What started all of this?
Local citizens first became concerned in 2007 when a representative of the Plum Creek Timber Company proposed to subdivide what is now the Lincoln Community Forest. The town board and citizens attending expressed concern about associated environmental impacts, loss of public access, increased pressure on town services and degradation of the town’s rural character.
Then in 2011, after a heightened attempt by Plum Creek to sell the property, community citizens invited representatives form the Bayfield Regional Conservancy (BRC) (now Landmark Conservancy following a merger with the West Wisconsin Land Trust), the Marengo River Watershed Partnership of the Bad River Watershed Association (now Superior River Watershed Association), and the realtor to explore alternative ownership and management options.
How was the Lincoln Community Forest purchased, and for how much?
In December 2012, the BRC acquired the 396-acre property from Plum Creek Timber Company for $673,000. That’s roughly $1,700 an acre. The full purchase price was funded by two grants, one half from the federal US Forest Service Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Grant Program, and the other half from the State of Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship (Habitat Areas) Grant Program.
What are the objectives of the two grant programs?
The Forest Service grant enables local governments, Indian tribes or qualified nonprofit organizations to acquire private forests to create community forests that provide community benefits such as recreation, income, wildlife habitat, stewardship demonstration sites, and environmental education.
The Knowles Nelson Stewardship (Habitat Areas) Grant Program protects and restores important wildlife habitat in Wisconsin in order to expand opportunities for nature-based recreation activities. Both grants require the property remain whole and not be subdivided.
What facilities and improvements are required by the granting agencies?
The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship (Habitat Areas) Grant Program requires signs at property entrances that state the property is open to the public for hunting, trapping, hiking, cross-country skiing, and fishing.
Is the Community Forest a park?
No, it is not a park. It is managed as a Community Forest for wildlife habitat, timber, and nature-based recreation.
Who owns the Lincoln Community Forest?
Landmark Conservancy is the current title-holder after BRC and West Wisconsin merged and formed this new organization.
Does Landmark Conservancy pay property taxes?
Yes. Landmark Conservancy pays all property taxes previously paid by Plum Creek. This property continues to be enrolled in MFL, under which a yield tax is paid following a timber harvest.
Will the Town of Lincoln someday own the property, and if so, when?
Both grant applications stated the intention was to transfer the property to the Town of Lincoln for ownership and future management once it was acquired, and that the Town would assume responsibilities to the contracts and management plans.
Timing depends on whether or not Landmark Conservancy donates the property to the town, pending approval of the Lincoln Town Board and town citizens.
What happens if Landmark Conservancy decides to retain the property or if the town board declines the donation?
Landmark Conservancy will continue to own the property and manage it as they are now. Landmark Conservancy is a non-profit land trust that protects important habitats and scenic features.
Who should I contact for additional information?
500 East Main Street, Suite 307
Menomonie, Wisconsin 54751