Leaders put spotlight on Superior gemAll of the authors of this article were members of the 2010-2011 Superior Douglas County Leadership Program and chose to do a project to increase awareness of one of Superior’s many gems —the Superior Municipal Forest.
By: By Warren Bender, William Lear, Steve Panger, Randy Jones and Lynn Williams, Superior Telegram
All of the authors of this article were members of the 2010-2011 Superior Douglas County Leadership Program and chose to do a project to increase awareness of one of Superior’s many gems —the Superior Municipal Forest.
A LITTLE HISTORY
In 1949, 4,500 acres of land was transferred to the city by the county in exchange for delinquent tax revenue. Two years later, the Common Council formally zoned this property as Forestry, and non-forestry use was prohibited.
In 1979 the first planning document for the Superior Municipal Forest was created. A decade later, the forest was rezoned suburban. In 1992 the Municipal Forest Protection Charter Ordinance was passed by referendum with 60 percent of the voters in favor of protecting the third largest urban forest in the nation.
In 1995, the Superior Municipal Forest Plan was written and a year later, the City Council entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to designate approximately 60 percent of the Superior Municipal Forest as Dwight’s Point and Pokegama Wetlands State Natural Area.
In 2010, the Superior Municipal Forest Master Plan Study suggested improvements to the site including bike traffic, Pokegama Overlook, and collaboration with the Lake Superior Natural Estuarine Research Reserve partners to develop an Environmental Learning Center.
Current usage of the Superior Municipal Forest includes snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle trails, cross country ski trails, snowshoeing and mountain bike trails, hiking, the Millennium trail — 1.6 miles of hard surface trail that features an outdoor classroom with educational trail packs for student education — watercraft landing, archery range, hunting, fishing, Bio Blitz — an intense period of biological surveying to record all the living species within an area — and other research, wild rice harvesting, and bird watching.
In an effort to increase awareness of the forest, our leadership group focused on directional signs to guide people to the forest and signs to indicate the borders of the forest. Watch for the signs sometime this summer. Our Douglas County GIS specialist, Randy Jones, has been working to upgrade maps of the Superior Municipal Forest.
Our leadership class, in collaboration the Superior Firefighters Union IAFF Local 74, is planning a Spring Clean Up scheduled for Saturday. The public is encouraged to participate. Meet at the Superior Fire Department Headquarters on Tower Avenue at 9 a.m. Coffee, juice and donuts will be provided as well as garbage bags and gloves.
We, the members of the Superior Douglas County Leadership Superior Municipal Forest team, hope that these efforts will encourage people to take advantage of this beautiful gem, the third largest urban forest in the nation.
Visit http://www.ci.superior.wi.us to learn more about the Superior Municipal Forest.