|Story & photos by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Logging operations at Fort McCoy are planned and managed to benefit both
the installation and neighboring communities, said Jim Kerkman.
Employees contracted through
Future Wood of Hayward, Wis., remove designated lumber from a
Fort McCoy site near the Sparta/Fort McCoy Airport.
Kerkman, forester for the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works
(DPW), said logging operations provide a source of marketable wood for
lumber, firewood and paper, as well as help improve the health of the
installation’s trees and increase the safety of people both on and off
the installation. Management techniques include removing older, dying,
dead or fallen trees or thinning out trees for health or safety reasons.
Trees have varying life spans and need to be managed to ensure they
remain healthy to support the installation’s environmental system and
support or improve training opportunities, he said.
Kerkman said Forestry works hand-in-hand with the Fort McCoy Directorate
of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Land
Rehabilitation and Maintenance (LRAM) program to coordinate the work
necessary to ensure the logging operations are a success. LRAM is
aligned under the DPTMS Integrated Training Area Management program.
Brooks Lundeen, LRAM coordinator, said LRAM also works in coordination
with Forestry to benefit training by removing trees and woody debris
that isn’t marketable.
The LRAM crew uses heavy-duty forestry mowers to shred the vegetation,
which allows access to areas and improves them for training purposes.
Kristopher Steinhoff, an LRAM
employee at Fort McCoy, shreds vegetation at a South Post
“We help ensure there is long-term maneuver access to the training
areas for Soldiers, Range personnel and all others, if need be,” Lundeen
said. “We also help maintain cover and concealment in these areas by
preserving selected trees during the shredding process that may be
harvestable in the future.”
In addition to shredding, the LRAM team performs trail- and
training-area maintenance, reconfigures sites to increase training
potential, and repairs maneuver damage, including native grass seeding
and erosion-control projects to meet Army guidelines or standards for
sustainability, he said.
Kerkman said too many trees in an area can hinder tree growth. Selective
removal of trees allows for growth opportunities and better health for
the remaining trees, he said.
In some instances, it’s a case of safety. Kerkman said, for example, a
high tree density near a range may pose a fire risk for neighboring
properties if the vegetation catches fire during training. Removing some
of the trees can create a bigger buffer zone, he said. Likewise, Kerkman
said fires in trees or vegetation on or near a range can delay or
prevent necessary military training so it is important to control
vegetation on or around ranges. Logging operations also reduce trees
along roadways, which can help improve visibility and safety for
Revenue from the timber sales goes into an Armywide forestry account and
is used to fund forestry projects on Fort McCoy.
For more information about logging operations at Fort McCoy, call
Forestry at 608-388-2102.