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Waiting for a Freeze: Warmer winter's impact on logging

Posted at 5:10 PM, Apr 15, 2024

Some logging operations in northeast Wisconsin were impacted by the warmer weather during the winter.

  • The warmer winter in northeast Wisconsin had an impact on some logging operations.
  • Land like marshes can only be logged in the winter if the ground freezes, said Scott Koerner of Koerner Forest Products in Oshkosh.
  • Without a freeze, logging equipment can get stuck in swamp-like areas, Koerner said.

Freezing weather can be good for the logging industry.

It's simple, said Scott Koerner, who runs Koerner Forest Products in Oshkosh: To log swamp-like areas, the ground needs to freeze so logging equipment doesn't get stuck.

This past winter did not cooperate.

"When we have a winter that's as warm as this one was, we really got no frost anywhere on any of our sites that need to have frost," said Koerner.

There can be restrictions on summer logging, Koerner said, leaving limited time to log - and time is already ticking.

"We've got ash [trees] in low grounds, and that's where ash likes to grow. And with emerald ash borer, we have ash that are dying... so every year that we don't get an opportunity to get in and harvest, we potentially could lose that valuable resource," Koerner said.

That loss represents a potential big financial loss to the logging industry statewide, Koerner said.

In the winter, Koerner's crews go to sandy or higher ground, where the freeze isn't necessary, but not all crews can, he said.

Scott said that because of the drier weather lately in northeast Wisconsin, crews could theoretically get in to cut down trees in the swamp area he showed us, but factors including seasonal logging restrictions in certain areas complicate that possibility.