More than 300 elected officials—including several from this area—have signed a letter asking House Speaker Paul Ryan to protect public lands in Wisconsin, according to nonpartisan conservation organization.

President Donald Trump’s administration has proposed a 90 percent reduction in the Land and Conservation Fund, which pays to maintain public lands in the state, the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters said in a news release.

The fund has provided about $212 million to protect such places as the Ice Age Trail, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, St. Croix National Scenic River and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the release states.

The letter urges Ryan to mobilize Congress to reauthorize the fund before it expires in September and to preserve national parks and monuments. It was sent to Ryan’s office in Janesville and hand delivered to his Washington, D.C., office.

“We know the value of public lands to vibrant, healthy communities,” the letter states. “We know that public lands energize our economies. In fact, in Wisconsin alone, our $12 billion outdoor recreation industry, including our $4 billion hunting and fishing industries, depend on public access to our shared public lands.”

The Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages lawmakers to support policies that protect the state’s public health and natural resources.

These Rock, Walworth, Jefferson and Green county officials were among those who signed the letter:

John Bergman, Milton; Jim Brandenburg, town of Koshkonong; Richard Brandl, Clinton; Weenonah Brattset, town of Palmyra; Barbara Ceas, town of Richmond; Larry Christianson, Jefferson; Debra Cline, Brodhead; John Dohner, Edgerton; Kathleen Gross, town of Hebron; Kim Gruebling, Evansville; Veronica Heenan, Fort Atkinson; Karla Hill, town of Lyons; Donna Hollinger, Jefferson; Joseph Klarkowski, East Troy; Jeff Lehnherr, Edgerton; Lynn Lokken, Monroe; Sharri Loveless, Elkhorn; Ed Miller, Palmyra; Rosemary Olson, Fort Atkinson; Sarah Pope, Avalon; Mary Roberts, Jefferson County; Sally Saunders, Brodhead; David Schenk, Monroe; Ann L. Schwartz, Brodhead, and Charlene Staples, Walworth County.

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