An agreement gained by Gov. Scott Walker’s administration to facilitate forestry management and watershed work in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is being put into action with the first timber cut and salvage operation now underway in the 1.5 million-acre forest.
As part of the Good Neighbor Authority agreement between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin is pioneering the expanded authority granted by Congress that allows states across the country to build on the work being accomplished by the U.S. Forest Service. The agreement, which includes expanded forest-management and watershed-restoration activities on federal lands, promises to support jobs while improving wildlife habitat and water quality.
“This first project provides an excellent example of what we can accomplish for the environment and the economy,” Walker said. “The winning bid for the project was awarded to a local employer to remove timber damaged in a windstorm. The wood itself has real value. The Good Neighbor Authority agreement enables the DNR to add to U.S. Forest Service resources, speed the contracting process, harvest the wood and help the forest recover. The U.S. Forest Service staff continues work on other projects, with the partnership resulting in more work being done on the ground.”
The first bid opening for timber sales under the Good Neighbor Authority was held April 20 with a total of 30 companies bidding on eight different sales. The awarded sales total 8.2 million board feet of national-forest timber.
Some of the first sales included timber salvage from areas damaged during a September 2014 windstorm in the Wisconsin counties of Ashland, Sawyer and Price. Among the sales was a 124-acre project on the Great Divide Ranger District that was awarded to FutureWood Corp. of Hayward, Wisconsin, for $69,080. Known as the Weasel Creek sale, it included a variety of wind-damaged timber such as Aspen and Northern hardwoods.