Winter in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula presents a unique set of challenges. This is no secret. From wind and snow to below zero temps, it’s something all of us who live and work here have learned to manage. Our foresters are no different when implementing winter forest management. Our winter months present challenges, but also a lot of opportunity.
But this year’s winter has been one for the record books, and not in a good way. We wanted to give you an update on the obstacles we’ve encountered and provide a glimpse into how our team is managing it.
First, for those not super familiar with forest management, you may think winter is the least ideal time of year to plan a harvest. But actually, winter can be a great time for forest management. Why? We work in a lot of areas that include lower land with wet soil. When the ground is frozen solid, our trucks and machinery can access these areas that would not be accessible during any other time of the year. This makes winter favorable in this context.
This winter though has been one of the oddest in our careers. Given the warm temps and ongoing rain, it has made accessing a lot of land very challenging and sometimes, impossible. Ground that should be frozen isn’t and therefore trucks easily break through and get stuck. Plus, with the record amount of ice we’ve had this year, even getting our team to high ground has been a challenge.
One solution that is working but takes a lot of extra time and resources has been bringing sand trucks into the woods. Our foresters have spent inordinate amounts of time dealing with ice this season, including the use of sand so that logging trucks and equipment can access properties. The good news: Where there is a will there is a way. Our foresters are still completing a lot of harvests even though conditions are less than favorable.
And while the weather has not been our friend this year, there are still a lot of advantages to winter harvests. There are fewer animals active and less insects around, making it easier to protect wildlife and control pests without harming other species. Trees aren’t actively growing, so there’s less risk of harming them. Winter forest management can also help reduce the risk of wildfires, improve timber quality, and maintain biodiversity. These opportunities are all additional reasons we love working with our landowners during the winter months.
Interested in planning a harvest on your own property?
All of our logging activities are well-planned. When you work with Kretz Lumber Company, you work side by side with one of our experienced, knowledgeable foresters to ensure your goals are met while also leveraging any advantages the season you choose to harvest provides. To talk with someone on our forestry team about your questions, contact us today.