Partners in Forestry Landowner Cooperative


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Partners in Forestry Landowner Cooperative


6063 Baker Lake Road
Conover, WI 54519
715 - 479 - 8528


"For global good, use local wood"


Partners in Forestry (PIF) is grateful to be recognized by our peers and colleagues for our conservation efforts in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. This leadership award, from Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts, is named after the late (former) DATCP Secretary Rod Nilsestuen, and is greatly appreciated and fitting as we benefitted from an ongoing working relationship with the Secretary that included a working lands meeting with him in Vilas County in 2008. Read more about PIF conservation efforts in land preservation and the Gathering Waters working land preservation award.


If you like the progress Partners in Forestry is making on important northwoods issues, such as the new Legacy Forest near Land O' Lakes, consider being a part of our important work by becoming a member.

  Join PIF


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Partners in Forestry Landowners Coop (PIF), serving north central Wisconsin and western U.P., is dedicated to providing information, educational opportunities, and sustainable forest management for its members (Our Mission and Goals)


In northern Vilas County, NWA is spearheading two important Forest Legacy projects which will be reviewed by a national USFS panel in Winter 23-24. They both have been submitted under a new category in the program called ‘Family ownerships with greater strategic importance’. For these projects, NWA’s advocacy likely will require providing part of the matching funds to the hopeful Forest Legacy Awards, given the uncertainty of Knowles Nelson Stewardship Fund.
Click here and see how you can help support the Border Lakes Forest Legacy proposal


NEW July 2024 Newsletter:  Celebrating a Long Time PIF Member, Love the Land and its Resources, and the Making of a Legacy Forest to Benefit Future Generations; From PIF Friend John Bates; Wild & Scenic Rivers in the Western Upper Peninsula; Oneida County Comprehensive Plan Changes; Wolf Population; An imal Self Defense; Looking Big Picture or Globally; Two More big Picture Stories: The World’s Healthiest Forest are on Indigenous Land. Here’s Why: A Key Metric to Countering Biodiversity Loss; More on Tree Species Migration; Press Release from Gathering Waters July 5, 2024 Offers New Hope for Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program; Gathering Waters Award Announcement; Vote August 13, 2024


The following two articles go with the above news story


NEW Partners in Forestry works to secure conservation easements on more than 1,200 acres in Vilas County WXPR | By Katie Thoresen Published July 2, 2024 at 5:58 AM CDT   Click here to Read Article


NEW State organization honors Vilas County couple for ‘tremendous’ leadership in land conservation (WXPR)
Ben Meyer May 08, 2024

Fifteen years ago, a Vilas County husband and wife sold more than a thousand acres of their land to the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest to ensure it would be conserved. That sale sparked a journey in land conservation projects for Joe and Mary Hovel. They’ve now helped conserve, both directly and through their advocacy, tens of thousands of acres in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.

For their work, the Hovels were named this year’s winners of the Land Legacy Award by Gathering Waters, a leading Wisconsin conservation organization.

Click here to read Award.


NEW PAYMENTS FOR FOREST CARBON: By Alexandra Kosiba. Illustrations by Erick Ingraham.
Many forest landowners are interested in managing their forests for carbon benefits, yet few are able to do so without considering the financial consequences. To address this need, there are emerging opportunities for landowners to be compensated for the carbon sequestered and stored by their forests. Options include selling a forest’s carbon benefits in a carbon offset market, as well as with more traditional programs that pay landowners to implement specific carbon beneficial practices that are not based on selling offsets. Because carbon offset markets are novel, complex, and often confusing, most of this article is devoted to explaining how they work. Click here to read full article.


Forests and Birds, stand diversity important: This study reaffirms the large body of research which concludes that tree species diversity as well as stand structure diversity is key for bird conservation at the landscape level. From this study: “The youngest and oldest age classes of forest are underrepresented in eastern forests, and efforts to increase both of these age classes are necessary for biodiversity conservation” and “The homogeneity of our eastern forests is a well-documented artifact of human land use and suppression of natural disturbances. Increasing diversity through silviculture can help managers meet ecological objectives.”  Click here to read full article.


Pilgram River Watershed--Brief Geologic Background: The Pilgrim River closely parallels the Keweenaw Fault (Fig 1), running about 0.5 to about 1 mile S of the fault line, on the sandstone side. It also shows that the river, like many rivers follows a path which takes advantage of a natural zone of weakness. The offset to the south is expected because the sandstone is weaker and more easily eroded than the basalt. The valley is steeper on the Northern side because of the harder basalt rock which underlies that side. On the basalt side are many old mines which are aligned along layers in the basalt where there were copper-rich amygdaloids (lava flow tops). Click here to read full article.


Economic Contributions of Land Conserved by the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Legacy: The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is a conservation program administered by the USDA Forest Service that seeks to protect traditional forest uses and intact working forest landscapes. The program awards grants that help pay for conservation easements and fee-simple land purchases that are then held by state agencies. Forests conserved using FLP funding not only provide environmental benefits but also must be managed to provide tangible economic and social benefits to the public. Click here to read more about the Forest Legacy Program.


From Barbells to Spruce Grouse:  Joe Hovel has written a memoir, which is now available in print. This 238 page book is available with over 20 color images at
All proceeds from this book will go toward the Headwaters Cedar Community Forest fundraising until that goal is met


Northwoods Alliance Inc. (NWA) and conservation partners are pleased to announce a significant advance toward establishing a Headwaters Cedar Community Forest in the Town of Land O Lakes. The project was recently awarded close to 50% of the funding necessary to complete the community forest, through a successful grant from the USFS Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program. We are grateful that the USFS recognized the conservation value of this project.  Click here for more information on this project.


A hike and a fight: Northwoods residents say DNR is violating its logging rules
Read these articles concerning the DNR violations

  1. The year and a half long fight between a forester, a resident and the Wisconsin DNR over logging near shorelines: Last year, John Schwarzmann and Ardis Berghoff were hiking near Whitney Lake close to Berghoff’s home in the Northern Highland-American Legion (NHAL) State Forest in Vilas County when they noticed paint on a number of trees — a sign that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) planned to auction off the trees for a timber harvest. Click here to read more.  Click Here for another important article about DNR logging.


  2. DNR update to logging rules raises alarms for activists: An update to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) rules that guide logging on public lands has raised concerns among activists that the department will allow more trees to be cut down and harm the state’s northern forests. Click here to read more.


  3. Companies developing new forestry rules bought timber where the rules were allegedly broken: Four companies on a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources committee developing new logging rules purchased timber from lakes in Northern Wisconsin in which local residents have alleged that those rules are frequently being broken, documents obtained by the Wisconsin Examiner show. Click here to read more.


2021 Act 230 Makes Changes to Managed Forest Law Statute. The legal requirements of the Managed Forest Law have changed, allowing additional flexibilities to landowners and clarifying DNR administration of the program. The following changes to Ch. 77, Wis. Stats were made when 2021 Act 230 was signed into law on April 8, 2022:

  •   The 20-acre minimum enrollment requirement may now be comprised of two 10 contiguous acre portions, that are not contiguous to each other, if they are on a tract of land under the same ownership
  •  Buildings and improvements on MFL property are allowed if used exclusively for storage
  •  Additions to existing parcels of any size are allowed if certain eligibility requirements are met
  •  Leasing on MFL land is clearly allowed
  •  What constitutes a material change to the terms of the order is clarified
  •  The instances DNR is or is not required to assess a withdrawal tax and fee are made clear
  •  DNR authority to provide flexibility for large ownerships (1,000 acres or more) of MFL land, allowing for alternative management plan requirements is made clear
  •  Voluntary withdrawal exempt from tax or fee for a public purpose to a city, village, or town that is the taxing jurisdiction is now allowed

    The updated Statute, Chapter 77 MFL, can be viewed on the Wisconsin Legislature’s webpage.

Northwoods Forest Conservation series of handbooks.
We are pleased to share with you the first of two follow up printings to Northwoods Forest Conservation: A Handbook. This booklet sub-titled Celebrating Local Woods & Alternative Forest Products is centered on local woods and seldom thought of benefits from your woodlands. The second follow up will be sub-titled Managing Forests for the Future and will be detailed on forest ecology, by discussing forest fragmentation, bio-diversity, climate threats and management suggestions. Read more about this series of handbooks


Northwoods Forest Conversation -- Practical Advice for Landowners. Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition’s Series “Let’s Talk” livestreamed a conversation with Joe Hovel of  Partners in Forestry and the Northwood Alliance. “Let’s Talk” is the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition's (UPEC) livestream program that looks at how we, the people, can build sustainable communities in the UP. The program is a conversation between Joe Hovel and Horst Schmidt, President of UPEC. Hovel talks about Northwoods Forest Conservation: A Handbook, a new, free 66-page publication that provides practical advice for landowners who want to manage their forested property in an ecologically sound way. The handbook shares reflections from northwoods conservation practitioners and landowners, assembles tools and resources for forest conservation, and celebrates completed projects. The handbook is free for the asking (donations gratefully accepted; see links below). Mike Dombeck, a former chief of the U.S. Forest Service, says, “I have not seen a more inspiring, practical, and easy-to-read ‘how-to’ guide to common-sense sustainable forest land conservation practices. Northwoods Forest Conservation: A Handbook is an must-read for all who depend upon and care about forests.” Hovel also talks about other recent projects, such as the new Community Forest at Wildcat Falls.

Click here for a link to the conversation


There is no charge to request the handbook, but donations are welcome to help offset costs. To order, send an email with your name and mailing address to or, or else call Northwood Alliance at 715-479-8528. To donate visit the  Northwoods Alliance website.


 NEW Partners in Forestry Cooperative (PIF) and Northwoods Alliance (NWA) are pleased to announce that their most recent project, with assistance from the UW Center for Cooperatives, is now off the printing press. We hope that this booklet will inspire woodland owners, regardless of the size of their forestlands, to further engage in conservation at this critical time.

The Northwoods Forest Conservation Handbook shares reflections from Northwoods conservation practitioners and landowners, assembles tools and resources for forest conservation, and celebrates completed projects. The Handbook is 66 full-size pages, with numerous color photographs of Northwoods forests and landscapes throughout. There is no charge to request this book, but donations are welcome to help offset costs. To donate, visit or contact us at the phone or email addresses below.


Want to be involved? We are eager to increase our team of dedicated conservationists working for a more sustainable Northwoods future.

Contact us for questions, or to obtain a copy of the Handbook:

Email: or 

Phone: 715-479-8528

Mail: PIF & NWA, 6063 Baker Lake Road, Conover WI 54519 

“No matter where we live, we [humans] depend on forests; for the oxygen we breath, for the water we drink, for the many products we use every day, for the diversity of plants and animals they sustain, for the beauty, tranquility, recreation, solitude and spirituality forests provide to make our lives better. I have not seen a more inspiring, practical, and easy to read “how-to” guide to common sense sustainable forest land conservation practices. Northwoods Forest Conservation: A Handbook is an must read for all who depend upon and care about forests.”

 Mike Dombeck, PhD

Retired UW System Fellow and Professor of Global Conservation, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and former Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. Mike grew up in Northern Wisconsin where he spent 11 summers as a fishing guide.

 "Poignant and practical, Northwoods Forest Conservation: A Handbook eclipses all the how-to, cookie-cutter manuals ever written on the topic. Its contributors reflect some of the myriad nuances of conservation in cogent, heartfelt voices informed by decades of experience. Looking to the future with a tone neither bleak nor jubilant, Handbook is a testament to the power of collaboration and of seemingly trivial acts; it is a universal call to action."

Paul Hetzler 

Author, natural resource educator and ISA-Certified Arborist


Coaster Brook Trout                                  Fishing Reg                               Group of helpers


See past issues of Partners News for suggestions to visit old growth from the book by John Bates, titled Our Living Ancestors


Protecting your wooded land for the future is essential to clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat, sustainable wood supply...all things that are necessary to society and health, and that are gone forever if the land is developed.