Q: I've always thought leaving a forest undisturbed was the best strategy for attracting wildlife. But recently, I've heard otherwise. Can you clarify?

Did you know that Antigo Silt Loam is Wisconsin’s state soil?

In 1983 state legislators voted to make Antigo Silt Loam our state soil. It is found prevalently in the area of Antigo, Wisconsin. Antigo is where our Kretz Lumber sawmill is located. This soil provides nutrition for the hard maple, basswood and red oak trees that are grown, harvested and hauled to our mill for processing into lumber. Our high quality northern hardwood lumber is then dried and sold throughout the United States and all over the world.

During the last ice age, which ended 11,000 years ago, a sheet of ice three miles high covered our area. When the glacier melted the soil it held, settled in the region that includes the Kretz mill in Antigo and extends almost to Minnesota. The soil the glacier deposited was then mixed with organic material over time to create the fertile Antigo Silt Loam.

Antigo Silt Loam has a unique mixture of sand, clay and silt. This combination can hold moisture, yet drain excess water. Its composition is capable of holding optimal nutrients to grow quality agricultural products including the forest we are surrounded by in North Central Wisconsin. Quality hardwood trees thrive in this type of soil.

Next time you visit Kretz Lumber, or the city of Antigo, it is worth a trip to the northeast side of the city to view our historical marker. It is pictured here and overlooks our treasured soil resource.

Get outside and share with us your best winter scenery photo. Enter our contest by uploading your favorite photo to our Facebook page. We’ll compile all entries into an album and fans will then vote on their favorite. The image with the most likes at the end of the voting period will receive a $25 Mills Fleet Farm gift card!

To enter our contest:

  1. Like Kretz Lumber Company's Facebook page.

  2. Post your submission to our Facebook page by 11:59 pm CST on January 31, 2016. Only one photo/submission per person. All photos submitted must be your personal images and cannot be purchased or copyrighted. The image must have been taken in Wisconsin.

  3. All submissions will be added to a Facebook photo album February 2 and then voted on by Kretz Lumber Facebook fans through Thursday, February 11. The picture with the most likes as of 11:59 pm CST on February 11 will win one $25 Fleet Farm gift card.

  4. Enjoy the great outdoors and good luck!


Contest Rules

No purchase necessary. One valid entry per person. This contest is void where prohibited by law.

Winners will be notified by a Facebook post. If a winner is unreachable after seven (7) days, or if that winner is unavailable for prize fulfillment, an alternate winner will be selected. If Kretz Lumber cannot find an eligible winner for the prize, that prize will not be awarded.

No phone-in, email or mail entries allowed. Contest open to all Kretz Lumber Facebook page fans.

All eligible entries must be posted to the Kretz Lumber Company's Facebook page by 11:59 pm CST on 1/31/16.

In the event of a tie, one winner will be randomly selected.

All entries must be original images taken by the individual submitting them. No purchased or copyrighted images allowed. The image must be taken in Wisconsin.

Photos become the property of Kretz Lumber Company and submitter agrees to allow photos to be used in Kretz Lumber Company promotions.

Kretz reserves the right to disqualify any entries suspected of cheating.

All disputes will be settled by Kretz Lumber Company.

Kretz Lumber Company reserves the right to change the rules at any time or cancel the contest.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.


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.

Friday, 11 December 2015 16:36

DNR Economic Workshop at Kretz Lumber

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.

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