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NEWS STORIES

Dam Preserves Northwoods Logging HistorySubmitted: 10/10/2012

Ben Meyer
Executive Producer
bmeyer@wjfw.com

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FIFIELD - "We're standing on the original highways of the state of Wisconsin," says U.S. Forest Service Engineering Technician Dave Campbell.

The Round Lake Logging Dam near Fifield is a product of a forestry era gone by.

"This was the highway for the logs to get to the markets. This area was covered with huge white pine," says former forestry technician Manny Stein.

"The log driving dams created a head of water so that they could actually extend the spring flood period and drive the logs downstream," says Campbell.

Peak use for the dam was between 1876 and 1910.

Otto Doering III now lives in Indiana.

But more than a century ago, his grandfather owned the dam and surrounding land part of his commitment to rehabilitate the Northwoods forests.

Doering has fond memories of his summers visiting here.

"As we'd go to sleep at night, you'd hear the dam. You hear the water now, rushing over the dam. The dam was most important for the sound. It was always there," he says.

But the dam fell into disrepair in the late 20th century.

Forestry workers and volunteers wanted to preserve its history by rebuilding it.

So they did, in the mid-90's.

Exhaustive work on the remnants of the old dam plus a close study of historical photos means the dam today is exactly like it would have looked at the peak of the logging age.

"This is a giant jigsaw puzzle," Stein says.

"We were able to, in our estimation, come up with an exact replica of what the original dam looked like," says Campbell.

So how does Doering think his grandfather would react to seeing it now?

"He'd be terribly pleased."

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