Guild members gather in Northwest and Lake States

The University of Wisconsin’s Kemp Natural Resources Station sits in the heart of Wisconsin’s Northern Highlands landscape and adjoining the 232,000 acre Northern Highland – American Legion State Forest.  Our Lake States Guild Gathering at “Kemp” on July 21st and 22nd brought foresters and ecologists from throughout the region together to assess 100 years of successes and challenges in managing the pine forests, wetlands, lakes, and ecosystems along with the human communities that dominate this landscape. 

Our field tours and discussion on the Northern Highlands forest focused on the future of the preponderance of relatively old pine and oak forests, most the product of 100 years of conservation efforts after the big cutovers of the 19th century, that are now at a crossroads. Succession toward a future state, or move the clock back to restore previous conditions? Or, are we even asking the right questions about our future forest?  Fortunately, our gathering included folks who’d spent a career in this landscape, and we had a rich discussion around the fire to finish our day.    

There is no better example of a private forest that reflects the Guild-style of forestry than Oregon’s Hyla Woods. The Hayes family of Portland traces a history of family timbering that goes back many generations to past roots in Wisconsin and the northeastern U.S. Peter, Pam, and the Hayes family are building on that tradition in Northwest Oregon with a commitment to “ecologically complex, economically viable, and responsibly operated forests“. 

Our Gathering at the Hyla Woods-Mt. Richmond forest near Gaston brought together 40 current and future Guild members to discuss ecological forestry and also discuss the future of the Guild in the Northwest.  Longtime member Dr. Jerry Franklin from the University of Washington joined us and shared some details about his soon-to-be-released joint publication co-authored with Dr. Norman and Deborah Johnson titled “Ecological Forest Management.”   

For our members in the Northwest, there is a renewed interest in seeing a more active presence from the Guild, and our July gathering was an important step in that effort.