For more information contact:
Christine Wallace – Plum Creek (414) 276-6237
Kevin Wallenfang – RMEF (608) 798-0169
Shaun Hamilton – TPL (651) 999-5309
HAYWARD, Wis. – Plum Creek Timber Company, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and The Trust for Public Land (TPL) today announced that they have partnered to work to protect the 1,150-acre Venison Creek property in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Plum Creek announced that it will sell land in Sawyer County that is valued for its wildlife habitat; undeveloped water frontage; and many recreational opportunities including hunting, fishing, birdwatching, hiking, snowmobiling and more. Through this sale, recreational enthusiasts will be able to continue to enjoy those activities now and in the future.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) has agreed to purchase and hold this property for one year so that federal funding may be secured from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for its protection. The groups are working with the Wisconsin Congressional delegation to secure the necessary federal funding which would allow the Forest Service to purchase and protect this property for public access. The RMEF will work to finalize an agreement with the United States Forest Service that would add the property to the surrounding Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest if federal funding is made available this year.
“Plum Creek is pleased to partner with The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Trust for Public Land to protect wildlife habitat and recreational attributes of this important section of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest,” said Rick Holley, Plum Creek’s president and chief executive officer. “This is one of many conservation projects in which Plum Creek has been involved during the past several years. Since 2002, we have collaborated to conserve more than 40,000 acres of land in the state.”
The land falls within the Wisconsin elk range, which is home to more than 100 wild elk that were reintroduced in 1995 near the Town of Clam Lake, thanks in large part to more than 6,000 dedicated Wisconsin RMEF members, volunteers, and donors. The Elk Foundation hopes to increase opportunities for elk to live and thrive in Wisconsin with this project as well as many more in the future.
“What a great way for the Elk Foundation to kick off our Great Lakes Conservation Initiative,” said Kevin Wallenfang, initiative program director for the Elk Foundation in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota. “The Venison Creek property not only protects a great piece of habitat for elk and other wildlife, but it also protects many human outdoor activities that would have been lost if the property were to be developed. We are thrilled to partner with Plum Creek and the Trust for Public Land to ensure open access to the public and protect a beautiful piece of the Northwoods forever.”
Wallenfang said that he hopes this will be just the first of many such land conservation projects that the Elk Foundation is able to make in the upper Midwest in the coming years.
TPL’s Northwoods Initiative focuses on protection of wilderness lands, particularly those with undeveloped lakeshore and rivers. “Undeveloped lakeshore is becoming increasingly difficult to find in Northern Wisconsin,” said Shaun Hamilton of TPL. “There is still a ways to go until the Venison Creek property is in National Forest ownership and the partnership will continue to work with the Wisconsin congressional delegation this year to secure the critical LWCF funds needed to permanently protect this property as part of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.”
Plum Creek is the largest and most geographically diverse private landowner in the nation, with approximately 8 million acres of timberlands in major timber-producing regions of the United States and 10 wood products manufacturing facilities in the Northwest. Plum Creek owns and manages more than 500,000 acres of timberland in Wisconsin, and participates in a number of land conservation initiatives in the United States.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL), established in 1972, is a national nonprofit land conservation organization specializing in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law, to conserve land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Across the nation, TPL has helped protect more than 2.1 million acres. Through its Northwoods Initiative, a regional conservation program focused on northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, TPL is assisting communities and public agencies in identifying and protecting sensitive and threatened lands. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. For more information about TPL visit www.tpl.org.
Headquartered in Missoula, Montana, the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has permanently protected more than 1,000 square miles of critical elk habitat and enhanced another 3.4 million acres of elk country. In addition, over 400,000 acres have been opened to public access for hunting, fishing and other enjoyment. The Elk Foundation recently announced their Great Lakes Conservation Initiative that will help to permanently preserve wildlife habitat within the elk ranges of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. To help protect wild elk country, visit www.elkfoundation.org or call 800-CALL-ELK.