DNR Secretary Preston Cole speaks during the announcement of state funding for the Ozaukee-Washington Land Trust to acquire the Cedar Gorge Clay Bluffs Preserve along Lake Michigan, Aug. 18, 2022, in nearby Lion's Den Gorge Nature Reserve.  On Friday, Cole announced his retirement for Nov. 23.

Preston Cole steps down as Wisconsin DNR secretary

MADISON — The secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is stepping down after serving as head of the agency for four years, Gov. Tony Evers announced Friday.

Preston Cole will retire from the department on November 23 after a 35-year career in public service.

“Preston has been an integral part of my administration since day one, and we’re sorry to see him go,” Evers said. “With his help, we’ve brought science back to DNR, we’ve helped ensure Wisconsinites have cleaner, safer water, and we’re fighting climate change head-on, all while supporting our state park system and l outdoor recreational economy that so many Wisconsinites and visitors enjoy.”

Prior to Cole’s appointment in December 2018, he served for 11 years on the Natural Resources Council, the DNR’s policy-making body. He was appointed to the board by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle in 2007 and in 2013 by Republican Governor Scott Walker. He served as Chairman of the Board in 2013 and 2014.

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