Telemark Campaign

Conserving Wisconsin’s natural legacy for everyone...forever.
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Support the Telemark Preserve!

Landmark Conservancy has signed a land contract to purchase the western 218 acres of the Mt. Telemark property from the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF). As an accredited, nonprofit land trust, we are able to ensure protection of this land in perpetuity, safeguarding its ecological features as well as the Northwoods experience cherished by area residents and visitors.

Your support of Landmark’s acquisition of this property helps us protect the land forever and make it available for low-impact public use. Activities may include development of quiet trails, improvement of wildlife habitat, sustainable forest management, and removal of invasive plants. Preserving the land in its natural, forested state provides multiple benefits as our climate changes. It will protect the Namekagon Watershed and also the St. Croix River, a national treasure. Together, the Namekagon and the St. Croix were among the first rivers to receive the National Wild and Scenic River designation.

Permanent land protection provides the following key benefits to the region:
  • Intact forest within the Telemark preserve protects groundwater resources that in turn preserves coldwater fish habitat.
  • Large, contiguous blocks of forestland provide wildlife migration corridors.
  • Residents and visitors will have access to backcountry hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, birdwatching and wildlife viewing, and potential hunting opportunities.
Landmark Conservancy Telemark Acquisition

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Are you passionate about protecting the natural legacy of Wisconsin?

Please join with Landmark Conservancy and support our purchase of this land for conservation. In addition to cash gifts, we can accept stock and IRA distributions.

Questions? Contact Kristin Thompson, Advancement Director at kristin@landmarkwi.org or 715-869-1749

Make a Financial Donation

The Telemark Preserve
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What types of recreation will be supported on the Telemark Preserve?

The property will be open to the public for non-motorized recreation. This includes hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, trapping, and wildlife viewing. If grant funds from Wisconsin DNR are used to help purchase the property, hunting would be allowed unless there is a contradicting town ordinance. Trails will likely be narrow in size and provide a different, more intimate Northwoods experience than surrounding trails. Infrastructure will be minimal such as interpretive signage and a small parking area.

All existing encumbrances will be apparent when we investigate title. Landmark will honor the permanent easement of the Birkie Trail, and biking may be allowed along this trail.

Will Landmark Conservancy own the Telemark Preserve forever?

Landmark Conservancy has helped to purchase many properties over the years, and while we continue to own some of them, Landmark has at times conveyed a property to another owner for a variety of reasons including staff capacity and land management resources. Should Landmark Conservancy choose to convey the Telemark Preserve to another entity in the future, it would need to be an eligible non-profit organization or a local unit of government capable of owning and managing land, and the entity would need to adhere to the protection of the conservation values.

If grant funds are used, any owner is subject to a grant and management contract with the State of Wisconsin that protects the land’s natural attributes and perpetuates low-impact public recreation. Selling the property is not permitted.

If grant funds are not used to purchase the property, Landmark Conservancy would most likely reserve a conservation easement on the property at the time of conveyance that any and all future owners would have to abide by to protect the land’s conservation values.

How are Landmark Conservancy’s operations guided by national accreditation standards?

Landmark Conservancy follows the Land Trust Alliance’s Land Trust Standards and Practices which are the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust and meet the accreditation requirements drawn from them.

Related to conservation easement and land purchase projects, we adhere to the Land Trust Standards and Practices, which include but are not limited to the following:

 

  • Obtain review and approval for each project by our Board of Directors.
  • Verify the land has conservation values worth of protection.
  • Assess stewardship implications of each project and Landmark’s capacity to meet those obligations.
  • Obtain a legal review of every land and conservation easement transaction.
  • Investigate title for the property prior to closing to ensure any encumbrances will not significantly undermine the property’s important conservation values.
For conservation easement projects, we also:
  • Estimate the long-term stewardship and enforcement expenses and track those costs as they are incurred.
  • Monitor the property at least once per calendar year and document the findings.
  • Investigate potential violations in a timely manner and promptly document all actions taken as well as involve legal counsel as appropriate.
For land purchase projects, we also:
  • Obtain an independent, third-party appraisal by a qualified appraiser to support the purchase price.
  • Develop a written land management for the property within 12 months after acquiring to identify the property’s conservation values; identify the overall management goals and objectives; specify the uses that are appropriate for the property in keeping with the property’s conservation values, any restrictions and donor and funder requirements; and provide public access opportunities as appropriate to the property, community goals and the land trust’s mission.
  • Maintain the property in a manner that retains the land trusts public credibility, manages community expectations, and minimizes risk.
  • Inspect the property for potential management problems and address them in an appropriate and timely manner.

Will Landmark Conservancy continue to pay taxes on this property?

This has not yet been determined. Landmark could continue to pay full property taxes; Landmark could also apply for property tax exemption since the property will be open to the public and provide benefits including recreation and protection of water and wildlife.

I have heard about Landmark’s involvement in a timber harvest at Lincoln Community Forest. Will there be any timber harvest on the Telemark Preserve?

Management activities on our owned properties range from no active management to minor habitat enhancements, to doing habitat restoration, to implementing sustainable forest management. Regarding any future forest management on the Telemark Preserve, we will work to engage the community and natural resource experts on best management practices, with a goal of achieving a healthy, diverse, older-aged, more climate-resilient forest.

Of Landmark’s 17 currently owned properties, three are enrolled in Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law (MFL) program, one of which is Lincoln Community Forest. All three of these properties were enrolled in MFL when we acquired them. In the case of Lincoln Community Forest, the community requested that Landmark (known at the time as Bayfield Regional Conservancy, or BRC) keep it in this program so property taxes were still generated as well as local revenue from timber products.

In the winter of 2017, Bayfield Regional Conservancy conducted a mandatory timber harvest as was scheduled per the MFL plan. The stand was predominantly an older aspen stand and BRC initially chose to harvest the majority of the stand minus reserve areas. This was to create space for white pine to be planted back on the landscape to build climate resiliency, tree diversity, and foster a longer-lived forest type while also allowing aspen to regrow in other areas to continue to provide local forest products. Upon urging from the Friends of the Lincoln Community Forest (who work with Landmark to steward the property, especially related to recreation), BRC agreed to leave the small component of maple, oak, fir, and other tree species in the stand. Over time, Landmark Conservancy plans to convert more of the aspen to longer-lived, more climate-resilient species.

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Landmark Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

500 East Main Street, Suite 307 Menomonie, Wisconsin 54751

715-235-8850 (All Offices)