What’s Happening…

Executive Director Position Opening

“As a founder and the first Executive Director of the Northwoods Land Trust, this has been the best possible career choice I could have hoped for,” said Bryan Pierce. “With over 13,000 acres and 70 miles of lake and river shorelines protected, over 100 conservation projects completed, an outstanding board of directors to work with, extraordinary committed landowners, and an organization that has grown from an all-volunteer group working on our first two conservation easement projects, to a permanent home in downtown Eagle River and an exceptional staff of five dedicated and talented individuals, we have come a long way.  So far, in fact, that I am absolutely certain the Northwoods Land Trust is well positioned as a sustainable conservation organization long into the future. That makes me very comfortable making the decision that is it time for me to ride off into the sunset (literally) and let someone else take over the reins of this outstanding organization.” DSCF2192“While I am still young enough and healthy enough to do it, my goal is to ride my horse on some long distance trails including the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. That means being gone long enough that I don’t want to affect the land trust’s operations. So it is time for us all to move on.” With that, NWLT is excited to post the Executive Director Position Description. The deadline for applications to the NWLT Search Committee is April 26, 2019 (extended due to delays getting postings through the University system).  Interviews are anticipated in early May, with a decision by the Board of Directors in late May. Pierce expects to work through the NWLT annual meeting in late June, with hopefully some (but not too much) overlap to orient the new director. This is an exciting position for a talented, committed individual who wants to make a significant positive impact on conserving the northwoods!

 John Bates Guided an “Old-growth” IMG_3423Hike at Holmboe on Jan. 17

Naturalist John Bates and Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) staff led a free guided hike through “old-growth” at Holmboe Conifer Forest on January 17. We had 20 people join us to hike the 32-acre tract with mature pines, hemlocks and scenic shoreline along the south side of the Pelican River. Bates is the author of nine books about northwoods ecology, his latest being “Our Living Ancestors: The History and Ecology of Old-growth Forests in WI and Where to Find Them”. “Holmboe” is one of our best local examples of “old-growth” forest, and surprisingly, it sits just outside the Rhinelander city limit. Originally donated to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 1965 by the Holmboe family, the land became one of the first State Natural Areas in 1969, and was donated to NWLT from TNC in 2007.

IMG_2969Hike to Potato River rapids

The Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) and Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts co-hosted a free guided hike and tour along the Potato River in the town of Gurney in Iron County, WI, on September 29th. Guiding the hike were Jim and Joy Perry, two botanists who together have enjoyed owning 99 acres of land on the Potato River since 1999.  The Perrys conserved their property through a land protection agreement (conservation easement) with the NWLT in 2016. The hike took place on the Perry’s land that includes over 600 feet of highly scenic canyon-like shoreline, rapids and waterfalls on the river, as well as over a half-mile along Barr Creek, a native brook trout stream. Where most of Wisconsin’s rivers run south, the Potato River flows north into the Bad River, which flows into Lake Superior, one of the world’s greatest fresh water resources. Just downstream from the property is the Potato River Falls, a popular public viewing area on adjacent Iron County Forest land.   Our special THANKS to Jim and Joy Perry for letting us enjoy their beautiful property!

Paddle tour on the Gile FlowageGile Flowage Island - Copy

The Northwoods Land Trust and Iron County Outdoor Recreation Enthusiasts also co-hosted a paddle tour of the Gile Flowage in northern Iron County, WI on September 12th. Participants met at the Gile Park where Cathy Techtmann, UW-Extension Environmental Outreach Specialist, President of the Friends of the Gile Flowage and a NWLT board member shared the history of the area. Cathy then led the paddle tour from the boat landing on the southwest side of the flowage to avoid the wind. We all enjoyed exploring the river, seeing the bald eagle nest tree, and paddling through the flowage islands.  Thanks Cathy!

Springstead Lake tour and history

On August 23rd, participants were treated to a guided paddle and pontoon boat tour of Springstead Lake in southern Iron County.  NWLT board members Meta Reigel Brandt, Ron Eckstein and John Bates shared the ecology and history of Springstead Lake. Ron Eckstein talked about his many years of banding experience with bald eagles – while we were all sitting near a bald eagle nest tree with a young fledgling eagle. IMG_2936 (2)Special thanks to the “good Doctor” (Meta) who, as the former director of the 1920s girls camp on Springstead Lake, traveled through time to share photos and the history of the camp, lodge and riding master’s home! This program was sponsored as part of the statewide LAND TRUST DAYS – a series of events coordinated by Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts to celebrate the voluntary conservation efforts of land trusts throughout Wisconsin.

New Conservation Projects Exhibit

IMG_0334Thanks to volunteer Dave Noel, our office building now has a unique new exhibit illustrating all of the land protection projects NWLT has completed to date. Dave utilized his electrical engineering skills to design special circuit boards and wire up a push-button display panel. Dave threaded over 1,000 feet of wiring into the circuit boards to hook up the LED lights. The hands-on exhibit now includes 86 completed projects! Stop into the NWLT building in downtown Eagle River and give the new Conservation Across the Northwoods display a try. Thanks Dave!

New observation pier at the Marshall Wildlife Area

pier3With help from several volunteers, the Northwoods Land Trust staff worked at the Marshall Wildlife Conservation Area to remove an old pier overlooking the beaver pond. We pulled out, cut up and hauled over 1,800 pounds of materials. Special thanks to Ed Marshall, Ron Eckstein and John Huppert for all of their hard work! A new pier and viewing platform was then constructed by Favorite’s Permanent Piers. Bring your binoculars and check out the new wildlife observation pier!

Deerskin River Paddle Tour

Deerskin River paddleThe Northwoods Land Trust held a public canoe/kayak paddle tour on the Deerskin River. About 20 canoes and kayaks participated. We paddled from a small access in the Nicolet National Forest, past three of NWLT’s conservation easement-protected properties, and then through the new Deerskin River Nature Preserve. Maps showing this scenic, easy paddle excursion are available from the land trust office.

More Volunteers in the Field

HolmboeWorkDay52016 005The Northwoods Land Trust worked with volunteers in May 2016 at Holmboe Conifer Forest State Natural Area. The volunteers constructed a couple of new sections of boardwalk over wet areas along the trail to keep the site from eroding. They also pulled and cut honeysuckle and buckthorn that are invading from the neighboring property and re-stained the entrance signs. Special thanks to Tim and Marcia Obukowicz for coordinating the trail projects and all of the volunteers who gave of their time and effort to help with this important work! Please call 715.479.2490 or email Trisha Moore at trisha@northwoodslandtrust.org to let us know if you would like to help with future invasive species removal or other projects.

Congress voted to approve permanent Conservation Easement Incentive Act

In a bipartisan effort, Congress voted at the end of December, 2015, to make the conservation easement tax incentive permanent. These enhanced income tax incentives will apply to conservation easements donated in 2015 and later. Our thanks to the Wisconsin legislators who voted for and co-sponsored the conservation easement incentive act. The enhanced incentives to encourage private landowners to donate conservation easements have been in place since 2006, but had to be renewed by Congress every two years. The enhanced provisions expired again at the end of 2014, but the permanent protection also applies retroactively for conservation easements donated in 2015. Those incentives increase the ability of landowners to utilize their appraised charitable deduction values for a conservation easement donation. Where previously landowners could deduct up to 30% of their adjusted gross income in any one year, under the enhanced incentives they can deduct up to 50% of their AGI. The enhanced benefits also increase the carry-forward period for using the deduction from an additional 5 years to 15 years. In our experience at the Northwoods Land Trust, these enhanced conservation easement benefits mattered the most to lower and moderate income landowners who could not use a large charitable deduction in any one year. Wealthier families would often be able to fully utilize their charitable deduction within the limits of the original provisions. Besides the Land Trust Alliance representing the 1,700 land trusts across the country, groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation, Ducks Unlimited, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society, National Rifle Association and National Farmers Union broadly supported making the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easements permanent. We greatly appreciate all of the bipartisan support making this important conservation tax incentive permanent!

Volunteer Work Days

VolunteerWorkDay12015-8VolunteerWorkDay12015It was lots of fun and lots of work as volunteers helped NWLT get the new office building ready to move in. The first work day on January 28th was our big clean-up/spruce up day. We painted over some “lovely” wallpaper in the bathroom and dining area, painted ceilings and an upstairs office, cleaned the bathrooms, kitchen, garage and basement, took down old Christmas decorations, and removed a bucket load of hooks, screws and nails. Moving day was March 1st. All of NWLT’s office furniture, many crates of conservation easement notebooks and other materials, and sixteen full file cabinet drawers were moved from the Reach & Schwaiger CPA office building a couple of blocks to our new home. It took five strong volunteers just to hoist a couple of desks to the second floor offices! IMG_0444IMG_0442Several days this summer saw volunteers helping to stain the entire exterior of the building and scrape and paint the windows and trim. Our thanks to all who helped! We have also had numerous donations for the NWLT kitchen and offices. Special thanks to Mary Schwaiger, Dan Wisniewski, Gary Meister, Marlette Larsen, Ron Becker, John & Jan Huppert, Roger & Carol Ziff, David & Kathy Noel, Jim Brown and Karen Isenbrands-Brown, Cindy Walters and Lora Hagen for all of their contributions!

Volunteers in the Field

HolmboeWorkDay11.2014 007The Northwoods Land Trust worked with volunteers and local biologist, Eric Kroening on November 4 to remove invasive shrubs near the Holmboe Conifer Forest State Natural Area. The volunteers pulled and cut loads of honeysuckle and buckthorn that are invading from the neighboring property. Our goal is to keep these and other non-native species out of the State Natural Area and regularly push them back from the boundary to limit the amount of invasives within the Holmboe property. Special thanks to the volunteers who gave of their time and effort to help with this important work! Please call 715.479.2490 or email Trisha Moore at trisha@northwoodslandtrust.org to let us know if you would like to help with future invasive species removal projects.

Building Renovated

DSCF0988 - CopyWith the help of Mark Shepherdson and the Arbor Homes crew and subcontractors, the NWLT office building remodel is nearly completed.DSCF1006 From the first demolition (which made the building look like a haunted house), to electrical, plumbing, framing and drywall work, our new offices are quickly taking shape. Our thanks to general contractor Mark Shepherdson of Arbor Homes, and his excellent subcontractors for all of their high-quality work! DSCF1037NWLTSign1 - Copy2With partial grant funding from Wisconsin’s Focus On Energy program, we are also installing energy-efficient LED lighting throughout the front of the building, replacing the buzzing of the old fluorescent fixtures. Stop in at our office and visitor center on Wall St. in downtown Eagle River – just one block east of the post office.

Also check out our article with North Central Conservancy Trust in Wisconsin Woodlands magazine! Contact the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association for more information at www.wisconsinwoodlands.org.

The Northwoods Land Trust goes social!


Check out the latest postings by Outreach Coordinator Sandy Lotto on the Northwoods Land Trust’s Facebook site. Watch for the latest news, photos (including great ones from conservation easement donor Beverly Engstrom), and event announcements. Don’t forget to Like Us on Facebook.