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Northwoods Native Confirmed to Natural Resources BoardSubmitted: 05/07/2013
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Northwoods Native Confirmed to Natural Resources Board
LAONA - What should the rules be for wolf hunting in Wisconsin?

How can we deal with phosphorous runoff in state rivers?

Should we should be able to hunt in state parks?

Those are some of the big questions Wisconsin's Natural Resources Board deals with.

Now, a longtime scientist from a small Northwoods community will join the decision-makers.

Laona isn't typically a hotbed of state leaders.

But on Tuesday, Laona native Gary Zimmer joined a group with real power to shape how we interact with nature in our state.

All 33 state senators voted to confirm Zimmer to his new post on the seven-member Natural Resources Board.

His perspective should be a valuable addition to the group.

"Our Natural Resources Board is made up of a number of different individuals. I'm one of the few that has a scientific background on the board. There's folks with real estate or farming backgrounds, just a wide range of backgrounds, and that's really important to making good decisions out there," he says.

Zimmer has worked in Laona for the Ruffed Grouse Society for the last 13 years.

Before that, he spent 18 years with the U.S. Forest Service in the Northwoods.

He plans to make the interaction between forestry and wildlife management a focus of his as a new member of the board.

"The state forests, the county forests, and the state wildlife management areas are all forests that are certified. That shows the well-managed sustained-yield forests that we do have. Those forests are very, very important for wildlife management," he says.

Zimmer will sit down for his first meeting as an official board member two weeks from Tuesday.

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Organizers celebrated Earth Day by teaching people how they can accomplish that.
Abby Meyer came up from Green Bay for her first Sustainability Fair in Rhinelander Sunday. She sells all natural skin care products.

"It's the future of being able to have a planet, such great energy here," said Meyer.
Meyer and 42 other exhibitors feel energized to protect the earth.
"It's kind of interesting what other people do and the good they're doing for other people," said maple syrup vendor Leroy Schmieder.

Schmieder said being around people with the same mission is encouraging.
"It's kind of a community thing, you learn what everybody else is doing," said Schmieder.
Fair organizer Ann Eshelman said the fair teaches the community, but also brings people with a message together.
"They're providing something that we as a group think is valuable, they're kinda isolated," said Eshelman.
When the fair started eight years ago organizers wanted to end that isolation. Bringing vendors together to share their message, make connections, and walk away with new information.
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Eshelman believes that support is what the community needs to help move in the right direction.
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Steil entered the race Sunday less than two weeks after Ryan said he would not seek re-election. Ryan said Friday he has no immediate plans to endorse in the primary.

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