The Tower Nibiiwan Conservation Area is in the Town of Sugar Camp in Oneida County and was gifted by David and Kathy Noel on June 22, 2022. The name, given by the Noels, refers to the old fire tower that sat near Indian Lake and the Ojibwe word meaning wet or watery.
It is 31 acres in size with 1,080+/-feet of natural shoreline around a small, unnamed bog pond. The pond is surrounded by scenic wetlands that encompass about half of the property. The other half of the property includes black spruce-tamarack forest and mixed pine-hardwood upland forest. This conservation area is passively managed, meaning active forest and wildlife habitat management activities are not typically conducted.
Public Use: hiking, snowshoeing, dog walking, wildlife observation, fishing, bow hunting and (carry-in) nonmotorized boating. Please, no motorized vehicles, gun hunting, camping, campfires, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Access: The 1+/- mile foot trail includes a boardwalk, short bridge and seating area overlooking the pond. Parking is at two locations along Arbutus Drive. Park alongside the roadway and use caution. Download the Tower Nibiiwan trail map.
Directions: Directions: From Hwy. 17 in Sugar Camp, turn on east on Ripco Rd., drive 0.6 mi., turn right on Arbutus Dr., drive 0.5 mi to trailhead. Tower Nibiiwan parking area on Google Maps.
The Northwoods Land Trust’s latest ANNUAL REPORT summarizes all of the local conservation projects, stewardship activities and organizational developments from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. During the timespan of this report, 360 acres of land and three miles of shoreland was protected by NWLT, thanks to the generosity of six families. Also included is the fiscal year 2021 financial report and list of contributors.
If you didn’t get the report in the mail, it means that you are not a current contributor. Please make a contribution of any amount to be listed as a donor in next year’s Annual Report!
The Northwoods Land Trust’s (NWLT) Shoreland Protection Initiative is currently being promoted to shoreland residents in Vilas County and northern Langlade County. The goals of the Shoreland Protection Initiative are to educate the public about the value of protecting privately-owned, undeveloped shoreline along our lakes, ponds, rivers and streams in Wisconsin’s northwoods, and to motivate landowners to permanently conserve land along our waters for future generations.
The Shoreland Protection Initiative promotion is being funded by a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Lake Protection grant and is supported by partners including the Vilas County Lakes & Rivers Association, Vilas County Land & Water Conservation Department, Langlade County Land Conservation Department, Langlade County Waterways Association and others. View the partnership video below aired on WJFW Newswatch 12.
Learn more: If you are an interested shoreland owner and would like to learn more about land protection options, our land trust, tax benefits and more, download our Landowner’s Conservation Guide. If you prefer to receive the Landowner’s Conservation Guide by mail, please request one by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (715) 479-2490. View our Conserving Private Lands video series featuring landowners who have placed a conservation easement on their property with NWLT.
NWLT offers its permanent land protection services to qualifying shoreland owners, generally those with 500 feet or more of undeveloped shoreline on sizeable lots, throughout our seven-county service area which includes Oneida, Vilas, Forest, Florence, Iron, Price and northern Langlade Counties.
Meta Reigel Brandt of Waupaca and Sherman, Wisconsin received the 2022 Harold “Bud” Jordahl Lifetime Achievement Award by Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts on June 10, 2022. Charles Carlin, Gathering Waters Director of Strategic Initiatives, presented the award to Meta at Northwoods Land Trust’s Annual Meeting at the Sherman Town Hall in Iron County.
Meta has devoted her lifetime to environmental conservation. She spent over 35 years working in environmental education at nature centers and as a faculty member at UW-Stevens Point. She also served as Administrative Director for the Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education. She has been an active board member at a variety of environmental organizations, including the Northwoods Land Trust from 2005 to 2021.
When she joined the Board, the Northwoods Land Trust had just completed its 18th conservation easement, protecting a little less than 2,000 acres of private land. Today, the land trust protects over 14,500 acres of woodlands, wetlands, and wildlife habitat.
Meta permanently conserved her family lands in Springstead with a conservation easement through Northwoods Land Trust in 2005, protecting 195 acres with shoreline access to Lower Springstead Lake and Springstead Creek.
“In addition to spending her career in environmental education, Meta has led by example, protecting nearly 200 acres of critical habitat in the Northwoods,” said Mike Carlson, Gathering Waters Executive Director. “She has had an enormously positive influence in her community and has inspired others to conserve lands for future generations.”
Brandt continues to be a strong advocate for private landowners to conserve their lands through conservation easements, increasing the amount of land permanently protected in Iron County and beyond.
About the Land Conservation Leadership Awards: The Land Conservation Leadership Awards recognize the outstanding achievements and contributions of individuals and organizations that devote their time and talents to protecting Wisconsin’s land, water, and wildlife. The awards are presented annually by Gathering Waters to conservation leaders.
Our Spring/Summer 2002 newsletter is available for viewing and downloading!
- Dugout Lake Conservation Easement donation by the Fuller family (Oneida County);
- Conservation focus areas; and
- Two new conservation donations from the Towner-Sposito family and Killebrew family in the Springstead region of Iron County.
Featured photo of Dugout Lake – by Mark Bugnaski
The 2022 Northwoods Land Trust Annual Meeting will be held on Friday, June 10th at 1 pm the Sherman Town Hall outdoor pavilion in Iron County to showcase the conservation projects over the past year as well as programmatic accomplishments and a financial report.
The featured guest presenter is Zach Wilson of the Iron County Land & Water Conservation Department. Zach is the County Conservation Specialist who has been studying the endangered American marten over the past fifteen years. He leads the Marten Project where students from two school districts learn about marten ecology, habitat, tracking and trapping. Researchers from all over have used data collected through this program to better understand more about this special animal.
Following the meeting, there will be a social with refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.
Following the social, there will be two optional outdoor excursions to conservation project areas in the Springstead region. The first is a pontoon ride launching from Upper Springstead Lake, where the new conservation easement on Flambeau Point will be viewed. The second option is a paddle on Stone Lake where participants will launch from the newly donated Tillicum Preserve. Please RSVP for these outdoor options. Space is limited.
Our new four-part video series titled ‘Conserving Private Lands’ features landowners who have donated conservation easements and showcases how private landowners have a role to play in preserving Wisconsin’s landscape. Learn why landowners are motivated to forever protect their lands, and what features of the properties are conservation priorities of the Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT).
Don Behm’s family’s property in Vilas County is located next to the Nicolet National Forest,
and the basis for protection focuses on the headwaters of Spring Meadow Creek.
Madalyn Conklin’s family’s land in Oneida County includes an undeveloped wild lake,
managed woodlands and fields of wildflowers, all surrounded by county-owned land.
DiAnne & Terry Hatch’s land in Iron County includes extensive undeveloped frontage on two lakes,
managed woodlands and wetlands, located near the Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area.
Ann Eshelman family’s land in Oneida County features extensive wild rice beds and waterfowl
habitat in an ecologically significant marsh that is along the Wisconsin River.
This series is meant to inspire private landowners to consider placing their lands under conservation with NWLT or with the 1,700 land trusts working across our nation.
Check out our calendar of events and bust out your snowshoes with NWLT to celebrate the new year and reflect on what was accomplished in 2021: five new properties were conserved, protecting approximately 522 acres of additional land, 3 miles of lake shoreline, and 1 mile of river & stream shoreline. Thank you to the donating families of these conservation properties and easements (agreements)!
During this season of giving, please offer a year-end charitable gift to our Land Stewardship Program.
Conserving land for generations to come requires that the Northwoods Land Trust has sufficient stewardship funds to care for the 14,312 acres and 77 miles of lake and river shoreline under our protection. Occasionally, we need to seek donor support for specific upgrades beyond what our invested fund can provide.
Listed below are a few examples of land stewardship project opportunities that we’d appreciate your investment in. With a gift of $25, $50, $100 or more, meaningful updates can be made at our properties to benefit our communities.
- Boardwalks, signage and a new entry kiosk at the Holmboe Conifer State Forest in Rhinelander.
- Boundary line marking and surveys for portions of the Last Wilderness Conservation Area lands in Presque Isle & Winchester.
- Establishment of an early detection program for invasive plants at our managed properties, such as the Yawkey Forest Reserve in Hazelhurst.
Please offer your tax-deductible donation to our land stewardship program so NWLT can prepare and budget for these needed upgrades. In the PayPal dropdown menu, choose ‘Year-end Special Gifts’ to have your donation applied to this fund. Thank you!
Our fall / winter 2021 newsletter is available for viewing and downloading! It features the completion of the Beaver Creek Hemlocks land campaign; the story of eastern hemlock; changes to our staff and board of directors; and the Minocqua Thoroughfare Conservation Easement.
If you’d like to support our efforts, please join as a member or offer a year-end contribution targeted to our land stewardship program.
The Beaver Creek Hemlocks Campaign is Complete!
The campaign was such a success, the fundraising goal was surpassed in October 2021! Over $411,000 was raised through private donors and grant makers – thank you to all who contributed to this project’s campaign! This additional funding will allow NWLT to construct a parking lot, boardwalks, trails and signs to be able to welcome the public by late summer 2022. The property will also be a primary location for our outreach and educational programs.
Funded in part by grants from:
John C. Bock Foundation
American Natural Heritage Foundation
James D & Jane P Watermolen Foundation
Modestus Bauer Foundation
Wisconsin Land Fund of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation
The Beaver Creek Hemlocks project advances our Old-Growth Forest Initiative.
There are pockets of old-growth hemlock-hardwood forest, and many mature trees throughout the interior of the property. These areas will be managed to encourage the continued progression toward old-growth.
Check out our new video featuring John Bates and Ron Eckstein, NWLT board members, highlighting the values of old-growth forests in northern Wisconsin and this project.
Background: The Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) was able to purchase two properties to forever protect the land that now makes up the Beaver Creek Hemlocks Preserve on Highway 182 in the Town of Sherman, Iron County. The 25-acre roadway parcel was purchased in December of 2020 to provide access to the 240-acre property purchased in May of 2021, owned for over 100 years by the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.
Conservation Features Protected:
- 265 acres of land
- 8,160 ft of creek shoreline
- 950 ft of bog shoreline
- Black-spruce tamarack swamps
- Vernal ponds, poor fen & wetlands
- Mature & old-growth hemlock- hardwood forest
Contact us with questions or comments.
NWLT welcomes Frank Schroyer as its new Land Conservation Associate to support the stewardship and monitoring of conservation lands, as well as educational and outings programs.
Frank lived in several different areas of Wisconsin growing up, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin –Milwaukee in 2017 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and B.S. in Conservation and Environmental Sciences.
Prior to coming to NWLT, he worked most recently as a Watershed Technician for the Ottawa Conservation District in Michigan, and prior to that as Conservation Assistant for the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Ecological Field Technician with Battelle’s National Ecological Observatory Network, and Natural Areas Technician for the Milwaukee County Parks System.
Frank now lives in Conover, where he will spend his free time enjoying his favorite activities, birding, fishing, and canoeing.
“I believe that by preserving land and implementing conservation in the Northwoods we can directly contribute to solving some of the major environmental problems we face today while simultaneously leaving behind a legacy for future generations,” said Frank.
Please check out NWLT’s most recent Annual Report, covering conservation achievements and more over the past year (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021), plus a listing of all 2020 fiscal year donors and audited financial reports.
In summary, conservation during this time included:
• 25 inquiries were made by landowners interested in learning more about how to conserve their land.
• 13 properties were visited by NWLT staff to assist landowners in determining if conservation is the right
option for their land.
• 7 land protection projects were completed, protecting 650 acres of land along with 6,030 feet (1.1 miles) of lake/wild lake/bog lake frontage and 8,960 feet (1.7 miles) of river/creek frontage.
The Northwoods Land Trust’s Annual Meeting will be held on June 11 at the Manitowish Waters Lions Pavilion on Airport Road & Highway 51. The outdoor event will be from 1:00 – 2:30 pm.
The meeting includes a financial report, programmatic highlights, and a featured talk on the Beaver Creek Hemlocks Conservation Project. Social time and refreshments follow. Attendees are
encouraged to wear a mask.
There will be an optional outdoors woods hike at the Beaver Creek Hemlocks property from 3:00—4:30 pm in Sherman (a 25 minute drive from the pavilion). The hike will be 1.5 miles over uneven terrain (no official trail), with a wet crossing requiring muck boots.
We hope to see you there!
We hope that you find this blog and video engaging and informative. Even more importantly, we hope you will take action to help birds on this 51st Earth Day.
Why is the Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) talking about birds?
By Troy Walters, NWLT Monitoring & Outreach Coordinator
Now more than ever, bird populations are decreasing.
I knew that birds were in decline, and recently learned that we have lost nearly 3 billion birds since 1970. This astonishing statistic was shared during a four-week course on bird conservation and best practices for land trusts. I asked one of the course presenters, Craig Thompson of the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Program, to share with NWLT in a recorded interview why bird habitat is in such decline and what we can do to help. During the interview, Craig notes that the primary driver of bird declines is habitat loss, and birds serve as bellwethers – indicators that something is awry in our larger environment.
Land trusts fit into bird conservation!
Land trusts are uniquely suited to help as they often work with private landowners which comprise 85% of Wisconsin land ownership. Keeping larger tracts of private property intact and conserved no doubt helps birds find necessary habitat components. Land trusts can use available data to support land protection decisions, such as the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) designations. While these IBA designations do not afford birds any official protection, these areas have important bird habitat components and can serve as catalysts for conservation action.
A changing climate is impacting birds and our lives.
In Eagle River in the early 2000s, it was rare for me to see certain bird species like cardinals and red bellied woodpeckers. By 2010, I recall seeing cardinals with regularity, and red bellied woodpeckers in nearby Rhinelander. While more southern species move north, boreal species in the Northwoods like evening grosbeaks, boreal chickadees, and gray jays are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
As indicated in Audubon’s 2019 report titled, Survival by Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink, about two-thirds (389 out of 604 species) are at risk of extinction from climate change using the 3°C warming scenario, which indicates that if we do nothing, the earth is predicted to warm 3°C by the end of the century. The bottom line is that if we don’t take action to curtail a warming climate, bird populations, along with other animal and plant communities, are likely to decline. This will have a measurable impact on humans as well.
We want to share useful information so you can have a positive impact on birds!
There are so many things we can do to help birds. By doing things that help birds, we help ourselves. Keeping cats indoors, using native plants, avoiding pesticides, drinking shade grown coffee, and making your windows safer are all concrete actions that help birds. There are so many resources out there to help educate a person about what can be done; with one of my favorites being Laura Erickson’s book, 101 Ways to Help Birds. If you want to use a tool to help you get outside and contribute to science, check out eBird.
Visit our Facebook page to leave a comment!
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
The Beaver Creek Hemlocks Conservation Project
The Beaver Creek Hemlocks, located in Sherman in southern Iron County, was identified as a priority for acquisition by the Northwoods Land Trust (NWLT) as part of our Old-Growth Forest Initiative. The Initiative aims to protect mature and old-growth forest habitat in the northwoods, educate landowners and the general public about the importance of these forests and conserve some of the last pockets of these rare resources.
NWLT signed the deed on May 20, 2021 to acquire Beaver Creek Hemlock’s 240 acres of land from our partner, the Board of Commissioners of Public Land (BCPL). Now this remarkable property is protected for future generations to enjoy! Back in December of 2020, we purchased the 25 acre adjoining property that provides access from Highway 182. Thank you to all of our donors and funders for helping make this land purchase happen!
The Campaign Continues
Out of the total $325,000 project budget, over 85% has been raised through donations and foundation grants totaling $280,000. Over the remainder of the year, NWLT will continue the campaign to secure all of the project funds for the long-term stewardship of the land and to develop the parking lot and low-impact recreational trails.
Funders to-date include the American Natural Heritage Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Caerus Foundation, John C. Bock Foundation, James D. & Jane P. Watermolen Foundation, Modestus Bauer Foundation, an anonymous major donor, and many other contributors.
Support the Project!
Please consider making a donation to help NWLT reach the finish line and open this property to the public for recreation. Gifts can be made by clicking on the PayPal link below, or by sending a check to ‘NWLT’ with ‘Beaver Creek Hemlocks’ in the memo. Donations are tax-deductible and will be restricted to the project.
Donation Perks! When you make your gift, place a note to request your book!
-$50 gift or more to the Beaver Creek Hemlocks gets you a copy of “Graced by the Seasons – Spring and Summer in the Northwoods” by John Bates.
-$75 or more qualifies you for a copy of ”Our Living Ancestors – The History and Ecology of Old-Growth Forests in Wisconsin and Where to Find Them” by John Bates
Contact us with questions or comments.
It also announces our current land acquisition campaign – the Beaver Creek Hemlocks Project. NWLT is raising funds to secure the deed to permanently protect this remarkable property!
NWLT’s newsletters are mailed to members, donors and landowners interested in conserving their land. If you’d like to support our efforts, please join as a member or offer a year-end
NWLT received a donation of a 27-acre property on December 10, 2020 that includes 27 acres of forest and wetland and approximately 2,020 feet of natural shoreline on the South Fork of the Flambeau River in the Town of Fifield in Price County.
Cecelia Rogers, Trustee of the Walter L. and Martha G. Hilgart Trust, along with her three siblings, donated the riverfront parcel to NWLT as a memorial to their late brother Walter “Len” Hilgart who passed away in October of 2016.
The Walter “Len” Hilgart Flambeau River Preserve sits on a bend in the river where the riparian communities include black ash, silver maple and red maple, with an open, shrubby wetland with blue joint grass and alder.
Because the property is only accessible by water, and not by land, NWLT will passively manage it, with a focus on wildlife habitat, protection of the South Fork watershed, and scenic views along the river, and will monitor it annually.
“The Hilgart family has left a fitting legacy for a man that honorably served his country and community. By protecting the land that Len loved, they’ve created a resource for many generations to come,” said Ted Anchor, NWLT Executive Director, who assisted the family with the land donation to NWLT.
The full story will be made available in our late winter/early spring 2021 newsletter.
During this season of giving, please consider offering a year-end charitable donation to our shoreline and waterways conservation programs.
NWLT’s highest conservation priority is protecting land with extensive natural lake shoreline. With past donor support, NWLT has protected 40 miles of shoreline on over 90 lakes and ponds. Over $25 million in charitable gifts of lakefront conservation easements and land donations have been granted by caring families who needed our services to realize their long-term goals for their property.
The concentration and quality of our lakes is of global significance. These lakes are healthy in part due to the intact forests and wetlands within our watersheds. However, our lakes are extremely fragile and will benefit from additional conservation along their shorelines, before the remaining natural lakeshore is gone forever.
Whether you are already a donor, contributing member, active volunteer or new to our circle of friends, your generosity will go toward protecting vulnerable lakes and ponds.
Together, we build a promising future for the northwoods to benefit generations to come.
Thank you for considering offering your support, and have a happy holiday season.
-The Board & Staff of the Northwoods Land Trust
Our fall newsletter is available for viewing and downloading! It features the Kabol Lake Conservation Easement, another new (anonymous) conservation easement that is our 91st, and the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. NWLT’s newsletters are mailed to members, donors and landowners interested in conserving their land. If you’d like to support our efforts, please join as a member or offer a year-end contribution. If you are a landowner interested in protecting your land, read more here and contact us to have a conservation options booklet mailed to you!
On July 27th, our newest conservation easement was signed protecting 142 acres of land and 4,000 feet of frontage on Kabol Lake in Price County. Conservation values now protected include extensive frontage on a ‘wild lake’ as well as intact and diverse woodlands and wetlands.
Although the land is not open to the public, it provides many public benefits including protecting wildlife habitat, scenic values, water quality, productive forests, as well as complimenting protective efforts of the nearby Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (Medford-Park Falls District) and Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Wilderness Area, both listed as Wisconsin Legacy Places.
“This special property is being conserved as a tract of private land, which, over the years, will have many owners; but will never be developed. This generous gift of the West-Wycoff family to future generations will allow for a part of the historical and ‘wild’ nature of the northwoods to remain as it is, forever,” said Trisha Moore, NWLT Conservation Specialist, who assisted the landowners in realizing their goal of conserving their property.
The full story will be made available in our fall/early winter 2020 newsletter.
If you want to know what NWLT has been up to over the past year, then view and download our 2019-2020 Annual Report! It features recent land protection projects, land stewardship and public outreach activities, lists all of our 2019 contributors, and reports on our financial status.
Discover Wisconsin filmed the 2019 Land Trust Days events across the state, including our paddling outing at Lake Katherine in Hazelhurst. The episode aired on PBS on June 13, 2020. View the episode at the Discover Wisconsin website!
(Photo courtesy of Discover Wisconsin)
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.
Photo courtesy of Zach Wilson of the Iron Co. Conservation Dept.
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.)