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Still Unfrozen, Snow-Covered Roads Prove Challenging

Sylvia Duckworth

Snow is already piled high in the Northwoods, and it’s providing insulation for ground that hasn’t frozen over yet.  That's a problem for the logging industry and some recreational trails.

A thick blanket of snow will likely prevent the ground underneath from freezing solid, or at least slow down the process. 

Henry Schienebeck of Great Lakes Timber Professionals says with soft and wet ground conditions, loggers are having to clear or pack down the snow before bringing in trucks and equipment. 

“Right now with the snow, it has so much insulation that you’re gonna have to go in and do extra work, burn extra fuel and spend extra money to get your woods prepared before you can start doing the harvesting and forwarding.”

It’s a substantial hurdle for an industry which is typically helped by frozen conditions, and which does about forty percent of its harvest in winter months. 

Meanwhile some recreational trails are running into a similar obstacle.  Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest spokesperson Hilary Markin says crews won’t be grooming its ski trails until the ground firms up. 

“So a lot of times on our cross country ski trails in particular, we go out and groom them and then we set tracks for the skiers. And we’re just not quite there yet – we want to make sure we have a nice sturdy base before we go out there and start setting those tracks.

Markin says trails are still open to public use like hiking, while some campgrounds are closed due to the high volume of snow. 

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