Holmboe Expands & Permanent Access Secured

The Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) acquired six acres of land on January 24, 2024 to expand the Holmboe Conifer Forest in Rhinelander.  Even more important was the need to secure deeded access from Boyce Drive, where Holmboe has been located since it was established in 1965.

When The Nature Conservancy (TNC) transferred Holmboe to NWLT in 2007, it came without deeded access.  This left the chance that the community could one day be denied the opportunity to visit the old-growth forest and network of hiking trails.

In 2023, when plans for a condominium redevelopment at Riverview Hall fell through, the building and the land surrounding it was listed for sale. NWLT identified six acres as being suitable for the expansion, and then an offer was made and accepted. Charitable gifts and grants provided the financial resources for NWLT to purchase the property, making Holmboe a total of 38 acres in size today.

“NWLT appreciates the cooperation of the owners of Riverview Hall, who have graciously allowed for access and parking for Holmboe over the years.  We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to secure permanent access to this hidden gem in the middle of the city of Rhinelander,” said Kari Kirschbaum, NWLT’s Land Protection Director.

Holmboe is unique among NWLT’s conservation properties as it’s also a designated a State Natural Area due to its ecological importance. The State Natural Area designation only applies to the 32 acres originally donated by Frithjof and Thoralf Holmboe to TNC, which features old-growth forests, glacial ridges, lowland swamps, and natural springs that flow into the Pelican River, right near the confluence of the Wisconsin River.

Included in the Holmboe expansion is a small parking area, and a natural vegetative buffer to protect the conservation land from any future redevelopment on adjacent properties. An additional 100 feet along the Pelican River has also been protected as a part of this project. Now, the greater Rhinelander community can be assured that Holmboe will be accessible for generations to come.

The expenses related to this project were supported by grants from the Caerus Foundation, John C Bock Foundation, Arthur L & Elaine V Johnson Foundation, Modestus Bauer Foundation, James & Jane Watermolen Foundation, the Spencer family, and an anonymous donor.


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