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Ranger station to be built near Jim Falls


Cornell has been home to the DNR ranger station for many years, but the time to move on has come, as plans are in the works to construct a new building on County Hwy. S in Jim Falls.

“This old ranger station – we have outgrown it,” said DNR forester Dennis Hutchinson, who says their modern equipment either barely fits or not at all in the current station. “It’s an opportunity for us to get a newer building, more modern, where we can house all our equipment, instead of having to send it in a couple different directions.”

Located near Jim Falls, the building will house centralized forestry staff and provide the space required to house equipment needed for forest fire response.

“This has been in the works for many years,” said Hutchinson. “Originally, they were going to think about doing something to there on that current lot, but that didn’t work out.”

As far back as the 1980s, DNR staff noted that the building was getting old and that there were issues with the well. The water lines were run in the concrete and Hutchinson says major remodeling would need to take place to upgrade the station.

“And it just never got done, so over the years, it’s gradually gotten worse and it’s not ideal right now,” he said.

To help with the new building project, the Wisconsin Building Commission approved $65 million for replacement or updates, to several DNR fire response stations across Wisconsin. Hutchinson says he is not sure of the actual date for construction to begin, but hopes within the next two years the station will be built.

“I do anticipate that the department will sell the existing building at some point,” said Hutchinson. “This new station will be a Godsend when it gets here.”

The gold-colored ranger station has welcomed travelers coming from the west to Cornell, for many years, but in the next couple years, DNR staff and equipment will be moved to Jim Falls. The current station is in need of major repairs, so a new station will be constructed to house the larger modern equipment.Photo by Ginna Young