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County turns vandalism into a way to help kids

County turns vandalism into a way to help kids County turns vandalism into a way to help kids

Taylor County forestry department harvests trees damaged by vandals, donates wood to Medford schools

After vandals girdled several red pine and red oak trees in the county forest, members of the Taylor County Forestry and Recreation Department harvested them with the lumber to be used by the Medford Area Senior High School (MASH) wood shop.

“This is our attempt to turn a negative into a positive. It was important that we utilized these badly damaged trees to avoid waste and prevent damage to the remaining trees by insects and disease attracted or caused by the damage,” said Jake Walcisak, Taylor County forest administrator.

According to Walcisak, there were 14 large diameter red pine and three red oak of varying sizes vandalized this fall. One red pine was felled with an axe or hatchet. Other trees were girdled or had letters, numbers and symbols carved in the bark.

Of the damaged trees, six red pine were heavily damaged to the point that they would not survive. Walcisak and county forester Jordan Lutz, harvested the trees using Forestry Department equipment resulting in 21 12-foot logs and five eight-foot logs.

Log hauling will be donated by Czarnezki Forest Products and the logs will be sawn into boards at Goodrich Sawmill. When finished, the boards will be delivered to MASH wood shop for use in future student projects.

Walcisak estimates the value of all forest products damaged at about $750.

The County Forestry Department cooperated with the Rib Lake School District and DNR conservation warden Kurt Haas to investigate the vandalism and find who was responsible. The case currently remains unsolved.