The Northwoods Land Trust is looking for your input! We are in the process of updating our five-year strategic plan and we would like your feedback to help steer our conservation priorities going forward. Please fill out this short questionnaire through Survey Monkey. We appreciate and value your response as your input will help us focus our efforts into the future. Thank you!
By Bryan Pierce (Former NWLT Executive Director)
The Northwoods Land Trust lost a great conservationist and friend when Dan Wisniewski passed away on April 16th at the age of 73. Dan was an exceptional individual who truly exhibited extraordinary commitment to Wisconsin’s land conservation movement. That commitment included everything from the most local land protection efforts, to county, state and even national level conservation initiatives.
Dan held a series of positions in state and local government for 35 years. He served on the staffs of three Wisconsin governors, including four years as Chief of Staff for Governor Tony Earl. Dan was instrumental in encouraging the support of each of the governors for a host of conservation programs including maintaining the authorization and funding for the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.
Governor Jim Doyle appointed Dan to be Executive Secretary for the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) where he served for five years before retiring. At BCPL, he was responsible for the management of about 80,000 acres of forests and wetlands in northern Wisconsin.
Dan was always exceptionally savvy, and was well aware that some of the last remaining old growth forest tracts and pristine wetlands owned by BCPL could be threatened. He shared that concern at a meeting of conservation partners hosted by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin in August of 2004. That meeting is where I first met Dan and where he also became acquainted with the work of the Northwoods Land Trust.
Dan agreed to join the NWLT board of directors in 2005 and quickly became the chair of the conservation committee which evaluates and recommends approval of all of NWLT’s conservation projects. He stated that “being on the NWLT board has given him the opportunity to be an active part of conservation at a most basic, grassroots level, helping people preserve the land they love.”
When Dan started on the board, the land trust had just completed its 7th conservation easement and had protected a total of about 174 acres of private lands with about 1.5 miles of natural lake shorelines. Since that time Dan helped shepherd conservation projects to reach a current total of over 13,600 acres and 72 miles of lake and river shorelines permanently protected on well over 100 successful projects.
Among these projects are two critical old-growth sites NWLT acquired directly from BCPL to ensure their lasting protection – a 40 acre old-growth white cedar parcel with nearly 1,000 feet on the Deerskin River in Vilas County, a popular trout stream, and most recently a 129-acre tract of old-growth hemlock/hardwood forest in Iron County with over 870 feet of natural frontage on Sack Lake, a DNR-identified “wild lake.” These purchases are just another way Dan was able to help permanently protect some of the “best of the rest” of remaining natural area quality habitats in northern Wisconsin.
Dan also volunteered his assistance with the Friends of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy, served on the Dane County Parks Commission, was appointed to the Wisconsin Stewardship Advisory Group, and helped at local, state and national levels with Trout Unlimited. Dan’s efforts were recognized with lifetime achievement awards from Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts and from the Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Dan loved the rustic cabin he constructed on Spring Lake in Vilas County in the spirit of Aldo Leopold. He spent many days exploring the land and waters of the Northwoods, especially with a fly rod. His passion for trout fishing was well known. He made it his personal mission to get me out of the NWLT office each summer to fish the Deerskin and other trout waters.
Our hearts go out to his wife, Fran DeGraff, his five children and other family and many friends. We have all lost a great role model, conservation leader and friend. He truly made a positive, lasting impact in the Northwoods and far beyond. We will all miss him dearly.
On February 27th, 2020, Richard and Carol Phillips donated a conservation easement to the Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT). This conservation easement will protect forever all of Hemlock Island on Wildcat Lake in Presque Isle in Vilas County.
Carol said, “Ever since I vacationed at Wildcat Lodge as a kid, my favorite thing about Wildcat Lake was its extensive natural shoreline and the wildlife it attracted. It means a great deal to me to be able to forever protect beautiful Hemlock Island and the wildlife it nurtures.”
Hemlock Island is approximately 4.5 acres in size with 2,252 feet of natural shoreline, and is located in the Border Lakes region of Vilas County, an area that boasts extensive forests, wetlands, lakes, and streams along Wisconsin’s northern boundary with Michigan.
Although the island is not open to the public, it provides many public benefits including wildlife habitat for nesting birds and spawning fish, scenic value to residents and visitors to Wildcat Lake, protection of water quality by limiting runoff into Wildcat Lake, and complimenting protective efforts of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The State owns the lake’s four other islands and the Northern Highlands-American Legion State Forest is located on the south end of Wildcat Lake.
“The Northwoods Land Trust is grateful to Richard and Carol for their determination to protect Hemlock Island for the health of Wildcat Lake, and the benefit of the fish, wildlife and people that enjoy the lake. Because of their tenacity and generosity, the island will remain wild and scenic forever,” stated Kari Kirschbaum, NWLT Land Protection Coordinator.
Join Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) on Saturday, March 7 from 6:30-8 pm for a 1 mile candlelight snowshoe at the Holmboe Conifer Forest State Natural Area in Rhinelander.
Optional opportunity afterwards at Rhinelander Brewing Company to warm up.
Please register in advance by calling at 715-479-2490 or email Troy.
See our Events page for more information and location directions.
The Old-Growth Forest Initiative of the Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) aims to conserve some of the last pockets of these forests by assisting private landowners and government agencies in protecting existing old-growth habitats, and by managing some of their forests to encourage development of old-growth over time.
In December of 2019, NWLT acquired the Sack Lake Hemlocks Old-Growth Forest in the Town of Knight in Iron County from the State of Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL).
The Sack Lake Hemlocks property includes 129 acres of land and 871 feet of natural shoreline on Sack Lake, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) identified “wild lake.” NWLT acquired the property after a year-long process of discussions with BCPL, working out the logistics of the transaction, and raising grant funding from various private foundations.
In an effort to consolidate land holdings, BCPL has been selling or trading some tracts of publicly owned forestland in recent years. Some of the tracts identified for sale or trade include vulnerable old-growth sites. By NWLT acquiring the Sack Lake property, it allowed BCPL to acquire a different tract of land that is both more suitable for timber management and is adjacent to other BCPL holdings.
Ecological, cultural and recreational values are retained in old-growth forests as they attract hikers, birders, hunters, and budding scientists. As the new owner of the Sack Lake Hemlocks property, NWLT will manage it for its old-growth forest habitat and for the wildlife that thrive there, as well as for public access for hiking, hunting, fishing and nature observation. The Sack Lake Hemlocks property has been identified as particularly important habitat for the American marten, a Wisconsin Endangered Species.
Grant support for the permanent conservation of the Sack Lake Hemlocks Old-Growth Forest was provided by the Caerus Foundation, Inc., John C. Bock Foundation, Modestus Bauer Foundation, American Natural Heritage Foundation, Arthur L. & Elaine V. Johnson Foundation, James D. & Jane P. Watermolen Foundation, and Cellcom Green Gifts Program.
Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) will host a snowshoeing and cross county skiing afternoon event at the Minocqua Winter Park on Monday, February 24 from 1 pm to 4 pm. This event open to the public, but participants will need to purchase a day pass at MWP to ski ($15) or snowshoe ($8). Participants will be snowshoeing 1.5 miles over uneven terrain or skiing at least 3.5 miles to explore the diverse trails in this large expanse of land, much of which is conserved by a NWLT conservation easement. We will meet in the heated Ski Chalet which also has restrooms available. Snowshoe and ski rental are available at the Minocqua Winter Park Ski Shop (http://minocquawinterpark.org/). Please register in advance by calling at 715-479-2490 or email Troy.
See our Events page for location.
Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) will host a snowshoeing event at the Tara Lila property on Sunday, January 26 from 10 am to noon. The event will begin at the Currie Shelter near the parking area on Section 9 Road and then head out for a 1.5-2 mile snowshoe hike on the Section 9 Road Unit. Participants will need to provide their own snowshoes or let us know far enough in advance so we can possibly assist in getting some! Please register by calling us at 715-479-2490 or email Troy by Thursday, January 23.
Check out NWLT’s Fall newsletter. In it we share stories about our three most recent donated conservation easements, a Q&A with our new Executive Director Ted Anchor, and a summary of the awards honoring Bryan Pierce and the Yawkey Lumber Company for their conservation legacies.
Issues in the Sustainable Management of Temperate and Tropical Forests
Robert Simeone will present his experiences over the last 35 years of working with indigenous communities in the Amazonian regions of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador that led him to become one of the six founders of the Forest Stewardship Council. Join Robert as he describes one forester’s experience in confronting global natural forest losses and the emergence of new concepts in Sustainable Forest Management. His talk includes a brief history of forest science, global forest trends today, conservation strategies to save the forest, wilderness and the indigenous mind, and new forestry within an ecological context. This event is held in partnership and located at Trees for Tomorrow.
November 15 at 6:30 to 7:30 pm
The NWLT Board of Directors is pleased to announce that they have hired Ted Anchor of Kankakee, IL to serve as the organization’s Executive Director. For 11 years, Ted worked as the Northwest Indiana Program Director for the Indiana Chapter of The Nature Conservancy where he managed all aspects of their flagship 8,400 Kankakee Sands Preserve. For six years prior to working for TNC, he was the Outreach Specialist/Ecologist at the University of Wisconsin – Madison where he earned his Masters of Science in Land Resources & Ecosystem Management. “I’ve been hunting, fishing and exploring the woods and waters around our family camp in the Chequamegon National Forest in Price County my whole life, and this role will afford me the opportunity to help conserve a region I care deeply about,” said Ted. Ted is NWLT’s second executive director since its founding in 2001. Bryan Pierce recently retired as executive director after 18 years of service.
NWLT’s 18th Annual Meeting event was held on June 21 at the Northwoods Center in downtown Eagle River. It featured NWLT’s accomplishments over the past year (see the Annual Progress Report) including reaching over 13,000 acres of land and 70 miles of natural shorlines protected. Long-time Executive Director Bryan Pierce was recognized for his dedication to NWLT and northwoods conservation since 2001. Bryan is retiring this summer and turning the reins over to Ted Anchor to serve as NWLT’s 2nd Executive Director.
After 15 years, Bryan Pierce has announced his plans to retire from NWLT as its first Executive Director. The announcement came as no surprise, as NWLT has been working on succession planning policies and procedures for the last couple of years.
The information below is from Spring of 2019 and has been left here for those reading about Bryan’s retirement.
“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.” “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.” Pierce expects to work through the NWLT annual meeting in late June of 2019, with overlap to orient the new director.
One of the largest outright donations of conservation land to a land trust in Wisconsin, and what we believe is the largest amount of lake frontage, was gifted to the Northwoods Land Trust on October 31st by the Yawkey Lumber Company in the town of Hazelhurst in Oneida County. The new Yawkey Forest Reserve includes just over 430 acres of woodlands, wetlands and wildlife habitat, and protects about 4.4 miles of natural shoreline on beautiful Lake Katherine. According to Yawkey Lumber Company president Robert Hagge, Jr., the property has been under the same ownership for the last 125 years. This is truly an exceptional gift for all future generations on a highly scenic, clear water lake in northern Wisconsin. Our sincerest thanks to all of the Yawkey Lumber Company shareholders and representatives who committed to the lasting conservation of this historic property!
The Northwoods Land Trust has worked with the Last Wilderness Conservation Association (LWCA) to transfer ownership of 10 properties in the border lakes region of northern Vilas County. LWCA is an all-volunteer land trust that was organized before NWLT started. Their focus has been to primarily protect critical lake properties in the Last Wilderness area in the towns of Presque Isle and Winchester. The property transfers were completed in October.
The protected properties include 191 acres of land with over 9,400 feet (1.8 miles) of natural lake and stream shorelines now owned and managed by the Northwoods Land Trust as nature preserves and other conservation areas. Included among these sites is the entire shoreline of Genevieve Lake (pictured), a true “wild lake.” Also included is a second parcel adjacent to the Van Vliet Conservation Area which was donated to NWLT in 2017 and dedicated in June.
Four more conservation easements and three grants of development rights are currently in the process of being assigned from LWCA to the Northwoods Land Trust to ensure their perpetual protection. Our thanks to the Board of Directors and volunteers from the Last Wilderness Conservation Association for all of their work over the years to protect these scenic natural resources!
A number of our Board members (in bold) are slated to give programs in their area of expertise in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Nicolet College. John Bates, naturalist/author, coordinated several programs to highlight 50 years of natural resource management in the northwoods. Ron Eckstein, Retired WDNR Wildlife Biologist, is giving a talk on 50 years of Wildlife Conservation at Nicolet College followed by a trek through the Thunder Lake Marsh SNA just north of Three Lakes WI. On September 25th, Bryan Pierce, NWLT Executive Director, and Matt Dallman of The Nature Conservancy, will speak on 50 years of conserving private lands, from 9:30-10:30 am, followed by a hike at the Holmboe Conifer Forest SNA at 11 am. Bob Martini, Retired WDNR Rivers Coordinator, described how and why the quality of water has improved in the last 50 years, then lead a tour of key sites along the Wisconsin River near Rhinelander. For more information, and to register, go to www.nicoletcollege.edu and search for Outdoor Adventure Program.
The Northwoods Land Trust recently expanded our staff. We are delighted to announce that Carrie Rasmussen is now our Development Coordinator and Kari Kirschbaum is the new Land Protection Specialist. Carrie and Kari join Conservation Specialist Trisha Moore, Outreach & Monitoring Coordinator Sandy Lotto, and Executive Director Bryan Pierce as we continue our critical work to protect more private conservation land in northern Wisconsin. For profiles of Carrie and Kari, please visit Our Staff web page.
We had a wonderful turnout for the Northwoods Land Trust’s 2018 Annual Meeting on June 22nd at the Presque Isle Community Center in Vilas County.
The event was held jointly with the Last Wilderness Conservation Association. A light lunch, open to the public, offered a great opportunity to meet the board members and staff of both land trust organizations.
The Annual Meeting highlighted NWLT’s recent projects and activities through a fun and interactive Jeopardy game, created and hosted by Bryan Pierce, NWLT Executive Director.
Immediately following the Annual Meeting, we traveled about 6 miles for the official dedication of the Van Vliet Lake Conservation Area. About 20 people join us for the unveiling of the new sign at the Van Vliet Lake parcel donated to NWLT by Paulette Cary last December in memory of her husband, Jerry. Paulette led us to their old cabin and garage sites (now removed), and pointed out the pine trees they planted on the property years ago. We then offered a hike led by John Bates, noted naturalist/author (and NWLT Board member), through the nearby Van Vliet Hemlocks State Natural Area. A good time was had by all!
Directions: The Presque Isle Community Center is located about two blocks northeast of the intersection of County Highways B and W in downtown Presque Isle, next to the Library. To get to the Van Vliet Lake Conservation Area, go 1/4 mile east on Cty. B, turn south and follow Crab Lake Road south and west about 4.5 miles. Turn north on West Van Vliet Road and follow it about 1.5 miles to Fire # 7266.
The Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) is pleased to announce it is applying to renew its national land trust accreditation. A public comment period is now open. The Northwoods Land Trust was awarded national accreditation in 2013, which is in effect for a five-year period.
The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the national Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs.
Over the past 17 years, the Northwoods Land Trust has worked with private landowners who want to voluntarily conserve their natural shorelands, woodlands, wetlands and wildlife habitat. NWLT works in areas of Vilas, Oneida, Forest, Florence, Iron, Price and Langlade Counties in northern Wisconsin. Since it formed in 2001, the land trust has helped landowners protect over 11,000 acres of land and over 60 miles of lake and river shorelines, as public benefits for both the present and future generations.
The Northwoods Land Trust board and staff are committed to excellence. NWLT continues to work toward meeting all national land trust accreditation standards in an on-going process to ensure the organization is able to meet its perpetual conservation stewardship responsibilities into the future.
The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Northwoods Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/help-and-resources/indicator-practices.
To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org or email your comment to email@example.com. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Comments on Northwoods Land Trust’s application will be most useful by April 30, 2018.
As a very special Christmas gift last December, NWLT received our most recent donation of conservation land. Donated by Paulette Cary in memory of her husband, Jerry, this 2.4-acre parcel includes about 377 feet of frontage on Van Vliet Lake.
The parcel is also adjacent to another lot with 345 feet of frontage that Paulette donated previously to the Last Wilderness Conservation Association, providing for over 700 feet of protected shoreline.
In addition, these parcels help to buffer the Van Vliet Hemlocks State Natural Area. Visit our Conserved Lands/NWLT-Owned Properties page for more info and a map of this scenic new conservation area.
In September, 2016, the Northwoods Land Trust received an outright donation of a 96-acre parcel of land in the Town of Lac du Flambeau, Vilas County. The property is exceptional wildlife habitat with about 1.3 miles of natural shoreline on Koernet Creek, which is currently dammed into a large beaver pond wetland, and is home to nesting swans and other waterfowl. Upland forested acreage will continue to be managed for productive timber and pulpwood under the state’s Managed Forest Law program. The property is adjacent to Lac du Flambeau tribal lands which are also managed for forest products and wildlife habitat. About 2/3rds of a mile of trails are maintained in two loops. This site is open for hiking, snowshoeing, ungroomed cross country skiing and hunting.
Directions to the Marshall Wildlife Conservation Area: From Minocqua, take Hwy. 70 west about 13 miles. Turn south on East Squaw Lake Road and follow for about a mile. Turn right onto North Squaw Lake Road and follow about 300 feet to the access trail near the southeast corner of the
Congratulations to NWLT board member Dan Wisniewski and NWLT conservation easement donors Terry and DiAnne Hatch for their respective land conservation leadership awards. Gathering Waters, Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts, presented the 2017 awards at a celebration event on September 21st at the Monona Terrace in Madison.
Dan was awarded the 2017 Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award. Dan has spent his career, both in the state and local government and as a volunteer, influencing public policy that benefits land and water conservation in Wisconsin.
Terry and DiAnne Hatch received the 2017 Land Legacy Award for their generous support of land conservation in Wisconsin, approaching their philanthropy with thoughtfulness and consideration that ensures the lasting impact of their gifts.
Our heartiest congratulations to Dan, Terry and DiAnne on these special awards!
More than 50 people attended the official dedication of the Interstate Falls property on Sat., June 25th, 2016, where NWLT donated the deed to the property to the local township, ensuring public access to the site for generations to come.
For 58 years the previous owners, Don and Nancy Siebert, allowed the public to hike on their property and view the falls. In honor of them, the “Interstate Falls” sign also calls it the “Siebert Scenic Conservation Area.” An added plus to the day, we did a new conservation easement signing which allowed us to reach new milestones of 11,000 acres and 57 miles of shoreline protected since 2001! (More details below.)
Interstate Falls is a popular 18-foot waterfall on the Montreal River which forms the border between Wisconsin and Michigan. The parcel NWLT purchased includes about 38 acres of scenic mixed forest and about 2,500 feet of natural shoreline frontage on the Montreal River, a Class II trout stream. Our sincere thanks to the following foundations for their critical funding support to match the state Stewardship Fund grant: Caerus Foundation, James E. Dutton Foundation, John C. Bock Foundation, James & Jane Watermolen Foundation and the Modestus Bauer Foundation.
Directions to Interstate Falls: Look for the sign (pictured) just west of the intersection of Hwy. 2 and 51 (near Hurley, WI), to find a new parking area and signs to the 1/3 mile trail to the falls.
With the recording of our 76th conservation easement donation at our 2016 Annual Meeting on June 25th, the Northwoods Land Trust reached a major milestone for any land trust – conserving over 11,000 acres of land. That conservation easement was granted by James and Joy Perry on 99 acres in Iron County which includes 625 feet of frontage along the Potato River and 1.25 miles of shoreline on Barr Creek in the Town of Gurney. Our thanks to James and Joy for making this commitment to conservation for all future generations!
The Northwoods Land Trust office building is located at 519 E. Wall Street, just one block east of the post office in downtown Eagle River. After 11 years being hosted by Reach & Schwaiger CPAs (Mary Schwaiger is our Board President), NWLT acquired our own building – the former Christmas House store. Many thanks to the volunteers who worked hard to help us clean up and paint the interior, and staining and painting the exterior.
We are currently working to add interactive interpretive exhibits to the front meeting room so the building can be opened as a visitor center. Our goal is to keep the facility flexible for meetings, public programs and also to use to educate visitors about NWLT’s mission and the voluntary conservation tools we use to conserve the northwoods for future generations.
Voluntary Conservation by Private Landowners can:
- Preserve Natural Shorelands
- Protect Critical Natural Areas
- Promote Sustainable Forest Management
- Conserve Natural Habitat
- Enhance Recreational Opportunities
- Provide for Lasting Enjoyment by Future Generations
The Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) is a non-profit, tax-exempt conservation organization headquartered in Eagle River, Wisconsin. We work with property owners who care about their land so much that they want to see it protected long into the future. The Northwoods Land Trust is a Wisconsin Land Trust of the Year Award Recipient!
NWLT encourages and accepts conservation easements on property with natural or scenic resource values. After a voluntary land protection agreement (conservation easement) is granted, the land trust provides long-term stewardship of the protected land so the resource values are preserved in accordance with the landowner’s wishes.
Now more than ever, we need your participation to help protect our beautiful northwoods.
Please contact us at Northwoods Land Trust, P.O. Box 321, Eagle River, WI 54521-0321, (715) 479-2490, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Please note: due to sensitive spam filters on our email host server, please give us a call if you’ve emailed a question and have not heard back from us within a few days.)
PICKEREL LAKE LOT: 100-foot Lot on Pickerel Lake FOR SALE by NWLT! Sale of this lake lot will support NWLT’s northwoods conservation efforts. Asking price is just $109,000. The lot features a west-facing sunset view slope on this high quality lake west of Eagle River. The lake bottom is sandy and includes lots of bass and panfish spawning beds! Call us at (715) 479-2490 for more information.