Archives for March 2014

Leaving a Forested Legacy Workshop

Land Trust Partnerships for Private Landowners

barred-owlThe preservation of forested land held in private ownership is an important legacy to leave to future generations. The Center for Land Use Education, in partnership with  North Central Conservancy Trust, will present a workshop in April to address the issues  of land ownership succession and forest fragmentation.

Over the next 20 years, most of Wisconsin’s privately owned forestland will be passed on  to the next generation. Decisions made by all private forest landowners (PFLs) now and  in the future can have long-reaching impacts on the ecological, social, and economic benefits forests provide to everyone, not just the landowner.

Do you own a forested tract? Are you concerned with protecting it, and passing it along to your heirs? There are options which can help you. The Leaving a Forested Legacy Workshop will address ways to protect your land from undesirable development or use, even when you are no longer able to oversee it. You will also be able to find out ways to pass this legacy to your children and grandchildren.

Expert panelists will speak on the following topics: family land ownership issues, land conservation options through land trusts, understanding local land-use regulation options to address forest fragmentation, and estate planning.

When: Thursday, April 17, 2014 from 6:00-8:00 pm
Where: Lee S. Dreyfus University Center, Room 374, 1015 Reserve Street, Stevens Point
Contact: Betsy Kerlin at 715-344-1910 or to register for the event.
Please register by Monday, April 7th

This workshop is being offered at no cost thanks to the support of our partners at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Local organizations secure land for future Ice Age Trail in Marathon County

Permanently protected property features wetland forest and shoreline on undeveloped Rice Lake

Forty-one acres in the Town of Reid in Marathon County will one day hold a section of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, a 1,200-mile hiking path that traces the geology left by the most recent glacier, thanks to the partnership of two Wisconsin conservation organizations.

NCCT Rice LakeThe North Central Conservancy Trust, a Stevens-Point based land trust, sold the property to the Ice Age Trail Alliance, based out of Cross Plains, in early February. The property sits between two existing sections of the Ice Age Trail in Marathon and Portage Counties and will help link the Trail, one of 11 National Scenic Trails, through central Wisconsin.

“This property serves as an anchor point for the Trail in southern Marathon County,” said Kevin Thusius, director of land conservation for the Alliance. “Future Ice Age Trail will give area residents and visitors a unique and interesting outdoor experience, complemented by the natural features the property has to offer.”

The property includes 1,000 feet of shoreline on Rice Lake, a spring-fed, undeveloped marl lake. White cedar forest covers the majority of the property’s acreage and protects the water quality of the lake.

The land was originally gifted in 2011 to preserve these natural features. Claire Pfleger of Milwaukee donated the property as a gift to NCCT, which also retains a conservation easement that further protects the property from development.

The proceeds from the sale will go toward furthering the NCCT’s conservation work in central Wisconsin. Upon learning of the purchase, the Town of Reid and Marathon County both passed resolutions in support of the acquisition. The Ice Age Trail Alliance purchased the property using funds from the state Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, which protects the state’s most valuable natural areas and expands opportunities for outdoor recreation.

“In addition to protecting the shoreline and wetland forests, the property will be open to the public, guaranteeing the public enjoyment of this beautiful place for years to come,” said NCCT Executive Director Betsy Kerlin. “I am thankful to the Ice Age Trail Alliance for the opportunity to collaborate on this project.”

NCCT IATA GroupThe North Central Conservancy Trust works to protect scenic working lands and environmental resources for the benefit of the people of central Wisconsin. The North Central Conservancy Trust has preserved over 3,000 acres in eight counties. Learn more at

The Ice Age Trail Alliance is a nonprofit volunteer- and member-based organization established in 1958 that works to build, maintain and promote the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. One of only 11 National Scenic Trails, the Ice Age Trail is a thousand-mile footpath that highlights Wisconsin’s world-renowned Ice Age heritage and natural resources. Visit to learn more.

Farm Bill

Farm BillThe 2014 Farm Bill, signed into law by President Obama on February 7, provides more than $1 billion for conservation, exceeding all other federal sources of conservation funding. This bill will keep working farms and ranches in family hands, helping to restore and maintain our ways of life.

Read the full story here.

1,000 Acres Preserved In Portage County

Wilke Land

In November 2013, North Central Conservancy Trust and Richard and Sarah Wilke
signed a conservation easement on a 27 acre property located in the Town of New
Hope, Portage County. The Wilke easement will forever protect a scenic vista of Hintz Lake, a
diverse wetland ecosystem, a spring breeding area for waterfowl, and one of the largest fall
staging areas for geese and sandhill cranes in eastern Portage County. The signing of the Wilke
easement was significant as it pushed the total number of acres permanently protected in
Portage County by NCCT to well over 1,000 acres!

The Wilke easement includes more than one-third mile of shoreline and more than three and
one-half acres of a shallow bay. The upland parts of the property support a mosaic of forest,
thickets, and openings. Areas of lupine support the endangered Karner blue butterfly. Scenic
islands of trees and shrubs set off the grasslands and contribute to beautiful natural scenic
vistas down to the lake and bay. Richard and Sarah Wilke shared that they were “delighted to
partner with NCCT to permanently protect this scenic and ecologically significant area so it can
be enjoyed by future generations of both people and wildlife”.

At the time of the Wilke easement filing, eight other conservation easements within five miles of
the Wilke conservation easement protected 556 more acres of natural glacial landscape,
including NCCT’s first Portage County easement on 94 acres donated by Lowell and Christine
Klessig. The area surrounding the Wilke conservation easement, better known as the moraines
east of Stevens Point, boasts the highest concentration of property preserved by NCCT. NCCT
has permanently protected 1,077.9 acres in Portage County as a whole.

Since our inception NCCT has been dedicated to protecting the worthy scenic, working lands
and environmental resources for the benefit of the people of central Wisconsin. Conservation
easements are especially important for protecting the agricultural, scenic, and environmental
qualities of our landscape. From our first Portage County easement on 94 acres in 2001 to our
latest easement with Sarah and Richard Wilke, NCCT is grateful to our conservation minded
benefactors and is dedicated to continuing our growth as an active and vital land trust.

Summer Event 2013

Summer EventNorth Central Conservancy Trust held their annual Summer Event on Saturday, August 24, 2013. The day started with a beautiful morning hike on Jack Scholz’s property in Wausau. In the summer of 2008, Jack contacted NCCT and started the process to protect 68 acres of his property originally purchased   by his grandfather. The focal point of the property is the forest of large white pine and hemlock along the Prahl Creek ravine. There are reputed to be close to 100 trees approaching 3 feet in diameter. In March of 2009, Jack signed a conservation easement with NCCT, forever preserving a portion of the Prahl Creek ravine for the enjoyment of generations to come. Conservation easements like the Scholz easement helps protect in perpetuity quality habitats, species diversity, watersheds, and beautiful places with inspiring histories. About 18 attendees were able to join us for the hike.

Following the Scholz hike, a potluck and presentation were held at the nearby Dells of Eau Claire Park. Plenty of good food and conversation were on hand along the banks of the Eau Claire River, and attendees were able to meet new Executive Director Betsy Kerlin. Kerry Brimmer, long-time NCCT Properties Committee, Stewardship Committee, and Board member, was presented with the Distinguished Service Award. Kerry has volunteered for NCCT over the past 14 years, and was a volunteer when NCCT signed their first easement, the Mumford easement, which is located just upstream from the Dells of Eau Claire Park. Kerry has also been the driving force behind the management of many of our green properties, including the 260-acre Starpoint property in Adams County. Kerry shared that he felt honored to be included amongst the folks who have received the award in the past, including Bob Freckmann and David Hillier. He also shared that he has met many great friends through the organization. Thank you, Kerry, for your many years of service!

Annual Meeting 2013

The North Central Conservancy Trust held their Annual Meeting on October 15, 2013 at The Hills Restaurant at Greenwood Hills Country Club in Wausau. The Annual
Meeting is held once a year to celebrate the successes of the organization, rally support for land
preservation in central Wisconsin and to educate attendees about the importance of land
preservation. NCCT had a lot to celebrate; including over 3,000 acres preserved in central

The evening started with a social hour, followed by dinner and presentations by Alan
Haney, Betsy Kerlin, and award-winning writer and fifth-generation Portage County farmer,
Justin Isherwood. New to this year’s Annual Meeting was a silent auction fundraiser
containing items from area vendors and artists. Thank you to our membership and supporters for a successful event!



Easement Tax Incentives

Tax IncentiveThere are important developments occurring at the federal level regarding conservation
easement tax deductions.

Read the full story here.

Henry Greene Award-John Shillinglaw

ShillinglawCongratulations to North Central Conservancy Trust member and easement donor John
Shillinglaw who recently received the Henry Greene Award from the University of
Wisconsin Friends of the Arboretum for his innovative approaches in restoration!

Read the full story here

John shared that working with NCCT has been an important factor in his ongoing work in
restoration. Further he stated “knowing that the property has protection in perpetuity has
helped motivate many of my efforts.”