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Baldwin Says 'Good Neighbor' Agreement Has Worked, More To Be Done

Ken Krall

The recent massive blowdown of trees in Langlade and Oconto counties dominated a meeting Tuesday in Rhinelander that originally was called to talk about what's called the Good Neighbor Authority.

The Authority allows the U.S. Forest Service to enter into agreements with state forestry agencies to do the critical management work to keep forests healthy and productive.

Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and state DNR Secretary-designee Preston Cole met with public and private agencies to hear how the relatively new working agreement is going.

The emphasis in Wisconsin was to help the Forest Service get to it's planned goal of timber sales to help the forest products industry.

Baldwin says what she heard reinforces the idea that the cooperative agreement she led has proven to work...

"...The whole nation was looking. I have bragging rights in the U.S. Senate for the way this has been unveiled. That said, is it sustainable? How long can we maintain it? Now that we've had some time under our belt, we've seen this increased cooperation and increased yields..."

Cole also felt the agreement has worked for the state to better facilitate forest management.

Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest Supervisor Paul Strong says the extreme blowdown means the cooperation that might have been built over a decade will have to be executed in a much shorter time frame to recover the downed trees. Strong says that could take several years. He says under Good Neighbor Authority, the Forest has been able to double timber sales.

After Baldwin and Cole left the meeting, business, state and federal representatives met at the Great Lakes Timber Professionals offices to discuss how to best facilitate the cleanup of the blow down.