District

Representative Cindi Duchow Representative Rob Stafsholt
99th Assembly District 29th Assembly District

Representative Chuck Wichgers Representative Tony Kurtz
83rd Assembly District 50th Assembly District

Representative Jesse James Representative Cody Horlacher
68th Assembly District 33rd Assembly District

Representative Mike Kuglitsch Representative Jon Plumer
84th Assembly District 42nd Assembly District

Representative Adam Neylon Representative Paul Tittl
98th Assembly District 25th Assembly District

Representative Barbara Dittrich Representative Joan Ballweg
38th Assembly District 41st Assembly District

Representative Scott Allen Representative Joe Sanfelippo
97th Assembly District 15th Assembly District

Representative Jeff Mursau Representative Dan Knodl
36th Assembly District 24th Assembly District

cc: Preston D. Cole
Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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