RHINELANDER - It can seem like the Northwoods wilderness never ends.
But it's hard to predict exactly what our area will look like hundreds of years from now.
One group is trying to paint a clearer - and more natural - picture.
Roland Rueckert has loved his Oneida County land on the shores of the Pelican River since he bought it.
That was more than five decades ago.
"It's a spiritual place. I come here for sustenance," he says.
He wants it to stay as pristine as possible for decades into the future.
Roland put 307 acres of his property into what's called the Northwoods Land Trust.
That means he can be confident it will stay just like it is.
"People are looking at the land as a long-term family legacy," says Bryan Pierce, the Executive Director of the Northwoods Land Trust.
The Northwoods Land Trust protects almost 10,000 acres of woods and shoreland in a handful of northern counties.
"Most of what we work with, probably 95 percent, are conservation agreements, long-term land protection agreements that really are designed to go in perpetuity," Pierce says.
That is, forever.
No major construction, no clear cutting, no subdividing, no threat to natural beauty.
"I thought about it, discussed it with my wife, and we decided this was a good way to go to preserve the land," Roland explains.
The land trust is only 12 years old.
But already, more than 60 private properties are protected by easements.
On top of that, the Northwoods Land Trust owns outright three properties with special environmental habitats.
That includes the Holmboe Conifer Forest, adjacent to Rhinelander's city limits.
"This is what we actually consider an early old growth stage conifer forest. That's a big part of this Holmboe property," Pierce says.
Holmboe also has state designation as a State Natural Area.
Whether it's precious land the land trust owns or private land that will be protected forever, the Northwoods Land Trust helps make sure at least part the Northwoods landscape will be preserved forever.
"I feel comfortable that people can enjoy it and that it will stay this way," says Roland.