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Deadline extended for national forest project proposals

The Nov. 12 deadline to submit project proposals to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest under the Secure Rural Schools program is being extended until Nov. 25. Almost $670,000 is available for projects that will improve or benefit national forest lands and provide local employment opportunities. This deadline extension will allow individuals and groups more time to submit proposals by email or U.S. mail.

“Since we announced this opportunity last month, we’ve had some good conversations with people who care about public lands and want to help make a difference in local rural communities,” said Forest Supervisor Paul Strong. “We look forward to seeing a range of projects to serve diverse interests.”

Funds to implement selected projects come from Title II of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which established a way for counties with eligible lands to benefit from revenue-generating activities on the national forest, such as timber harvests and recreation. Ashland, Bayfield, Florence, Forest, Oconto, Price, Sawyer and Taylor counties elected to expend a portion of their federal Title II funds to protect, restore, or enhance ecosystems, fish and wildlife habitat, or other natural resources on the national forest or to benefit the national forest.

Projects funded through the Secure Rural Schools program should have broadbased support and objectives such as: · road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration; · soil productivity improvement; · forest ecosystem health improvement; · watershed restoration and maintenance; · wildlife and fish habitat restoration, maintenance and improvement; · noxious and exotic weeds control; or · native species re-establishment.

Anyone considering a proposal should consult with their local forest office before completing the project submission form, located at Local district rangers and resource specialists can help ensure proposals meet Title II guidelines.

For maximum consideration, proponents should submit completed forms by Nov. 25 by email to [email protected] or by U.S. mail to Penny McLaughlin, Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, 500 Hanson Lake Road, Rhinelander, WI 54501.

A new Northern Wisconsin Resource Advisory Committee will review the proposals and recommend projects to the forest. The committee is made up of individuals from membership categories representing varied interests and areas of expertise. The committee’s recommendations will go to the forest supervisor for final approval.

Historically, the forest worked with two Resource Advisory Committees—one for the Chequamegon, or west side of the forest, and one for the Nicolet, or east side of the forest. The forest recruited members for the newly combined committee in 2019, and is waiting for the final approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture before convening.