New Opportunities for Recreation & Sustainable Forestry in Bayfield County

Folks in northern Wisconsin have new community forest in which to recreate and explore thanks to the work of Bayfield Regional Conservancy.

The Conservancy completed the purchase of a 400-acre forested property from Plum Creek Timber Co. in late December, and will convey the newly established community forest to the Town of Lincoln in late 2013 pending a majority vote by town residents to accept the gift.

This new community forest in will allow for public access for hunting, fishing, hiking, birding and other non-motorized uses, and it will also provide protection for two miles of Marengo River shoreline along a highly erodible section of the river, so that it remains pristine for fishing.

Bayfield Regional Conservancy became involved in the project after being alerted to the realty listing by a group of town residents who asked for help in preserving it.

Bayfield Regional Conservancy became involved in the project after being alerted to the realty listing by a group of town residents who asked for help in preserving it.

In addition to offering public recreation, the property is intended to serve as an example of sustainable forestry and restoration. The Conservancy plans to hold field days in collaboration with other forest management organizations to further sustainable forestry tenets.  An additional management goal is to promote the prevalence of native tree species resistant to climate change, in order to ensure forest adaptability in response to climate change impacts expected for our region.

The land is largely forested, including a mosaic of forest types, and serves as habitat for state rare and endangered species, along with at least 145 species of birds. Other wildlife includes bear, deer, bobcat, fisher, American marten, grey wolf , wood turtle and more.

Already, a Friends of Lincoln Community Forest group has been formed to help with management of the property.  The Conservancy will participate in management of the property with a volunteer committee and promote school activities at the forest as well.

A Gathering Waters member, Bayfield Regional Conservancy is a non-profit land trust dedicated to preserving the places you love in northwestern Wisconsin.  Funds for the $673,000 purchase came from matching grants from the US Forest Service Community Forestry Program and the state of Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.