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Yawkey Lumber Company receives the 2019 Land Legacy Award

October 25, 2019


Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts awarded the Yawkey Lumber Company of Oneida County the Land Legacy Award. Three members of the Yawkey family, who are also shareholders, accepted the award on the company’s behalf at the 17th annual Land Conservation Leadership Awards Celebration at the Monona Terrace in Madison on Sept. 26.

In 2018, the Yawkey Lumber Company shareholders, who are all great-grandchildren of the late Cyrus C. and Alice R. Yawkey, donated 431 acres including woodlands, wetlands, islands, wildlife habitat, and 4.4 miles of natural shoreline to the Northwoods Land Trust. The total appraised value of the property on Lake Katherine in the town of Hazelhurst, was worth an estimated $12 million, making the Yawkey Forest Preserve one of the most sizable outright gifts of land to a land trust in the state.

As a tribute to their great-grandparents who founded the Yawkey Lumber Company 125 years ago, the shareholders wanted to preserve the 23 remaining undeveloped parcels on the 590-acre lake to keep its natural scenic beauty intact for future generations. The shareholders and Northwoods Land Trust spent nearly four years working out the conservation details.

The final agreement enrolled the property’s forestland into Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law program to ensure sustainable forest stewardship practices; protected a shoreline buffer to maintain the lake’s water quality; preserved a large stand of trees to protect an old-growth-forest habitat; and provided special consideration and protection of several sensitive wildlife-habitat areas that will remain closed to the public.

Tigertail Point, a favorite destination of Alice R. Yawkey, and other areas of the Yawkey Forest Reserve are open for non-motorized public outdoor recreation including hiking, birding, snowshoeing, hunting, kayaking and fishing.

“The Yawkey Family gave the people of Wisconsin an amazing gift when they protected Lake Katherine’s iconic shoreline,” Gathering Waters’ executive director Mike Carlson said. “People who live, work and vacation in the Northwoods now have the chance to explore the natural beauty of the area and enjoy the wildlife it supports for decades to come.

Discover Wisconsin will highlight the story of the Yawkey Forest Preserve during its Wisconsin Land Trust Days episode scheduled to air in June 2020.

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