Hayward – Governor Walker today recognized the first major stewardship purchase of his administration, an initiative that will protect more than 10,000 acres of new land in Northwestern Wisconsin for public use.
“This action guarantees permanent public access for hunters, fishers, trappers, hikers, cross county skiers and snowmobilers, and it ensures future generations that this land will not be developed,” said Governor Walker. “Long term forestry production is also protected through today’s agreement and will help support Wisconsin’s huge timber industry and related jobs.”
Privately owned, the land remains on the tax rolls. Tourism generates more than $12 billion in economic impact in Wisconsin each year and supports many jobs. The forest products industry employs 56,500 workers and provides 16 billion in economic value in wood and paper products.
The easement keeps this significant forest area in productive forest use under private ownership. It provides a very large area for permanent public access for hunting, fishing, trapping, cross country skiing and hiking. The land will remain in undeveloped condition and will be managed by the private landowner to insure productive managed hardwood and pine forests.
“Plum Creek is proud to have helped to conserve more than 1.3 million acres nationwide and we are especially pleased to play a role in conserving this Wisconsin land that has exceptional recreational as well as working forest values,” said Mark Sherman, Senior Resource Manager for Plum Creek. “Such partnerships take dedication and collaboration, and we thank state and federal leaders, the Trust for Public Lands, the WI DNR, and others for their support to conserve this land for generations to come."
The large block of forest land is at the southeast edge of the Chippewa Flowage, nestled in between the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest to the northeast, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources land on the Chippewa Flowage and lands of the Lac Courte Oreille Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, located along the west edge of the land.
The land is dominated by an upland northern hardwood forest with maple, read oak, birch and aspen. In addition, the property has red and white pine, spruce, cedar and hemlock. It has been managed for several decades as a working, productive forest.
Of the 18,000 acres, about 3,000 acres are wetlands and there are 32 miles of rivers and streams on the property. The mix of uplands and lowlands provides and excellent habitat for deer, bear, wolves, ruffed grouse and a host of other birds, mammals and other northern forest animals. The land is just south of the Chippewa Flowage, a world-class fishery for muskellunge and walleye. A world record musky was caught on the Flowage in 1949 weighing 69 lbs. and 11 oz.
The purchase price is $4,547,100. Of this amount, $2,500,000 is being provided by the US Department of Agriculture through its Forest Legacy Program. The balance of the cost $2,047,100, is from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program.
The current transaction is for an easement purchase of 10,083 acres from Plum Creek Timberlands. This is phase 2 of a two part transaction, timed to best use federal dollars. Phase 1 was closed in December of 2010 – 8,096 acres for $3,659,900. In total, the transaction covers 18,179 acres.
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