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State Forest Timber Sales

Wisconsin's state forests are renewable resources that provide high quality timber while offering many additional benefits, such as wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. To facilitate timber harvests on state forests, the state allows both logging companies and individuals to bid on timber sales. Sales are subsequently awarded to the logging company or individual with the highest bid. An outline of the process appears below.

General state forest timber sale process

  1. State foresters look at stand history and the current status of stands to determine which are ready for harvest.
  2. Foresters check the data to make certain the records for each stand coincide with what is on the ground.
  3. The next step is to plan the timber sales. This includes determining which trees will be cut, which will be left and which follow-up treatment will be required, such as site preparation or tree planting.
  4. Foresters give the plans to DNR resource managers in wildlife, fisheries, water quality and endangered resources to review.
  5. After considering all comments, foresters determine both the stand boundaries and the trees to be harvested. They also estimate harvest volume.
  6. This information is incorporated into a timber sale notice form and the property manager and supervisor approves or rejects the timber sales.
  7. Next, a notice is placed in newspapers and a mailing is sent to all parties interested in bidding on the sales.
  8. Bids are taken on each tract by species. The forester accepts the highest bids under specified conditions and writes a contract for each sale.
  9. During and after the harvesting process, each site is inspected to make sure the logger or logging company has met all contractual obligations.

Money generated from timber sales does not remain with the state forests, but is put into a general forestry account for the State of Wisconsin. This account supports forest management activities such as fire control, nursery operations, forest health initiatives and many others.

More details about the establishment of timber sales on the state forests area available in the Timber Sale Handbook [PDF].

Individual state forest timber sale programs

The timber sale processes on individual state forests may differ from the general process outlined above, as well as from forest to forest. To learn about the timber sale programs of individual state forests, including the details of current timber sale packages (when available), visit the state forests page.