Baldwin and Tidwell Discuss Challenges Facing Wisconsin’s Timber Economy, Tour Public and Private Lands in Northeast Wisconsin
Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin brought U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to Wisconsin this week for a discussion with local stakeholders in Rhinelander regarding the challenges facing Wisconsin’s timber economy and how to improve management of Wisconsin’s forests. Following the roundtable discussion, Senator Baldwin and Chief Tidwell toured public and private forest lands in Forest County.
“Our forests and the timber industry in central and northern Wisconsin are facing a number of challenges. I have listened to their concerns and this is a good opportunity for me to help give them a voice with the head of our U.S. Forest Service,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m pleased that U.S. Forest Service Chief Tidwell accepted my invitation to join me in meeting with Wisconsin stakeholders today and discuss ways for the National Forest Service and local industry to collaborate and manage Wisconsin’s forests more effectively.”
Baldwin and Tidwell began the day in Wausau where they met with Paul Strong, Supervisor of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and Kathleen Atkinson, Regional Forester for Region 9. Senator Baldwin and Chief Tidwell then visited Rhinelander for a roundtable with forest industry and business representatives, environmental groups, educators and state and county forest officials.
At the roundtable, participants shared an update of the current state of Wisconsin’s forest products industry and highlighted opportunities for Wisconsin’s timber industry to collaborate with the National Forest Service to meet shared goals of improving forest management. Participants also highlighted the importance of tools provided through the Farm Bill to meet their forest management objectives.
Baldwin fought to include in the Farm Bill tools to help the Forest Service meet its management goals and partner more effectively with states and local stakeholders. These innovative contracting resources can increase the pace and timeliness of timber harvesting while also investing in habitat and forest restoration. At the roundtable, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tidwell announced a new tool for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest to help advance the work many stakeholders have put into developing a forest management collaborative. The U.S. Forest Service will send a Collaboration Cadre, a group of experts who will train local agency staff and work with stakeholders to show how collaborative management efforts have increased the effectiveness of forest management and sped up contracting efforts elsewhere in the country. This tool can help reduce delays that slow down work on the national forest.
Following the roundtable discussion, Baldwin and Tidwell toured both public and privately managed forests and an active timber site in Forest County. Gordon Connor of Nicolet Hardwoods led the tour of his family-owned, privately managed forest site in Laona, near Nicolet Hardwoods. At both the national forest and recently-harvested active timber stops, U.S. Forest Service guides discussed management of and plans for the sites. Throughout the tour, Gary Zimmer of the Ruffed Grouse Society discussed sustainable forest management methods for conservation and DJ Aderman of FutureWood provided insight on private and public land management.
Following the roundtable discussion, Baldwin and Tidwell toured both public and privately managed forests in Forest County. Gordon Connor of Nicolet Hardwoods led the tour of his family-owned, privately managed forest site in Laona, near Nicolet Hardwoods. At the stop to view national forest lands, U.S. Forest Service guides discussed the factors contributing to management delays. These include lawsuits that have delayed sustainable timber harvesting, and which could be prevented in the future through collaborative forest management. Throughout the tour, Gary Zimmer of the Ruffed Grouse Society discussed sustainable forest management methods for conservation and DJ Aderman of FutureWood provided insight on how the company works with the Forest Service to complete logging and stewardship projects.