Two Wisconsin Lakes Protected

May 22, 2008
Wisconsin

Sawyer County, WI--(May 21, 2008)--The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced today the protection of 1,135 acres of natural land located within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Sawyer County, Wisconsin.

Large contiguous parcels, like the 1,055-acre Moose Lake property, are relatively uncommon within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The tract contains two small lakes and 50 acres of wetlands. An additional 80 acres includes frontage on Little Cranberry Lake and adjoins the 1,040-acre Venison Creek parcel protected last year.

"Wisconsin is losing lakefront and forest properties like this at an alarming rate, and this is a particularly special place," said Shaun Hamilton, TPL's Northwoods Initiative Director. "Thanks to the leadership of the Wisconsin congressional delegation, TPL working with the Forest Service and Plum Creek Timber Company, who was willing to be a partner in this effort, was able to move quickly to protect this shoreline for the public."

The property and the national forest share a common eight-mile boundary. TPL secured the property from Plum Creek Timber Company using its Northwoods Land Protection Fund, a capital revolving fund established to support high-priority conservation projects. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest then purchased them from TPL through an appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), with the strong support of Wisconsin's congressional delegation including U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and U.S. Representative David R. Obey (WI-7), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

"The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is one of the most magnificent areas of our state, and I'm pleased that these conservation efforts are moving forward to protect this land for generations to come," Sen. Kohl said. "It's a proud and important Wisconsin tradition to preserve these valued wildlife and recreation areas, and I applaud The Trust for Public Land and the U.S. Forest Service for their dedication to this project."

"Like most of the public lands east of the Mississippi River, the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest was protected in fits and starts, as donors and willing sellers offered their land to the government to create a patchwork of forestland," said Rep. Obey. "This process continues today, and because the government isn't always ready to buy when the landowner is willing to sell, TPL provides an important bridge to make the process work so the character of the Northwoods is protected for our children and we can all enjoy these special places."

Large in holdings, such as the Moose Lake tract are essential to maintaining quality recreation for the public, providing watershed protection and viable habitat for wide-ranging animals. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is home to the gray wolf, elk, fisher and a variety of other game and non-game animals. The recreational demands on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, which received 2.5 million visitors annually, are steadily increasing due to the influx of second home development.

The action announced today was a result of a strong partnership among the Forest Service, TPL and Plum Creek Timber Company who worked together on a conservation solution instead of subdividing the land. Subdividing of forest lands creates a kind of "Swiss cheese effect," with pockets of different types of ownership scattered throughout the forest. This type of fragmented development raises the very real threat of less accessible land for hunting and public recreation, greater degradation of lakes, streams and forests, more loss of timber jobs, and a dramatic decline in wildlife habitat and wildlife.

"The USDA Forest Service recognizes the unique attributes of the Wisconsin northwoods. On the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest we believe supporting a land acquisition program that is focused on acquisition of undeveloped lakefront properties and the consolidation of publicly owned land will enhance public benefits such as additional recreation opportunities, continued public access and the conservation of open spaces. We are pleased this property near Moose Lake will become a part of the CNNF and available for current and future generations of forest users," said Forest Supervisor, Jeanne Higgins.

"We are extremely pleased to be a partner in helping conserve this unique part of Wisconsin," said Lynn Wilson, general manager for Plum Creek's Lake States Region. "We recognize that many of our lands have special qualities that make them truly one-of-a-kind treasures, and we commend the hard work, cooperation and foresight of all the partners to make this conservation project a reality."

The Wisconsin Wild Waterways program has been supported through annual funding through the Land and Water Conservation fund and over the last ten years has completed the protection of more than 10,000 acres and more than 10 miles of undeveloped shoreline along critical lakes and streams.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), established in 1972, is a national nonprofit land conservation organization specializing in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law, to conserve land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Across the nation, TPL has helped protect more than 2.2 million acres. Through its Northwoods Initiative, a regional conservation program focused on northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, TPL is assisting communities and public agencies in identifying and protecting sensitive and threatened lands. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission. For more information about TPL visit www.tpl.org.

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