Sen. Ron Johnson tours Chequamegon Nicolet National ForestSubmitted: 08/19/2014
Story By Adam Fox

FOREST COUNTY - Forest and timber leaders in Northern Wisconsin hosted Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) in Forest County Tuesday. The group of timber experts was touring areas of the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest (CNNF).

Both of Wisconsin's senators toured forests and forest industries in the north over the last two days.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) toured wood products businesses in Laona on Monday.

Foresters and timber experts were urging, to both senators, for more harvesting in the more than one million acres of national forest that covers Northern Wisconsin. The harvest this decade has been far below what it was in the 90s.

And after speaking with timber specialists Tuesday, Johnson believes there needs to be more harvesting.

"How could we utilize that revenue potentially for funding some of the fire suppression efforts out west? Again, there is a huge opportunity here, as a matter of gathering information and making the case," Johnson said.

Johnson says this was the first time he had been in the forest with timber experts, but he didn't call harvesting levels a problem.

"Problems have very difficult solutions. This one is a very easy one," Johnson said. "This is really having the federal government in their national forests use the same model that county's use to manage their forest."

Some people fear a larger harvest would hurt plant and animal habitats in the forest. Nearly 75 million board feet of hardwood was harvested from the national forest in 2012. That harvest is smaller than the 133 million board feet allowed under the CNNF's Land Management Plan.

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