Fort McCoy News Nov. 11, 2016

Army foresters learn about McCoy during 1st visit

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Twenty foresters from installations Armywide visited Fort McCoy Nov. 1 to learn more about the post's Forestry Program.
The tour was led by Fort McCoy Forester James Kerkman and Forestry Technician Charles Mentzel with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch.

The tour was planned to coincide with the national meeting of the Society of American Foresters (SAF), which was held in Madison, Wis.

This was the first time the annual SAF meeting has been held in Wisconsin since the 1950s, said Kerkman, who's been at Fort McCoy for 31 years. "This is a big deal. I've been to many other national meetings where if we were near a military installation, we would go visit it. So, we decided that we wanted to do it here as well.

Fort McCoy Forester James Kerkman (right) with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch talks to foresters from several Army installations about Fort McCoy forestry efforts at a South Post area Nov. 1.
Fort McCoy Forester James Kerkman (right) with the Directorate of
Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch talks to
foresters from several Army installations about Fort McCoy forestry
efforts at a South Post area Nov. 1.

"This was a great opportunity for them all to see how we care for our forested lands at Fort McCoy," Kerkman said.

The group visited a prairie area and Young Air Assault Strip on South Post as well as areas on North Post near Pine View Campground, such as a red pine plantation.

The stops were selected to prompt discussion and idea sharing, Kerkman said.

"The discussions were incredible," Kerkman said. "Many of us have known each other for years, and we know that many of us are dealing with the same issues and problems. In this tour, we had nearly the whole nation represented, and we learned from each other."

Forester Rodger Voss from Fort Drum, N.Y., said the tour showed him how many similarities Fort McCoy has to his installation.

"Our forest (ecosystems) are almost identical," said Voss, who manages approximately 65,000 forested acres at Fort Drum. "It's also interesting how similar we are with things like airfield issues, endangered species, and related issues. It's nice to be able to interact with people who are experiencing the same issues that we are."

Forester Allen Braswell from Fort Gordon, Ga., said that although forest types are different in Georgia and Wisconsin, he's learned more about varying forestry management styles.

"I really enjoyed this tour," said Braswell, who manages 46,000 acres of forested land at the Georgia post.

"It's also good for us to get together because we learn about the challenges (and successes) each other has had."

The six-hour visit included a lunch stop at McCoy's Community Center.

The foresters then met Nov. 2 in Madison for a breakout session about forestry practices and training. The SAF meeting began Nov. 3.

For more information about the Fort McCoy Forestry Program, call 608-388-2102.