Forest Cooperatives Developing in Central Wisconsin

Golden Sands RC&D, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Stevens Point, is working on a project called Woods and Wildlife for Today and Tomorrow. This project is focusing on developing forest cooperatives in eight different counties throughout Central Wisconsin.

The ultimate goal of this project is to help woodland owners think more about how they can increase efficiency of timber harvesting while also ensuring robust habitat for deer and other wildlife by working with their neighbors. Wisconsin has over 367,000 private woodland owners who collectively own approximately 9 million acres of woodland. This land in private ownership is over half of the entire woodland located in Wisconsin. Working on their own, it is difficult for these small-scale woodland owners to qualify for state and federal programs. In addition, it is often more costly on a per-acre basis for landowners to harvest their forests when they work on their own.

The Woods and Wildlife for Today and Tomorrow project aims to connect these small-scale woodland owners so that they can work together to decrease externalized costs and increase their woodland value. Collaborating with their neighbors will allow landowners to receive the benefits of large woodland projects such as working under one logging contract, receiving state assistance for wildlife habitat management, increased coordination, and qualification for property tax benefits.

In order to get landowners throughout Central Wisconsin to start the conversation of the benefits of cooperative woodland management, Golden Sands RC&D is focusing on eight different potential forest cooperative areas that would be at least 640 acres in size throughout eight different counties in Central Wisconsin. In these specific communities, Golden Sands RC&D is providing exceptional incentives for landowners, such as writing forest management plans for a fraction of the cost that qualify landowners for tax benefits.

Currently, the project is focusing on the Town of Belmont in Portage County, Town of Rose in Waushara County, Town of Kronenwetter in Marathon County, Town of Cary in Wood County, Town of Necedah in Juneau County, Town of Richfield in Adams County, Town of Ridgeville in Monroe County, and the Town of Farmington in Waupaca County.

If you are interested to learn more about the project or visit a landowner meeting, visit the project’s website at http://www.goldensandsrcd.org/wwftt or contact Joshua Benes at via phone at 715-343-6215 or via email at joshua.benes@goldensandsrcd.org.

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