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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Parks and Forestry Discusses Possible New ATV Campground

The Marinette County Forestry and Parks Committee Thursday morning, March 9 for regular meeting in which a possible new ATV campground on County Forest Lands was discussed.

Also discussed was the Ski Cats user agreement, RFQ's spring planting and a possible new woodworking planner for the Amberg shop.

During the public comment period of the meeting Jason Ducaine spoke on behalf of the Crivtiz Ski Cats.

"This is about the fourth time I have been here to talk to you folks," said Ducaine. "I will be brief, I appreciate the sport this committee has shown to our club and we appreciate the support the Parks Director has given to our club as well. The Ski Cats have been empowered by this committee to go out and teach our young people great things. Because of this user agreement that is in place it allows us to use a Marinette County Park. I would encourage you to accept the agreement for this year. There has been one change from last year in that we have slightly reduced our Saturday morning practice, not the time allotment but the number of day that we will be there. I work closely with one of the resident neighbors there, Joe Peppin, and have created a very nice relationship with the neighbors and he also encourages that the passing of the agreement."

A possible ATV campground on County Forest lands was talked about in length by Dennis Marcely.

Speaking on behalf of Dunbar District 3 was Marcely. "As some of you know I have been working the past three months and talking to people about the possibility of putting an ATV campground somewhere in the Dunbar area. The site that had been talked about 17 years ago, it's next to the Sportman's Club property. I have talked to Villas in the past and we have gone over there and looked at the site and we thought if we could come up with funding it would be a viable project."

Marcely continued, "The parcel we are looking at is not at all considered wetland but we ran into a little snag. Mark Grandaw is the person whose name is signed on the lease for the Sportsman Club. I went to his home and spoke to him about it and we shared ideas and he said if the county is willing to work with me I'm willing to work with the County. I called him yesterday and he said that he is not in favor of it. He said he doesn't want to talk about it further. I'm not trying to cram this down anyone's throat. But I think if we can come up with the money it would greatly help the northern corridor with tourism. It's not often we get a project like this. The state of Wisconsin has said that they will provide half of the required funds for the project. I hate to see a project go by that we can get about 50 percent of the funds from the state."

"The project overall, to do something like this, we can do most of it in house," said administrator Pete Villas. "With the equipment we have in forestry and parks and those guys being able to run equipment, much like the new loop we added at Morgan Park that was done all in house. So your talking minimal cost in building it. My concern is staffing it. It's really about maintaining it and keeping it running after it is built. I think there is a need for it and putting it on the horizon for the future is a great idea. To build it this year may be a bit much with what we are working on in house right now but in the future it is something we should continue to pursue. I just don't want it to interfere with the Sportsman's Club and I was contacted by Mark Grandaw with concerns that their lease was going to be in jeopardy and I told him, no that it will not. You were here first is what i told him."

"I'm not asking for a motion today, said Marcely. " I'm just asking for consideration of the project."

The committee discussed briefly creating a resolution in support of increasing payments to towns with lands under the Wisconsin County Forest Law Program from $0.30 per acre to $1.00 per acre.

"There hasn't been a decision on the state level yet," said Villas. "Bayfield County and some others said they were in support of this. 1989 was the last time anything was adjusted. We don't have to take any action today. We could write a letter saying that we are, I just wanted to bring this to the table."

"Marinette County would get another $160,000 a year divided out among the counties based on the acreage we have. We could do a letter of support and bring it back in April and get it ready to pass on. We should definitely look into supporting it," Villas added.

The committee decided to create a resolution concerning the increase.

The committee accepted the Ski Cats request of usage of the county park.

The Committee received a bid from Superior Forestry concerning the RFQ's 2017 spring tree planting.

"Superior Forestry quoted us for $75.74 per thousand for a total of $12,315.32," said Villas. "This years number are slighty more but we are planting more trees this year, so it is still in the ballpark."

The board discussed getting a new woodworking planer for the Amberg shop.

Marcus Isaacson spoke on behalf of getting a new planer.

"The old one was from the 40's," said Isaacson. And it really is starting to wear out. it was a very well built heavy duty planer. The funding will come from the heavy equipment fund. The planer we are looking to purchase, the Powermatic 201HH is a 1400 lb planer with 7 1/2 horsepower motor. It has a lot of features that will help with saving time like carbine insert blades. it also has a five year warranty."

The committee approved the purchase from Woodworkers Depot for $7,510.95 which includes 50 additional cuttherheads.

A letter was received concerning the elimination of Wisconsin's Forestry Mill Tax.

"The letter basically says what the governor wants to do about the forestry mill tax," said Villas. "They want to take the mill tax and roll it into the general purpose revenue."

Since the 1930 the tax has provided essential support for activities that assure the continued health and productivity of over 17 million acres of Wisconsin's federal, state, county, and private forests and direct benefits from the states $24.7 billion forestry sector and its more than 64,000 jobs. The proposal would eliminate $180.4 million in estimated Forestry Mill tax revenue in 2017-19 biennium and replace that funding with general purpose revenue. The Wisconsin members of the Forest Stewards Guild strongly oppose the elimination of this funding source.

The Mill tax supports more than just forests. it provides resources that overwhelming benefit rural areas and small communities throughout the state. Mill Tax revenue pays for wild land fire control and operations of WDNR's emergency Incident Command System. It supports Wisconsin's 2.4 million acre county forest program, funds forest management activities on private lands through stewardship grants and technical services, and provides forest health and forest products experts statewide.

The board considered proposing a resolution that would oppose this elimination.

The monthly Park activity report noted that at Twin Bridge Park they installed two new hinges on a garage door, dump trucks were set up for hauling heavier loads, cut trees for future snowmobile trail, painted signs, cleaned outside office, picked up litter along road and park and picked up supplies for Camp Bird work. At Lake Noquebay Park they began work on toilet construction, order clawing supplies, cleaned restrooms al LNP boat landing, monitored heat at Morgan Park sewer building, delivered Park and Forest camping annual stickers to 16 vendors and assisted with tree cutting at Twin Bridge. At Camp Bird they plowed snow, replaced needed blast and exit lights, built porch bench for lodge, repaired rain gutter over kitchen, replaced brake pads and caliper in Dodge Dakota, replaced thermostat in GMC plow truck and burned a brush pile.

Dan Mertz gave the DNR Forestry Liaison Officer report on DNR activities on County Lands. He spoke about the removal of old fire towers that are no longer being used.

"Our time standards are at 2,140 hours which is 81% of our commitments. I wanted to talk about fire towers and what is happening with disposal of those towers. There are two towers on county owned land in Middle Inlet and north of Wausaukee the Cedarville tower. The state has been getting ride of them over the past year because we are not using them anymore. Last spring was the first season without towers. So they did asbestos inspections before they could move ahead. They are finally at a point when they will be placing the towers on the Wisconsin Surplus website and try to sell them to someone who would take them down. 30% of people who had these towers on their lands said they would like to keep them. We did have a request from the Amberg Historical Society to acquire the Cedarville Tower and the Village of Wausaukee expressed interest in the Middle Inlet tower."

Mertz also made note of the upcoming County Deer Advisory Council meeting. The meeting will occur Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Crivitz Village Hall. The meeting will discuss establishing a preliminary antler-less deer quota.


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