This is my grandfather George Neumann (animation courtesy of MyHeritage). In 1945 he and my grandmother Anne Neumann bought a fishing and hunting camp on the Escanaba River. In 1956 they bought a lakefront property on Big Shag Lake. And in 1950 they bought 200 acres of commercial forest land in Baraga and Iron County. George and Anne died decades ago, but the properties are still in the family and enjoyed by the generations that followed.
We spent every summer as kids exploring, playing and fishing on the lake and in the river. Looking back it's clear that, to a large degree, we took the properties for granted growing up. I guess we assumed every Chicago kid got to go play in the woods and fish in lakes and rivers throughout their childhood. Now I cannot help but reflect how much these properties shaped the people we became and a glue that binds the extended family that enjoy them now.
The commercial forest land was and is the least visited of the three properties. It's in the middle of nowhere, hard to get to, no lake, no river, just trees. Yet it may turn out to be the family's most important legacy. Now owned by my father and cousin Emily, we are in the fourth generation of the family to be actively involved in managing this land. The stewardship of this forestland and assuring it was maintained in a healthy and sustainable way across multiple harvests over the last seventy years is source of considerable pride in the family.
Two years ago we toured the property with Justin - the forester who runs Green Timber Consulting Foresters. It was twenty years after the last cut. We hired them to cruise the property, mark the trees for a selective cut, and manage the bid and logging process. This day we'll tour the property with Brian - a forester that works for Justin at GTCF. Brian was primarily responsible to oversee, monitor, and manage the loggers working the property over the last two years.
|Harlan, Emily, Brian, Kowayne
|First things first... unload the ATV's
|We can cover more ground this way...
We specify the White Pines on the property are off limits to the loggers.
|... Emily, Kowayne