Taylor County Trails “Too Far From Population For Funding”
At a recent meeting of the Taylor County Forestry and Recreation Committee, a new member of the Forestry Department was introduced. Jake Walcisak introduced Jordan Lutz. Jordan is originally from the Amherst area, a graduate of UWSP with previous work as a forester in the Ironwood area.
Logging in the county forests is continuing to meet their goals with 5 projects being established ranging in size from 41 to 91 acres. For the year the goal is to involve 510 acres of timber sales from Taylor County owned forests.
Jake Walcisak told the committee that a new concern regarding forest health has emerged. A contract involving the harvest of pine poles has tested positive for a root rot fungus. In an attempt to contain the spread of the fungus the logging contract will now include the harvest of all conifers in an area 80 to 100 feet surrounding the perimeter of the target area. Walcisak indicated that the fungus is an airborne fungus which affects most species of conifers. It was believed to have originated in Europe or Asia. The fungus spread progress may be slowed by spraying recently cut stumps. It was noted that the same fungus was detected in a pine plantation located northwest of Medford on private land nearly 10 years ago with minimal effect.
In other outdoor issues, the Chelsea Lake dam repair project took another step forward. A revised easement document will allow Taylor County representatives to access the dam to perform required maintenance. The document was revised by county representatives and members of the Meyer Family which is allowing access across their land. The committee approved the revised easements and the final step in the agreement process will be county board approval.
The rural location of Taylor County resulted in cuts in federal grant programs which will have an adverse effect on the county ski and horse trails. The federal grants for maintenance of the Rib Lake Ski Club trails have been reduced. Meanwhile, the grants to help fund the Perkinstown ski trail and the county horse trail maintenance funds have both been cut to nothing. One of the determining criteria in eliminating the federal funding was the fact that the trails are not located within 25 miles of a population center of 50,000 or more people. The committee was hopeful that the grant funding would be restored.
In a positive note: with the combination of grants, local funding from the Taylor County Sportsmen’s Club, and local volunteers, nearly $75,000 in upgrades have improved the Pirus Shooting Range into a top notch shooting range. The improvements offer sportsmen a safe environment to test and improve their target skills.
Those were several of the topics which were discussed at a recent meeting of the Taylor County Forestry and Recreation Committee.