Did you know that Kretz Lumber Company’s roots go all the way back to 1929? Kretz Lumber was founded by Joseph and Myrtle Kretz on the site of their dairy farm in 1929. That year they cut hemlock trees from the farm’s property, stripped the bark, and sold it to a local tannery. Having the logs leftover, the dairy barn needed repair, so they bought a portable sawmill from a “farmer up the road” for $75. As word got around the neighborhood the Kretz family was running a sawmill, other farmers from the community brought their logs to the Kretz family to be sawn into lumber for their own use. The picture above are three of the Kretz family members and that portable mill.
Having success with the portable sawmill, the family built a permanent sawmill at the same location of the farm. Through wise business decisions the Kretz family survived the Great Depression in the lumber business. Joseph and Myrtle succeeded the business to their three boys in the 1960’s. A grandchild, Dan Kretz, took the reins of the operation in 1973 and ran the business until 2006.
In 2016, Kretz Lumber produces 9,000,000 board feet of North American hardwood lumber that includes species like; hard maple, soft maple, red oak and basswood through their sawmill in a year. It also kiln dry’s 12,000,000 board feet of these same northern hardwoods and sells its products nationally and internationally.
In 1929 the Northeast Illinois Council of the Boy Scouts of America purchased an old logging camp near Pearson, WI, located about 25 miles northeast of Antigo. This became Camp Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan. Over the years the Council has purchased additional properties and today Camp Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan is approximately 1,560 acres in size. The Camp is heavily wooded with many different forest types, six spring fed lakes, one creek and numerous campsites. The Camp serves approximately 2,000 scouts per year and was rated by the Boy Scouts of America as one of the best camps in America.
The Division of Forestry began conducting listening sessions in 2013 to identify gaps in relationships between the DNR, landowners and private forestry. As a result, the Division of Forestry launched a Forest Products Services Program for their employees and began planning workshops to better educate and connect DNR foresters to landowners and businesses like Kretz Lumber.
It's time to get out in the woods and bag the biggest buck! Enter the 2015 Kretz Lumber Company’s Big Buck Contest and you could win more than just bragging rights. Every entrant has a chance to win!
The beloved aspen. Their long and lean trunks are easily recognizable, and their yellow hues this time of year remind us our season is changing. Most forest ecologists consider it a pioneer species, meaning that when aspen is present in the forest, and when the forest is heavily disturbed by fire, wind, or clear cutting, then aspen fills an ecological niche. They sprout by the thousands. According to the Wisconsin DNRʼs Silviculture and Forest Aesthetics Handbook, after an aspen stand is disturbed, root suckers generally sprout 10,000 to 30,000 per acre. And that is not brush, itʼs healthy, young trees. Shortly after these areas burn from forest fires or shortly after clear cutting an area, we typically find aspen sprouts numbering over 20,000 saplings per acre.
Picture this: Sitting on your land today is a hardwood which measures 9 inches in diameter. Much too small for sawlog product but definitely sellable for pulpwood. But why settle for pulpwood today when you can sell it for higher valued sawlogs down the road? In our world at Kretz Lumber Company, we call this “tree potential.” With the help of a forester, you can paint (or mark as others call it) your hardwoods in order to culture trees with the best potential to grow into higher quality product classes.
As an independent certified plan writer (ICPW) for the DNR, I work with a wide variety of landowners and forest types. While everyone knows you get a tax break by enrolling in the program, there is a lot of misunderstanding on the part of landowners who are either in the program or contemplating signing up. This article is not intended to make anyone an expert on the law and the program, rather I hope to make some basic clarifications.
Welcome to Jim and Helen Palmquist’s farm, known as “The Farm”. This century farm has its origin with Jim’s great grandfather, Jacob Gustafson. Jacob grew weary of coal mining in Wyoming and headed east to establish a farm. He bought 40 acres in 1900, just east of Brantwood in Price County. The original farm, as most were during that era, was a subsistence operation. Since then, The Farm has grown to more than 1,500 acres and has become a destination resort offering a variety of services.
Looking back, logging in this state has had its share of abuses in the last 150 years. Not much thought was put into harvest techniques, reforestation, or forestry until the early part of 20th century. People knew that after logging, the forest just grew back. Which it did, unless the forest was converted to farm fields, cities or roads.