LAONA - A century after lumber barons cut down 1.5 million acres of timberlands now protected within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, timber industry managers say the riches within the regrown forest are being squandered at taxpayers' expense.
Gannett Wisconsin Media report (http://post.cr/17USEyd ) the battle pits loggers and mill owners against environmentalists and the woodland-recreation industry.
Records show the government could have sold 1.3 billion board feet of wood in the past decade under the forest's management plan. That would have represented roughly $110 million in revenue. But loggers cut just 755 million board feet, a little more than half the allowed quantity.
Forest supervisor Paul Strong points out that the Chequamegon-Nicolet serves multiple purposes.
University of Wisconsin botanist Don Waller says the priority has swung in favor of tourism and environmental appreciation.
CONOVER - The rain fortunately stayed away in Conover for a part of Sunday afternoon just in time for the grand opening of the Conover-Phelps bike trail.
The project has been years in the making, and now it's ready to ride. A couple hundred people and local leaders came out in support of it.
"There's a real feel for people being enthusiastic about this," said Jeff Currie, the President of Great Headwaters Trails, which helped lead the bike trail project.
It's supposed to connect Conover to Phelps through nearly 11 miles of paved trail. The first part is open and goes from Conover Community Park to Muskrat Creek Road.
"3.2 miles on the ground and ready to be ridden on biked or hiked," said Brian Blank, the chairman of the Conover-Phelps Trail Capital Campaign.
"When people hear about a town and then when people say, have you seen their bike trail, it's just, right away it's like there's more to that town than I thought there was," Currie said.
While not yet complete, project leaders are hopeful the trail will be finished soon. Project leaders say the second part of the trail, about five miles long, is fully engineered but about 60 percent funded.
"We're about $200,000 away from completing the remaining five miles," Blank said.
"You know that funding could come, and when it does, five miles of trail in two or three months will be on the ground," Currie said.
"I have no doubt in the next couple years this trail will be completed all the way to Phelps," said Gary Meister, the vice president of Great Headwaters Trails.
The trail is non-motorized so, no ATVs allowed, but it will be a snowmobile trail in the winter.
MARINETTE COUNTY - A 90-year-old man died in an ATV crash in Marinette County late Saturday afternoon.
According to the Marinette County Sheriff's Office, it happened private property north of Newton Lake in the Town of Athelstane.
90-year-old James Bosanny was driving the ATV with his 64-year-old son, James Bosanny, Jr., on board. He lost control on a small hill after hitting a plow before the ATV accelerated and hit a tree. They both were thrown off the ATV. The 90-year-old died at the scene.Crews took the son first to Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette and then later taken to a hospital in Green Bay for serious injuries.
The sheriff's office says neither was wearing a helmet. Police don't think alcohol or speed played a part in the crash.
Crews are still investigating. James Bosanny, Sr., was from Monroe, Wisconsin, and his son, James Bosanny, Jr., was from Hortonville, Wisconsin.
MARATHON COUNTY - Firefighters call a Town of Berlin house a total loss after a fire destroyed it early Sunday morning.
According to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, crews got a call around 1:40 a.m. to the 11,000 block of Naugart Drive. When they got there, the house was totally up in flames.Several surrounding fire departments were called in to help.
No one was hurt. The house is valued at more than $100,000.
Investigators don't think the cause of the fire was anything suspicious, but they are still investigating.
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