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.
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many people who were owners of wooded property. They acquired their property by many different avenues. Some land was passed down through multiple generations. Others were newly acquired. A common theme with many landowners is they have the property for hunting. At least, that is a statement I hear many times. Whatever the reason for ownership, many landowners would like to do more with their property but are uncertain where to look for help.
Looking back at the 2010 deer season, it was a season of firsts for one Kretz Lumber family. Beginning with a brother and sister team, Michael and Lindsay Koeppel had a season to remember. During the bow season Mike was taking advantage of parent-teacher conferences and was in his stand early in the morning with his grunt call, doe bleat and rattling antlers. Soon after daylight he started his rattling grunt sequence and had a fork buck checking things out. A little while later a 6-pointer came in but he was determined to hold out for a bigger buck. Some more grunting and rattling and an 8-pointer with attitude came in looking for a fight. Mike was surprised at how quickly and silently this deer showed up and he knew he had to take advantage of moving only when the buck looked away. Trying to calm his nerves he drew back and shot. It was a good shot and the buck made it about 40 yards. This was his first buck with a bow.
It’s the fall and as I sit in my deer stand I become a hunter/forester/philosopher. Reflecting on the past year we are once again fortunate. Did everything go as planned? Not anywhere close! If life was predictable it wouldn’t be anywhere near as exciting, and yes sometimes we don’t need that much excitement.
On September 13, within the 29 acres of the Ray Kretz Industrial Forest located on the property of Kretz Lumber Company in Antigo, over 250 individuals came together to learn proper forest management techniques and celebrate the 13th Fall Forestry Festival. It’s all part of Kretz Lumber Company’s focus on teaching land owners correct forest care in order to strengthen forests and preserve the legacy of Wisconsin woodlands.