Northwoods Alliance teams with Partners in Forestry to host gathering --

                  “Highlighting the Benefits of Land Conservation”


This year’s Partners in Forestry (PIF) Annual Gathering includes the Northwoods Alliance (NWA) and will take place on Saturday, November 3, with the theme “Appreciate Our Common Lands; A Hands-on Celebration of the Benefits of Forest Land Conservation”. This topic was chosen to complement ongoing partnerships between PIF and the Northwoods Alliance and the UW Center for Cooperatives. The gathering will be held in Boulder Junction, WI.

The program’s morning session will feature a forestry tour on the Northern Highland American Legion State (NHAL), with emphasis on wildlife habitat and forest health. Featured leaders include DNR Wildlife Biologist (retired) Ron Eckstein, DNR Forest Health Specialist Linda Williams, DNR NHAL ranger-forester Paul Stearns, and PIF VP John Schwarzmann, who is Forest Supervisor for the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. Please gather at the Big Bear Hideaway located near downtown Boulder Junction, by 9 a.m. We will car-pool to the forestry tour from the Big Bear Hideaway, at 9:15 AM.  In case of inclement weather, these same leaders will host the discussion indoors so these important topics will be covered.

            Lunch and the afternoon session will be held at the Big Bear Hideaway.  Featured speakers are an esteemed panel of notable and deeply rooted conservation land managers. They include Paul DeLong, who was State Forester in Wisconsin from 2003 through 2016 and now represents the American Forest Foundation as Senior Vice President of Conservation. Paul is passionate about engaging the family forest owner with sustainable, conservation-based management. During Paul’s career with WDNR he oversaw some of the most notable Forest Legacy projects accomplished in Wisconsin, as well as the expansion of the NHAL boundary in 2005.

            The next notable speaker is Mike Dombeck, who was the Chief of the USFS from 1997-2001, after serving as acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management from 1994-1997. Dr. Dombeck has a background in aquatic ecology, and early in his career he was instrumental in bringing water quality issues to the forefront of forest management while serving in the Upper Peninsula. Today, we recognize these guidelines as Best Management Practices. Mike later served as Professor of Global Conservation at UW Stevens Point and directs the Smith Fellowship, which guides post-doctorate students with innovative ideas in natural resources. Interestingly, it was during Mike’s time at the USFS when the Forest Legacy program made roots.

            The third panel member is PIF board member Dick Steffes. Dick served the people of Wisconsin as real estate specialist with DNR, retiring in 2013. Since then Dick has made several trips to Washington DC to advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and he guides conservation projects through his company American Acquisitions LLC. During his career with the DNR Dick negotiated most of the Forest Legacy projects benefiting Wisconsin, as well as steering the Stewardship Fund to fulfillment in fee-simple purchases. Some of these include projects in the expanded NHAL.

            “We are very fortunate to have this deep quality of conservation specialists for our program, for the benefit of our members and the public at large, and we appreciate our ongoing support of these quality programs from the UW Center for Cooperatives,” said director Joe Hovel.

            The groups host these programs to bring sustainable, conservation-based forestry to the forefront. Any one with an interest in natural resources is welcome, and all questions concerning conservation, sustainable forestry and natural resource management are encouraged. NWA and PIF hope to attract younger folks to this mission and especially encourages their participation.

            Please register in advance for this informative day either by phone or email:  Phone: (715) 479-8528; email:  If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us. 


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