The first piece of legislation written by newly-seated Rep. Nick Milroy, D-Superior, is making its way to becoming a reality.
The Totagatic River a step closer to being designated as a state wild river. On Wednesday, the bill passed with unanimous support in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.
Milroy serves on the committee and says he was pleased with the bi-partisan support his first piece of legislation received.
"I'm glad that both sides of the aisle understand the importance of protecting the last of our wild places in northern Wisconsin," Milroy said. "This designation will protect the Totogatic River for generations to come, enhancing our quality of life and strengthening our economy."
During a legislative hearing the lawmaker described the river as a "truly wild and beautiful place. I have canoed this river and it's a place where you actually imagine that you are the first person to visit," Milroy said. "It is also important that this river receive this designation as it flows into the Namekagon River, which is already a federally designated wild and scenic river," he stated.
State Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, is sponsoring the identical bill in the senate, reviving the decades old legislation that allows for this designation.
"It's been over 40 years since the last wild river was designated in Wisconsin and I couldn't be more pleased than to work with Senator Jauch on this bill. Senator Jauch has long been a leader and advocate for the protection of the quality of our water," Milroy said
Milroy's inspiration for the legislation came from Washburn County officials and supporters from the Washburn County Lakes and Rivers Association.
"A lot of the best legislative ideas come from individual citizens. Having started at the grassroots level in Washburn County, this proposal is no exception," Milroy said. "As a citizen, I lobbied for this designation for several years as a delegate to Superior Days, so it's very exciting to be bringing this citizen-led effort forward as my first bill as a state representative."
The bill is tentatively scheduled to be voted on next week by the full Assembly.
Milroy said he is optimistic that the bill will receive favorable support in both houses and will be signed into law by Gov. Jim Doyle.