- Trees are so plentiful in the Northwoods, it's easy to take them for granted. But Kretz Lumber sees beauty beneath the bark. Today they invited landowners out for a behind-the-scenes look at their process, from forest to final product.
"We do it for two reasons,” says Al Koeppel, Kretz Forestry Department manager, “One is for education, and one is kind of an appreciation day... Kretz Lumber works with many private landowners across Wisconsin, and in Michigan… We want to give land owners a well-rounded education and background to help them in managing their woodlots."
Landowners were treated to lessons from alder management to streams, and especially safety.
"You could hear the chainsaws a moment ago, chainsaws are a pretty dangerous tool,” says Koeppel, “So we have a gentleman here demonstrating proper and safe techniques of operating a chainsaw."
The chainsaw demonstration went beyond basic handling, and into techniques for felling trees safely and accurately.
Kretz Lumber believes good woodland management keeps forests strong, while delivering beautiful products.
"Young trees are very healthy and vigorous, and they're sucking a lot of carbon dioxide out of the air... Eventually trees will naturally die out and thin out themselves, but we speed the process up," says Koeppel.
They also shared some timber products you might not think of...
"Ice cream has cellulose in it and cellulose comes from trees... Lignin, which is kind of like a glue that holds wood cells together, is what they make Nutrasweet out of... Rayon clothing... That came from trees," he said.
But it's not just the speakers that learned something today.
"As we work out here in these woods, we're learning new things... We've learned things from the people we're interacting with today, So not only are the presenters learning, but everybody's learning, and it makes a nice comeraderie between private landowners, industry, DNR and public entities," says Koeppel.