As I looked out on Groundhog day this Tuesday, no groundhogs saw their shadow’s near West Bend.  However, February 2, 2021 was not much different than any other day over the past eleven months.  We’ve all spent most of our days quarantined in our homes, speaking with friends and families via the computer or at an appropriate distance behind masks.  The occasional walk or hike at the conservancy helps to break up the week, but it’s just not the same.  Some events however, have happened at Lac Lawrann, our Winter Luminary was a great success and our Snowshoe Friday’s (thanks to Courtney our Naturalist ) have seen quite a large group of regulars out to enjoy winter on the trails. We also have a Snowshoe Saturday coming upon on Feb. 20, so any volunteers to help out for that event would be appreciated.

We also have several trails at Lac Lawrann that are groomed for cross country skiing.  Those trails are on the eastern side of the conservancy merging with trails in Royal Oaks Park.  And a reminder here, if you are out at the conservancy and  hike the trails that are groomed, please walk to the side of the groomed portion of the trail, there is room for all.

I managed last week to get out and snowshoe in the pine plantation to check on the completion of the timber harvest.  The logger (JT Forest Products)  has finished his work and the harvested wood has been sold for paper pulp and lumber.  Proceeds from the lumber sale will now be used to continue to remove invasive plants and restore the 7 plus acres.  The restoration will take some time, at least 5 to 7 years of work lay ahead of us.  Grinding of the slash ( branches etc.) left over from the harvest and any repair work needed on the trails will be the first step .  that will begin as soon as the snow melts.  The next phase will be determined by how much work will need to be done to control the invasive buckthorn, Russian olive and garlic mustard. Planting of trees, maples, burr oak and white oak will be next, followed by some prairie seeding.  The start of planting, either this spring or spring 2022 will be determined by the amount of work to be done to control the invasives, so watch here for more information as we make our assessments and determine the best plan to move forward.

I would encourage you to get out and see the area and watch the progress.  We are documenting all the work with videos, drone flyovers and photos that will be posted on our website and social media.  The few I have included here give an idea how things are going.  Rather fortuitously in one of the photos I managed to capture sun dogs late that afternoon.  According to many traditions, including Native American, sun dogs are a sign of good luck.  They are also said to be a sign of an impending storm and we received 6 inches of snow at Lac Lawrann 36 hours later!  So stay safe and we’ll see you at a safe distance on the trails.

Paul De Chant
Friends of Lac Lawrann Conservancy