Tuesday, 11 July 2017 05:18

Discovering antique Nahma timber maps

By: Charley MacIntosh, Kretz Lumber Company Forester

The town of Nahma Michigan is a very historic and unique lumber town located on Big Bay DeNoc Lake Michigan in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Isaac Stephenson was the first land looker in the area traveling from Oconto. He found enough timber with great river access to start a sawmill on the Sturgeon River. Sturgeon means Nahma in Chippewa. This was 1850 era. Land was purchased from the US government for $1.25/acre. As the years went by BayDeNoc Company built the town of Nahma and purchased many thousands of acres of land. They came north from Oconto (Oconto Company) after depleting the resource there. The company, now BayDeNoc Company, cut their first board in 1881 and had a great run until 1951, where again, the resource was depleted.

My wife and I purchased the old company hotel (Nahma Inn) in 2008. Two years later we bought the old general store mostly for storage, although there was quite a bit of old inventory from back in the days that sparked my interest. Excited to discover all the old items, I came across a box of what seemed to be paper that was going to get discarded. After further review I saw some color and writing. These were all the old company timber maps. Being a forester I was totally excited to see these. They are very accurate and depicted. There are a little over 200, each having their own section. Most were cruised 1895-1896. Each map and cruise was signed and dated by Webster Marble. Webster was a sought after forester and land looker back in the day. Webster put together a survival kit for foresters, trappers and anyone else that would spend countless days and nights out in the woods. The survival kit that Webster had put together took off like wildfire, in fact so much, he started a company to make these kits. This company is called Marble Arms, which is now based in Delta County. Their business makes highly collectable hatchets, knives and gun sights and are known globally. 

LoggersIn order to do our jobs well, we rely on a lot of different professionals while working in the woods. From loggers, haulers, excavators and more, we pride ourselves on working with some of the best in the business. Not only do great partners make our jobs a little easier, but they also help us meet our customer’s goals, which is our main priority when working in your woods. 

In this Q&A, we get to know Rickert’s Excavating Company, based out of Birnamwood, WI. They provide logging and excavating services to individuals throughout Central and Northeastern Wisconsin. We’ve worked with them for over four years and are grateful to have such experienced loggers in the woods with us. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017 10:44

Utilizing cut backs to improve log value

Improving log value

It’s no secret that tree cutting strategies play a big role in the log’s ultimate value. But unless you spend your days in the woods around loggers, you may not know some of the strategies we use to cut trees to their highest value. Here are a few examples:

This first image shows blocks that were cut from the end of the tree. By cutting these blocks, this particular log lost volume, however, its grade was improved. With that grade jump, the overall value of the log increased. Should the log have been cut shorter to begin with? It may have been miss cut because of the flair or bulge on the bottom left side of the butted piece. But by removing those blocks, even though volume was decreased, the grade improved, and consequently, its value.  

Managed Forest Law Program with Kretz Lumber

Do you have a mandatory thinning or harvest due for your property enrolled in the MFL program? Could you benefit from talking to an experienced forester about managing your cut? We can help!

As a landowner, you no doubt have goals for your property. As experienced foresters, our team can ensure your land objectives and MFL program requirements are met. Whether increasing wildlife and recreational opportunities or creating income, utilizing a forester’s skills before, during and after a harvest can help ensure the health and productivity of your woodlot. 

What can our team of foresters do for you?

  • Setup and administration of your MFL harvest, from filling notices, timber marking, boundary setup, harvesting operations, to prompt payment
  • Maximize long term financial returns from your forest, improve wildlife and recreational opportunities
  • Provide professional forestry management plans that are completed precisely to your expectations and goals
  • Deliver expert guidance on timber harvesting and sustainable forestry practices

To take advantage of our free offer to MFL program participants:

1. Call 715-623-5410 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
2. M
ention the MFL program offer. There is no obligation or fee due for this basic service.


Tuesday, 13 December 2016 11:42

Brandt family forestry services property tour

Jim and Al property tour

This past summer our head forester Al Koeppel took to the woods with Kretz Forest Family member and landowner Jim Brandt to record a tour of his property. What transpired was hours worth of educational, and at times comical, video sharing land management strategies that have helped Jim and his wife Yvonne improve their 480 acre Shawano County property.

While each landowner has different goals, here is a short list of some common goals we often hear when talking with property owners:

• Wildlife management (attract or deter certain species)
• Improve recreational usage
• Increase timber production
• Safeguard property from disease and invasive species
• Create income opportunities
• Increase land value

This first video in our Brandt family property series gives a brief introduction to how Jim’s family acquired their property and talks about a few of the strategies Jim and Al have have used to improve wildlife habitat and produce higher quality hardwoods.

Throughout the next few months, we’ll be highlighting different segments of our tour with Jim and Al, with the goal of sharing strategies you may be interested in using on your own property. Watch the first video now and let us know if you have questions related to your property by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 1-800-352-1438.

Written by: Andy Roelse, Kretz Lumber Company Forester

Tree gall

It can be very alarming to see galls forming on a tree on your property, but in most instances they appear to be more formidable than they really are. Galls can be formed by insects, fungi, mites and bacteria. Some may only form on leaves, while others form on branches and even the main leading branches of trees. Here we will touch upon the few most common galls seen throughout Northern Wisconsin.

Oak Galls

These blister-like gall formations can often girdle stems and can cause branch dieback.  In spring, adult female wasps emerge from branch galls to lay eggs in oak leaves.  The eggs hatch and larvae begin feeding along the leaf veins.  The tree then produces blister-like galls due to the blocking of nutrients by feeding larvae.  By mid-summer, the adults fly from leaf galls to lay eggs in twigs.  Eggs hatch inside the twigs and larvae start feeding and developing.  Galls begin to form on twigs soon thereafter.  Larvae often remain in twigs for two to three years until adults emerge.

How can we mitigate this problem? Examine oak trees annually for galls. If found, prune branches holding the gall. Branches should then be burned or buried. Consider harvesting your oak tree if overall health is dwindling.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016 12:07

Logging: An Agricultural Experience

By Charley MacIntosh, MAT Region 2 Board Member and Kretz Lumber Company Forester

Logging can often be left behind as the topic of agriculture arises. As a result, opportunities to educate and raise awareness for the economic and environmental benefits of our industry cannot be ignored. From roots of a corn stalk, to roots of an Aspen, both organisms are grown and harvested as a commodity that we could not go without.  

FFA Kretz Lumber Company

On August 16th, 2016, I had the honor of meeting with ten Michigan FFA state officers from across lower Michigan to assist in guiding them on an active logging site tour. The Michigan FFA Association focuses on developing student’s leadership skills, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Bill Brand, owner of Northland Harvesting, was gracious enough to let us tour his job. We were able to observe hot saw cutting and the loading of a log truck. 

ANTIGO - When the Kretz family started the Kretz Lumber Company here in Antigo in 1929, they built part of the original saw mill with hemlock that grew near the property.  Now, a piece of hemlock far older than that serves as a reminder of the company's rich history.

On the south side of the property outside the so-called Cabin stands an eight-foot-tall hemlock log.  A ginseng farmer in Bryant dug it up while plowing a field and thought it looked old.

Read the entire story from WJFW here

Thursday, 09 June 2016 08:32

Finding marker trees

Written by: Jim Kostrzewa, Kretz Lumber Co. Forester

After cruising timber with a client in Shawano County, the landowner took Kretz Lumber Co. foresters Al Koeppel and Jim Kostrzewa to a high clearing on his property to show them this unusual sugar maple tree. Could this be an Indian marker tree? (It must be noted that this tree may have been formed due to an accident of nature such as another tree falling across a young sapling and pinning the trunk to the ground for some years resulting in the bent shape.)

Marker trees were used by Native Americans to assist them in their survival in what was regarded as “the wilderness” by Europeans when they started their settlement of this continent. Traveling through this wilderness required good navigational skills and to assist them, Native Americans used marker trees as signposts to help find a river crossing, campsite, trail or other important features. (Coincidentally there is a river within a ½ mile of this site and this clearing on a prominent high point would have made a great campsite. As well as being a good vantage point there is little to impede even the slightest breeze. This would have been much welcomed by the occupants to keep the bugs at bay in the heat of the summer!)  The landowner reported it is said that Native Americans regularly travelled through this area and it is thought that by looking along the bent stem of the marker tree they were guided in the intended direction. 

Q: I'm looking to attract more wildlife so am considering the first tree harvest on my land. What is the best time of year to start the project and is there anything I should do to prepare?

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