Frederick G. Wilson
Inducted October 19, 1984
In recognition of 41 years (1911-1952) of outstanding service to the State of Wisconsin. His many contributions to the progress of forest protection, forest management and land use planning helped form the foundation for contemporary private, state and national programs.
More about Frederick G. Wilson:
F. G. Wilson was one of twelve men who reported for a civil service exam in Rhinelander, Wisconsin on Friday, March 10, 1911 for the position of Forest Ranger for the State Board of Forestry. On May 1, 1911, Wilson, who placed first on the exam, was hired as a forest ranger and reported for work at the Trout Lake Forestry Headquarters in Vilas County. So started the Wisconsin forestry career of Fred Wilson spanning a period from 1911 until 1952, with the exception of the period 1916-1922, when Forestry was declared unconstitutional in Wisconsin.
In 1922, Wilson added another first to his list of forestry achievements, becoming the first extension forester at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, serving in this capacity until 1930. An early experiment for the need of land use zoning found Wilson crusading in 25 rural northern counties, resulting in the first rural zoning ordinance in the United States restricting land use to forestry in 1933. The zoning movement spread rapidly from the initial Oneida County ordinance until 5,000,000 acres of lands were closed to agricultural use by the end of the decade.
One of the most significant steps in the development of Wisconsin’s forest policy was the 1929 Legislative Interim Committee report on forestry and public lands. The report drafted by Wilson lead to legislation enabling counties to take title to delinquent land, to establish county forests and to zone for forestry. The existing 2 1/4 million acres of county forest, comprising the largest ownership of public lands in the state, was acquired without a legislative fiscal appropriation.
Wilson was a fifty-year member in the Society of American Foresters and received the Distinguished Service Award of the WisconsinMichigan Section in 1968 He was also recognized with the prestigious rank of Fellow in the Society in 1979. The Natural Resources Board honored Wilson in 1973, by naming the forest nursery at Boscobel, Wisconsin, the F. G. Wilson Nursery; it was the first Department property named after a living person.