In northwestern Wisconsin, Douglas County has utilized Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program grants that enable counties to purchase forestland. In Wisconsin, 30 counties own 2.5 million acres of forestland. These working forests provide much-needed timber revenue to local communities and ensure public access for visitors.
Hunting, hiking, fishing, and cross-country skiing are all popular activities in Douglas County forests. The North Country National Scenic Trail winds through county forest here. The trail traverses more than 4,600 miles through eight northern states from Lake Sakakawea State Park in North Dakota to the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. It’s just one more impressive example of how Wisconsin’s working forests support recreation as well as timber.
The county has purchased more than 8,000 acres of forestland through Knowles-Nelson grants. The fiscal impact has been impressive. Nearly $275,000 in logging revenue help to cover county expenses and reduce the tax burden on local citizens while sustaining healthy, productive forests. Those timber sales have generated $6.4 million in economic benefits through secondary jobs and businesses that utilize these forest products.
The County Forest portion of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program provides matching grants to county governments to purchase both large and small tracts of forestland that provide ongoing timber revenue, allow counties to develop recreation infrastructure, and that prevent the fragmentation of our forests. Our northern forests support the $24 billion timber industry as well as 93,000 outdoor recreation jobs.
To learn more, read our research on the economics of the County Forest Subprogram.
Featured image: The North Country Trail in Douglas County, WI. Photo by Aaron Carlson, 2013.