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DNR seeking comment on interim forest management plan for Spruce Grouse Swamp State Natural Area

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment through Jan. 5 on an interim forest management plan for Spruce Grouse Swamp State Natural Area in Vilas County.

According to the DNR, Spruce Grouse Swamp is part of an extensive wetland complex southwest of Lac Vieux Desert and features a mosaic of lowland community types, including northern sedge meadow, muskeg, black spruce swamp, and tamarack swamp. The surrounding uplands contain a boreal-like dry forest on the low sandy ridges that are found throughout the site.

Jackpine with scattered open-grown red pine and black spruce dominate on swamp islands. Aquatic features of interest include Wolf Lake, a small 5-acre bog lake, and a spring-fed coldwater stream.

The site provides habitat for several boreal birds, including Canada jay, boreal chickadee, black-backed woodpecker, Connecticut warbler, and the state-threatened spruce grouse. Of interest are the reported sightings of the federally endangered Kirtland’s warbler near this area.

Plants include the ragged fringed orchid found growing in a wet pool in one of the large sedge meadows. The interior of the swamp is remote with no major roads present, although a snowmobile trail is heavily used during the winter. This area appears to have been an old glacial lakebed, which eventually drained south into the Wisconsin River. Spruce Grouse Swamp is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2007.

Interim forest management plans are intended to guide timber management on properties that do not have formal master plans. The department expects to complete detailed master plans for this property at a future to be determined date. Until then, the interim forest management plan for area will guide forest management of the property until the master plan for the property is complete.

The draft interim forest management plan for Spruce Grouse Swamp State Natural Area and a complete list of properties with interim forest management plans can be found on the DNR’s Interim Forest Management Plans’ webpage.

“The interim forest management plan is important because it guides forest management and incorporates ecological, economic and recreational considerations,” said John Pohlman, DNR Property Planner.

Wisconsin’s 17 million acres of forested land — both public and private — provide raw materials for Wisconsin’s forest products industry, which generates $24.7 billion per year and directly supports nearly 65,000 jobs across Wisconsin. Through the DNR’s use of sustainable forestry practices, trees are grown and harvested responsibly ensuring the economic, social and ecological benefits of the forest products industry.

The public is encouraged to submit comments regarding the interim forest management plan for Spruce Grouse Swamp State Natural Area by 4:30 p.m. Jan. 5 to: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, C/O John Pohlman, DNR Property Planner, 101 S. Webster St., P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, John.Pohlman@wisconsin.gov or 608-264-6263.

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