When Rock Martell retired after running a successful trucking business in Milwaukee, he wanted to find land away from the hustle and bustle of city life so he could spend his days hunting and fishing. He found his bliss when he purchased 200 acres near Bark Point, where he was a ‘fanatic’ bow hunter and tracked deer, gray squirrels, and partridge for many years. He said that in those days, there were more black bears in Bayfield County than permanent residents. He spent his summers in Colorado with wife Barbara to avoid the abundant ticks and mosquitoes.
Thirty years later, Rock finds that his time hunting in deer stands has ended, and he and his wife are entering the next season of their lives. They sold their property in Colorado and plan to divide their time primarily between Milwaukee and South Carolina. When faced with the decision of what to do with his land in Bayfield County, Rock was hesitant to sell. The pristine acreage sits between Highway 13 to the north and Old Highway 13 to the south. Old Highway 13 is now primarily a logging road, and Rock has seen numerous 40s clear-cut over the past ten years.
He didn’t want to see his land and its resources – providing habitat for turkeys, grouse, wolves, coyotes, and countless other species, as well as scenic views for his neighbors – spoiled or destroyed.
Rock and Barbara decided to donate 160 acres of their Wisconsin land to Landmark Conservancy. Landmark will place a conservation easement on the property to protect its natural resource values in perpetuity and will then sell the protected land to help fund new conservation projects. Rock has retained 40 acres with his cabin and barn that he will continue to visit on occasion.
“It’s a win-win,” said Rock. “I know the land is in good hands, and it will stay like this forever.”