- School District of Marshfield
- School Forest
Welcome to the Marshfield School Forest. We hope your visit is an enjoyable one. As a multi-use facility the Forest has become an excellent example of the Marshfield community interacting with the environment. This web site was designed to be helpful in enhancing your visit and contributing to the continued success of the School Forest. To View the School Forest Plan click here.
School Forest Information
Class Policies and Procedures
Use of School Forest Regulations
The School Forest's primary use and goal is for environmental education of the students of the School District of Marshfield. Recreational use by the public is encouraged if it does not disrupt the environment and is not in conflict with school use.
The School Forest facilities will be available for public use between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from November 1 through March 31 and 8:00 a.m. through 9:00 p.m. from April 1 through October 31. Use by the general public will be prohibited at other hours. ***Exceptions will include groups from the School District of staying overnight, organizations that have rented the facilities, or anyone obtaining special written authorization from school district officials.
Questions or concerns regarding use shall be directed to the School Forest Coordinator.
School classes and groups shall have first priority.
The use of motorized recreational vehicles on the School Forest property is prohibited. Motorized recreational vehicles include four wheelers, utv's, motorcycles, mopeds, and snowmobiles. Bicycles will be allowed on trails that have a granite or hard surface established bike trails.
Any exceptions must be authorized, in writing, by school district officials.
Hunting will not be allowed when school or rental groups are on the property, (See Administrative Rule 832.1 for specific hunting regulations.)
Swimming and boating at the School Forest pond are prohibited unless the activity is directed by school personnel with a qualified lifeguard present. Rental groups wishing to utilize the pond for swimming and/ or boating must certify, in writing, at the time they rent the facility, that they will provide a certified lifeguard and/ or boating instructor.
Any trail clearance and/ or modifications are to be approved by the coordinator of the School Forest and the environmental committee. 832-Rule (Con't.)
Sledding, tubing and snowboarding in the School Forest are prohibited.
Individuals utilizing the School Forest, including those who have rented the facilities are not allowed to have pets in the lodge.
Rules and regulations of the School District of Marshfield apply at the School Forest.
No smoking, use of drugs or alcoholic beverages, vandalism, or disorderly conduct will be permitted.
Campfires should be restricted to the fire pit by the lodge unless other arrangements are approved by the School Forest Coordinator. During the DNR specified or school authorized fire bans, no burning will be allowed.
Parking and use of School Forest roads by the public is not permitted unless authorized by school personnel. This is to ensure student safety and guard against the potential of vehicles being locked in.
Violators of School Forest regulations will be subject to the laws, ordinances, and penalties of the city of Marshfield, county of Wood, and the state of Wisconsin.
The School Forest Coordinator or any designated individual is the authorized person in charge of enforcing the School Forest policy.
Approved: June 10, 1992. Reviewed: August 11, 2004 and January 10, 2007.
Community Usage & Rentals
Renting the School Forest
The School Forest may be rented to members of the community. The Forest will not be rented out for private functions. You can also check to find out the availability of the Forest for rental purposes.
How to Rent the School Forest
1. Call Mark Zee, School Forest Director
Contact Info : School Year - 715-387-8464 ext.4526
Summer Months - 715-305-9257
2. Complete the rental request form
3. A rental request form and associated fee can then be mailed to the Board Of Education Office or hand-delivered at the time of picking up the gate/lodge key, also at the Board Office.
4. School Forest Director must be contacted first
Rental when no admission is charged: fees/day
School Forest Lodge: A-$190 B-$110 C-$75
Key: A - Private organizations (industrial, political, business, etc.)
B- Community groups (service, civic, church, charitable, educational, Chamber of Commerce, fraternal)
C- Affiliated youth groups (educational, non-religious youth groups meeting on a regular basis throughout the school year between the end of the school day and 5:00p.m. will pay an annual fee of $50)
School Forest History
Prepared by: Don Hoehn
When the first white men came to America, we can assume that the area of Lindsey was just like the rest of the Wisconsin wilderness. Forests of giant hardwoods and conifers stretched almost endlessly, broken only by an occasional marsh, lake, or stream. Wild game of all sorts lived on the land. Indian inhabitants included the Winnebago, Chippewa, Huron, and perhaps and occasional band of Sioux. It was the timber that was to bring the first large influx of white men into working for the federal government. They surveyed the land in this area for the first time. The early 1850’s saw the first of the lumbering industries in this area when George Hiles started the George Hiles Lumber Company at Dexterville. Solomon Nason and his brother purchased several sections of land around the Nasonville area in 1856. This purchase included sections 16 and 17 on which the School Forest is now located.
Mr. Hiles continued buying timber in the Lindsey area. He eventually owned 70,000 acres. In 1883, he purchased the land of the School Forest under a land contract.
It seems that white pine was the first timber to be cut. This early logging was at the time of the famous log drives on the rivers. These drives took place in the spring of the year when the ice went out, and the logs which had been skidded out on the ice in the winter floated downstream. Dams were built on some rapids along with streams to lessen the problem of the fast water. Little Bull Falls, on the Yellow River, north of North Wood County Park once had a dam for this purpose. There were also dams on Lindsey and Barbes Creeks. As the railroads branched out into new areas, the hardwoods were cut and hauled to the rails, as they did not float as well as the pine.
One of the greatest fears of the settlers at this time was fire. In September and October of 1891, much of this part of the state was afire. Weather had been dry and the sparks from steam engines on the railroads probably started many of the fires. They burned for about ten days, but a heavy rain curbed them around October 1. One of the fires undoubtedly went through the School Forest land. There is record of a fire burning over Lindsey Bluff in 1887. This was responsible for the new growth of trees and brush in later years.
Sometime in the years from 1880 to 1900 various camps and communities sprang up along the railroad in this area. Of course, Lindsey is an example. It was, undoubtedly, the largest, and the only one remaining today.
The logging industry was gradually losing importance as the turn of the century came about. Though one cannot end the logging definitely at any one point, the early twentieth century saw the disappearance of most of the timber interests in the area. Now, the lumber magnates and colorful lumberjacks were being replaced by the farmer who wished to make a permanent home here, the plow was replacing the axe and saw.
In 1907, John D. Bowes bought the land that included the School Forest. It seems that the property of the School Forest was in his possession from the time of his purchase until he died, though this land was actually farmed by others. The types of farming crops attempted were many varied.
On the property of the School Forest there were some crops raised. According to Mr. Edwin Ketelle, a man by the name of Blakely lived there. He built a small house and barn where the old foundations just west of the driveway still are. This was about 1901 and 1902. Blakely raised good corn and hay crops.
Blakely, the first to live on the School Forest property sold out to James “Dus” Johnson, a stone mason, in 1911. Johnson farmed there, and also worked as a stone mason when he could. His wife died from tuberculosis about 1920.
In 1921, Mr. and Mrs. John Steffen and their family rented the School Forest property from Dus Johnson. The Steffen’s lived there until the fall of 1922. They raised some pretty good crops of corn, oats, and hay. The pines by the driveway were not there then. The Steffen’s found that the best crop land was about where the pines are now standing. A great disadvantage to the place was that there was no well. The stock was driven back to a spring at the foot of the bluff for water. Dus Johnson moved back to the farm for about two years, after which he held a personal property sale and moved out West. Prior to this, the house burned in about 1924. However, a nice orchard of apples and plums still remained there for many years. From that time on no one lived on the property, although it was used for grazing from time to time.
After the Steffen’s moved out and the Johnson’s stopped farming, trees took over the richer spots and grass and weeds took the rest. It seems that the sandy soil of this area “burned out” fast. Many of the trees on these abandoned farms are aspen, white birch, scrub oak and thick hazel brush. The fires also contributed to the loss of fertility, some of the fires had burned into the thick moss and peat. The last fire of any size was in about 1933. Mr. Ketelle said that this fire retarded the growth of what trees there were and only made the brush grow thicker.
After this, the land was considered to have little agricultural value until the Marshfield School District purchased the land in 1956.
The idea of acquiring a school forest originated with our students who returned from the Trees for Tomorrow camp, where they had heard of the large school forests maintained by neighboring schools. The subject was discussed at many meetings of the Student Council; and, although the Board of Education would have direct control, the council members felt that they would like to assume as much responsibility as the Board would delegate.
Mr. Bluemke and Mr. Martinson, agriculture instructors, were alerted to look for tax delinquency property that we could afford. Both the classes of 1955 and 1956 had left some money earmarked for the purchase of a suitable site.
At about the same time, a Mrs. Henry Meigs, of West Allis, wrote to Mr. Hurst, forester for the Consolidated Paper and Power Company, offering to sell 240 acres of forest land in the town of Rock. Mr. Hurst was of the opinion that it would make an excellent school forest but thought it was far too expensive for us. Mr. Raymond Anderson, biology instructor, who had a school forest experience at Nekoosa High School, was asked to cruise the acreage and when he returned he was most enthusiastic about the entire area. We contacted Mrs. Meigs, whose father, John Bowers, willed the land to her in 1949, and explained our great interest in the land owned by her and her sister. Mrs. Meigs, being a former school teacher, board member, and member of the Joint Committee on Education in Wisconsin, realized the great educational value of such a forest to a school. She sold us the 240 acres for a small amount plus back taxes.
This was quite a financial undertaking for a Student Council. However, Mr. Stauber of the Citizens National Bank came to the rescue and offered the money on a non-interest bearing note until they were able to raise the necessary funds, after the deed was completed, on October 1, 1956; the School Forest became a reality.
It soon became apparent that we should own our own access road. A Mr. and Mrs. Paul Lindner, residing in Pittsville, owned the forty acres described as the SW ¼ of the SE ¼ of Section 17. The Lindner’s were ready to sell it to us, and the purchased was made in April of 1957. The Student Council again turned the deed over to John H. Stauber, City Attorney, for processing; then it was turned over to the City Clerk.
After the land was acquired, it was realized that the actual development of the forest for outdoor educational purposes held tremendous potential. Shortly after securing the 240 acres tract of land as a school forest, the Trees for Tomorrow organization at Merrill was contracted to outline a forest management plan for this area.
In August of 1958, the concrete slab for the building was laid. By the second week of September some of the framework had gone up, but it wasn’t until the middle of November that the work began in earnest. The students worked feverishly in an effort to put the roof over the building before it snowed. The building was completed in the spring of 1959, and dedicated in the fall.
While the students did the majority of the work, they were supervised by Senior High School Industrial Arts Instructors, Marvin Schutts, Alvin Bitzer and Richard Johnson. Principal Russell Knapp, also a stone mason; built the beautiful Lannon stone fireplace. He was assisted by two student stone masons, Dave Larson and Darwin Craft.
In February, 1963 the city of Marshfield purchased the final forty acres from Gustav and Agnes Hahm. This forty is the northwest corner of the Forest property. This brought the total acreage to 320 acres.
In the late sixties a shower house and shelter- storage building were constructed under the direction of Jerry Holubets, Senior High Construction Technology Instructor. Since then many improvements have been made to the School Forest Property, among them:
Pond enlarged and improved
Construction of a pier
Road, development and improvement
Trail sign construction
Fire protection equipment
Benches around outdoor fire ring
Remodeling and updating of the lodge
Mapping of vegetation, soils and trails by Paul Herder, Junior High Science Instructor
6.5 miles of cross country ski trails
Half log siding and new roof on the lodge
Parking lot by the entrance
Since its inception the School Forest has had an ongoing Forest Management Program utilizing the resources of the DNR and the Tree Farm Program. Income from the sale of pulp through the program has funded some of the improvements such as the gravel access road through the property now known as the Hahm Trail and remodeling the outside of the lodge. Some of the more recent improvements and teacher training programs have been funded by a Weyerhauser Grant in 1990-1991.
Since the inception of the School Forest Program, four directors have headed the development and growth of the program: Raymond Anderson 1954-1957, Don Helgerson 1958-1966, Pete Kopplin 1967-1991, Larry Wisniewski 1991-2011, and Mark Zee 2011 to present.
A History of the School Forest and the Lindsey Area by Douglas Helling
A History of the School Forest Laboratory from 1956-1960, complied and written by the U.S. History classes of Mr. Robert King
Abstract of Title for the School Forest Property
Hunting Policy and Procedures
Hunting is allowed at the Marshfield School Forest under certain conditions. The 1998 Firearms Act restricts hunting on School Grounds. (see attachment) A permit must be obtained to legally hunt at the Forest.
Hunting seasons include: All legal game from the start of small game season (Early September) through all gun deer seasons ending in mid December.
Spring Turkey Season (April – May)
Obtaining a Permit:
1. Fill out a hunting permit. (Can be downloaded at this site – or pick one up at the Marshfield Board of Education Office.)
2. Hand deliver completed permit to Kathy Scheppler at the Board Office or Mark Zee at Marshfield High School. Please make certain you include your phone number and e-mail address if you have one. Please do not mail in
3. When you turn in your permit at the Board Office or High School you will be directed to an on-line calendar indicating when hunting is allowed.
4. If the hunting calendar changes, you will be called to inform you of the change. If you have the internet, you can check the hunting calendar on-line for changes.
All hunting ends in December when the last gun deer season is completed.
RULE OF THUMB - If the main gate is open – hunting is not allowed at that time!
Ski & Cross Country Trails
View/Download School Forest Trail Map (Click Here)
For current trail conditions by phone call: 715-384-8313 (The Sports Den)
For more information contact:
Marshfield Area Ski Touring Foundation (MASTF)
PO Box 842
Marshfield, WI 54449