Presque Isle’s Van Vliet Hemlocks will become a State Natural Area. And the mostly old-growth parcel will be managed with as little interference as possible. The state Natural Resources Board voted Wednesday to approve the DNR’s recommendation to passively manage the area.
Tom Olson President of the group Friends of the Van Vliet spoke at the meeting, citing widespread public support for letting the hemlock parcel manage itself. “The area up there, Presque Isle, is referred to as Wisconsin’s last wilderness. Van Vliet Hemlocks sit smack dab in the middle of it. DNR staff recognized that whole interest that Presque Isle township has in coming up with this recommendation as well.”
Board members asked how much state land is managed passively, and discussed the need to supply trees for local timber mills. But chief state forester Paul DeLong says there was little opposition to the Van Vliet portion of the amendment. “(We) always appreciate engagement by the natural resources board. They did not raise any concerns about the Van Vliet parcel.”
DeLong also notes passive management of the Van Vliet parcel still allows for DNR to manage for invasive species and maintain trails. DeLong says there was substantial conversation around another part of the amendment that deals with motorized access in parts of the Willow Flowage.