George W. Blanchard
Inducted October 18, 1998
George Blanchard served in the state legislature representing Rock County from 1924-31 when major forestry legislation of the century became law. Senator Blanchard played a key role in the following legislation: the Forestry Mill Tax; the Forest Crop Law; Forest Fire Protection; authorizing of two Wisconsin national forests; forestry zoning; the County Forest Law; creation of the Conservation Commission; and authorizing of cooperative forestry research.
Senator Blanchard, representing a southern county, envisioned the forestry opportunities awaiting Wisconsin and steered the above legislation through an often hostile legislature. His leadership in passage of the legislation determined the density of forestry in Wisconsin and enhanced the social and economic well-being of the state.
George Blanchard’s legislative service and leadership in crafting the framework for the state forestry programs and his significant contributions to Wisconsin forestry are duly recognized.
More about George W. Blanchard:
George Blanchared spent 7 years in the legislature – 2 in the Assembly and 5 in the Senate – representing Rock county. It was during these seven years that the major forestry legislation of this century was drafted, introduced and enacted into law. The late Senator Blanchard played a key roll in the following legislation:
- The forestry mill tax (s.70.58)
- The Forest Crop Law (ch.77)
- Forest fire protection legislation (ch. 26)
- Authorization to have two national forests in Wis. (s.1.05)
- Nations first rural zoning law with forestry as a beneficiary (s.59.97)
- of a southern tree nursery at Wis. Rapids (s.38.06)
- County forest law (ch. 28)
- Authorizations for towns, cities, and villages to have forests and carry out forest practices (s. 28.20)
- Creation of the Conservation Commission and est. a system to protect, preserve and use the forests of the state (c. 23.09)
- Authorization for forestry research with the Univ. of Wis. and WCD. (s. 28.07)
Senator Blanchard was the legislative leader in gaining enactment of all this legislation that comprises the framework of the state’s forestry program today. Sen. Blanchard was Chairman of the Interim Committee on Forestry and Public Lands and is a southern legislator, was often at odds with the northern legislators who had a vision of the north country as farmland, not forests.
As a senator, Blanchard introduced or co-sponsored the following legislation:
- Creating Ch. 23 – the basis of the state forestry program.
- Creating Ch. 77 – Forest Crop Law to solve the tax delinquency problems of the time.
- Amending the original legislation to allow up to 1 million acres for two national forests.
- Creating s. 28.20 to authorize local, town and municipal forests.
- Creating s. 28.07 to authorize forest research between the UW and the WCD. Dr. S. A. Wilde doing the initial research on forest soils and tree nursery problems.
The attached reminiscences of Wm. J. P. Aberg, a pioneer in conservation and a Conservation Commissioner regarding the singular effort of Sen. Blanchard in getting the Conservation Act passed and the mill tax for forestry indicates the important role he played in determining the destiny of forestry in Wisconsin.
Sen. Blanchard chaired the Interim Committee on Forestry and Public Lands in the 1927 and 29 legislatures. The committee sponsored the Wisconsin Conference on Commercial Forestry in Milwaukee in 1928 – the first such conference ever held in the state. The report recommended changes in the forest crop law, expansion of the state nursery program, allowing counties to enter the forest crop law, and the need to expand forestry research. Sen. Blanchard was the driving force to use these public forums to gain support for forestry when it was not a popular issue with the legislature and the general public. In retrospect, he was very successful.