Van Vliet Hemlocks

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Presque Isle’s Van Vliet Hemlocks will become a State Natural Area.  And the mostly old-growth parcel will be managed with as little interference as possible.  The state Natural Resources Board voted today to approve the DNR’s recommendation to passively manage the entire area. 

Tom Olson President of the group Friends of the Van Vliet spoke at the meeting, citing widespread public support for letting the hemlock parcel manage itself.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The state Natural Resources Board is set to decide Wednesday on a plan for the Van Vliet Hemlocks.  DNR officials are recommending the mostly old-growth parcel be managed with as little involvement as possible. 

The agency had originally planned to do some cutting on part of the site that didn’t fit the old-growth profile.  But after overwhelming public comment, the DNR changed its plan to passive management for the entire site. 

Chief DNR state forester Paul Delong says he doesn’t know whether the Natural Resources Board will approve the recommendation. 

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The DNR is changing its tune on a management plan for the Van Vliet Hemlocks.  The agency plans to take a hands-off approach to the 400-acre stand of mostly old growth trees.

Officials had originally proposed to actively manage a section of the forest that didn’t fit the profile of the rest of the site: meaning some trees would be cut in hopes of speeding the process of old growth development.

But community outcry appears to have changed the DNR’s mind.  DNR Chief State Forester Paul DeLong says officials received dozens of letters.

Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

In the far reaches of Northern Wisconsin, a remote stand of old growth hemlocks has been cast into the public eye.  The 400-acre Van Vliet Hemlocks are known to many as one of the few old growth stands left in Wisconsin.  Over the past century forest managers have mostly taken a hands-off approach.  But a proposal from the state Department of Natural Resources to log part of the area has community members up in arms.

Natalie Jablonski

Department of Natural Resources officials are weighing public input in deciding how to manage a portion of the Van Vliet Hemlocks.