MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Visitors to Havenwoods State Forest in Milwaukee County will see forestry activities to remove invasive brush and other undesirable vegetation throughout 47 areas of the property.
Mowing starts Monday and will change the short-term appearance of this recreation site. The work is necessary to achieve the management objectives to create conditions ideal for the next crop of tree seedlings to grow.
"We are managing these lands with the long-term objectives of improving the existing forest stands that house hiking trails and provide an outdoor classroom for nature-based education and outdoor skill programming,” said Samantha Kueffler, Havenwoods State Forest Superintendent. “Our forests are tremendous natural assets within the city, and management plans help balance current environmental, social and economic benefits while ensuring both recreational and educational opportunities for future generations."
Two sites are included in this work, one is in the northwest corner of the property, and the second in the north-central portion. Specific objectives for the Milwaukee County land are to control the exotic, invasive vegetation present, and regenerate native hardwood forests.
“The area to be mulched is dominated by exotic, invasive brush and other undesirable vegetation that is too dense to allow desirable trees and shrubs to grow,” said Mike Sieger, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources forester. “In addition, this invasive growth offers poor habitat for wildlife in general and isn’t aesthetically appealing.”
The plan is to reduce the invasive brush and other undesirable species of the understory to mulch by mowing the identified sites with a skid steer mounted forestry mulcher. Follow-up management will be performed to control any re-sprouts of the unwanted vegetation. When the exotic, invasive vegetation is sufficiently controlled, native hardwood trees and wildlife-promoting native brush will be planted. Ongoing maintenance will also be performed to assure the healthy growth and development of these trees.
"Access restrictions will apply to areas where equipment is actively working,” Kueffler said. “Hiking trails may need to be closed for stretches of time to allow for safe conditions for visitors and the equipment operators working in the area. We appreciate citizen support for these efforts and ask for patience while these management activities are underway."
This active forest management site provides an excellent education opportunity. Visitors are encouraged to monitor progress from a safe distance, research and discuss the environmental, social and economic benefits of forest and habitat management.
Havenwoods State Forest is Wisconsin’s only urban state forest, featuring 237 acres of grasslands, woods and wetlands in the city of Milwaukee. It has over 6 miles of trails, and an Environmental Education Center.