The Barron County Board of Supervisors Property Committee has agreed to spend $6,500 to removed damaged trees from the 36-acre Rockman’s Woods outdoor sports area in Barron.
The committee approved spending the money at its regular monthly meeting Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, at the Barron County Government Center
Rockman’s Woods belongs to Barron County, and includes trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Parts of it also serve as part of the Barron High School cross-country running course.
There was extensive damage in the wooded area after the July 19 windstorm, supervisors were told.
Barron resident Tyler Gruetzmacher, county conservationist, said he was speaking to the committee as chair of the Barron Area Nordic Trails Association. The association grooms and maintains the trails, including lights installed throughout the woods to allow night skiing and snow shoeing.
“There are 130 trees down over 36 acres, (and) the trail is essentially useless,” Gruetzmacher told the committee.
“I knew that trail like the back of my hand, but now, it’s easy to get lost in there.”
One fallen oak was 60 feet high to the first set of branches, he said.
Supervisor Bob Rogers, Dist. 1, Chetek, asked if the timber could be salvaged.
John Cisek, county forester, said Rockman’s Woods could be added to a timber bidding process, along with other county-owned lands.
But he warned that there may not be interest among area loggers.
“The market is flooded (because of thousands of other downed trees) and prices are down,” Cisek said. “The second issue is the size of the material that needs to be cut. A typical operation can’t handle (logs) that big.
Jeff French, county administrator, said it is the county’s responsibility to care for and maintain Rockman’s Woods.
Committee members agreed to spend $5,000 in contingency funds on the cleanup process, and $1,500 more to seed and grade the trails.
If the county is successful in bidding for timber removal, resulting profits could go to help offset the cost of cleanup, the committee learned.