Over 19,000 acres of forest damage in Douglas County

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There are significant forest damages towards southwestern Douglas County, Wisconsin. Over 19 thousand acres of forests have low to moderate damages from last winter’s snowstorm.

About two thousand acres of Aspen and Jack Pine trees have significant forest damages towards Foxboro, Dairyland, and Gordon. While, there are acres where Aspen trees can regenerate to be more healthy, there are 2,000 acres with damaged Jack Pine trees.

Craig Golembiewski, a Forest Management Supervisor in Douglas county said restoring the forested areas could take any where between three to five years.

“In that 2,000 acres of severe damage without doing some sort of treatment because the trees actually just kind of folded over,” Golembiewski said. “In order for Aspen regenerate to regenerate from the root systems these trees need to still be alive. So not going to really regenerate.”

On the one hand timber removal is already underway, with operations beginning a couple weeks ago. But on the other hand, these damaged tress are potential fire risks and can spread insects.

“There’s a lot of houses. You kind of worry about fire suppression and you get all this down timber that over time dies and then it dries out and just becomes very big fire problem,” Golembiewski said. “I’ve never dealt with it my career in 25 years. We’re talking trees that are probably well, we know they’re in the range of 14 to 20 years old.”

According to Douglas County, the cost to restore these forests are around $260 per acre. Golembiewski said the project could take anywhere between three to five years to complete.

“The jack paints on a really light sandy soil so you can operate on at any time of the year.” Golembiewski said. “If it rains tomorrow, you can still run on it. But the Aspen, however, is in more heavy soils. There’s a lot more swamp. So some of that going to have to get treated under frozen ground conditions.”

For more information about Douglas County’s forest repair program you can look more here. For other stories about forest management you can read more here.