Forestry, Recreation Department Honored for Management Practices
The Langlade County Forestry and Recreation Department has achieved regional honors for its management practices.
At the quarterly meeting of the Lumberjack Resource Conservation and Development Council, Forest Administrator Erik Rantala and staff received the Chairman’s Special Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to promoting good forest stewardship through education and example.
At one time, Langlade County was covered with stands of pine, hemlock, and hardwoods on the highlands, and cedar, spruce, and balsam on its lowlands. These forests provided raw material for a thriving lumbering industry from 1860 to about 1910. But by the early 1900s, the forests were nearly completely destroyed. The logging slash was ideal for wildfires which essentially culminated with the Peshtigo fire.
Immigrants rushed to these newly cleared lands hungry for a place to farm and build their lives. But in just a few years, the soils gave out and these people left to seek their fortunes elsewhere, leaving the land increasingly barren and tax delinquent. The Langlade County forest originated with the taking of those tax delinquent lands. It now comprises 130,002 acres, or 23 percent of the county and is the seventh largest county forest in the state.
Forest based recreation has expanded rapidly in recent years in Langlade County. recreational opportunities providing developed facilities include parks, beaches, campgrounds, waysides, boat landings, canoe campsites, and snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle, sled dog, mountain biking, hunter/walking, Ice Age Trail or cross-country ski trails. The county forest also provides tremendous opportunities for informal recreational pursuits not requiring developments. These include hunting, fishing, berry and mushroom picking, bird watching, hiking, biking, and sight-seeing.
Today, it is the responsibility of the Langlade County Forestry and Recreation Department to oversee activities conducted on county forest lands. The forestry and recreation department consist of seven county staff personnel.
Major accomplishments from 2015-2016 on the Langlade County forest include:
—54 timber sales were established totaling 3,080 acres.
—8,327 acres of field reconnaissance was updated on the County Forest.
—Timber sale revenue generated $2,206,170 in 2015.
—Administered and closed out 43 timber sale contracts on 2,696 acres.
—Conducted inventory and treated of invasive species on 300-plus acres.
—50-plus timber sales established with anticipated acreage to be 2,900 acres.
—11,000 acres of field reconnaissance was updated on the county forest.
—Timber sale revenue anticipated to be $1,800,000.
—Administered 35 to 40 timber sale contracts.
—Contracted with timberland invasives partnership for invasive species related work.
—Conducted intense inventory and mapping of garlic mustard, buckthorn and wildparsnip populations.
—Implemented policies with loggers and recreation groups to reduce the spread of invasives.
—Continued to monitor the advancement of Oak Wilt, Heterobasidion root disease and Emerald Ash Borer.
Recreational activities on the County Forest include:
—Veterans Memorial Park, with 48 campsites; three cabins; and three group sites.
—Eleven department-maintained waysides throughout the county.
—Kettlebowl Ski Hill and the Langlade County Bow and Gun Range, in cooperation with clubs.
—551 miles of snowmobile trails, working cooperatively with 10 clubs to administer program, which includes grant writing and trail/bridge rehabilitation
—91 miles of ATV trails, working cooperatively with four clubs.
— Horseback riding trails, sled dog trails, cross country ski trails, Ice Age Trail in cooperation with clubs.
The forestry department along with assistance from DNR maintains a network of Hunter walking trails. Timber sales/aspen management is coordinated /planned with wildlife habitat considerations.
Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) is a rural development program focusing on conservation, development and utilization of area natural resources to improve social, economic, and environmental conditions for area citizens.
The Lumberjack Council serves Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Shawano and Vilas counties.
Source: Antigo Daily Journal