A snow covered forest in winter with pine trees blanketed in snow and the sun peaking through an opening in the woods.

Landmark Conservancy’s Telemark Forest Preserve Funded by Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program

218 acres in the Northwoods will be forever protected after a $203,000 grant.

Landmark Conservancy announced it now has the needed funds to purchase the Telemark Forest Preserve, 218 acres of land near Cable, Wisconsin. In addition to fundraising efforts, the land trust received a $203,000 grant through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program to support the acquisition.

This picturesque spot in the Northwoods of Wisconsin is where the American Birkebeiner “Birkie” ski race happens every February. It will continue to serve as the backdrop for the Birkie, and will be a space for outdoor recreation for people near and far.

Located next to Bayfield County Forest land, this acquisition expands the complex of forested land that is protected, providing habitat protection and supporting the cold-water streams in the area.

The Sawyer County Record reported on the acquisition and shared comments from supporters.

“We are pleased to be forging a thoughtful alliance to support outdoor recreational needs in the Upper Namekagon,” said Landmark Conservancy’s Executive Director Lindsey Ketchel. “We look forward to working with the amazing networks of outdoor recreational groups who have helped establish the trails that draw so many visitors to this special area.”

In July 2021, Landmark Conservancy signed a contract with the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) to purchase the land. Prior to the ABSF’s ownership, the property was owned and leased out by Mount Telemark Partners until 2020. Up North News published a story with more details on the history of the property.

Like many land conservation projects, a small group of residents who value environmental conservation encouraged the purchase. The project also received bipartisan support from the state’s Joint Finance Committee, resulting in the approval of a Knowles-Nelson grant.

“High-quality recreational experiences are a critically important component of the Northwoods rural economy,” said Landmark Conservancy’s board chair Bill Butsic. “Wisconsin should be very proud that our political leaders are supporting investment in outdoor recreation in the Northwoods. It was heartwarming to see both sides of the aisle see value in this unique land protection opportunity.”

Featured image by Chris Ford, 2011.

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