A group of closely packed tall skinny trees.

Oneida County towns take stances on Pelican River Forest Project

Several local governments are weighing in on preserving the Pelican River Forest in northern Wisconsin.

The state legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) recently rejected the use of Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program funding for the 70,000-acre Pelican River Forest in Oneida, Forest, and Langlade Counties.

According to reporting by WXPR, local governments have mixed support for the project. Some local governments strongly support the Pelican River Forest, saying the project will be good for tourism, forestry, and the environment. Those opposing it say it will hurt future development and the county’s tax base.

Town clerks from Schoepke and Pelican have passed resolutions supporting the project, as well as the Sokaogon Chippewa Community Tribal Government and the Rhinelander City Council.

Tom Jerow, speaking at the Rhinelander City Council meeting said, “It’s been in forestry forever, it’s best use is forestry. Forest fragmentation … is a real threat to the forest industry in Wisconsin. It’s important that we keep this in one large block in perpetuity.”

The towns of Sugar Camp, Hazelhurst, and Monico passed resolutions opposing the project.

Several local governments plan to vote on resolutions in upcoming weeks, including Lake Tomahawk and Pine Lake. Resolutions will also be considered at the county level at upcoming Langlade and Oneida County board meetings. Forest County has yet to propose a resolution through the county board at this time.

Featured image by John W. Iwanski, 2013.

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