WEEKLY BRIEFING FOR THE CHEQUAMEGON-NICOLET NATIONAL
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2003
Welcome to the new web version
of the Chequamegon-Nicolet weekly briefing!
Many residents fled to the river as a refuge from the
firestorm (click on picture for a larger image)
1. REMEMBERING THE PESHTIGO FIRE
On October 8, 1871, the worst fire in American history occurred in the
Peshtigo area in Wisconsin. A fire with hurricane force winds consumed
more than 1 million acres of farms, forests, sawmills, and small towns
of Wisconsin and upper Michigan. In its path of destruction, an estimated
1,500 people lost their lives. Although surface winds measured elsewhere
in the area blew at 15 to 40 miles per hour, the firestorm produced its
own winds estimated to have been as high as 80 miles per hour. The firestorm
became a great convective, self-feeding monster increasing in intensity
as it drew both oxygen and wood to fuel the conflagration into its maw.
Hurricane-force winds ripped the roofs off houses, blew over barns, uprooted
trees, and tossed 1,000 pound wagons like tumbleweeds.
Only a trace of precipitation fell on the area between July and October
1871. Drought in vast timberlands dried up the ponds, bogs and creeks
causing normal swampy areas to become dry beds of clay. The abnormally
dry forest provided some benefits for settlers at the time. The opportunity
to clear more land and step up the lumber harvest did not go to waste.
With the lumbering practices of the time wasting 1/4 of the tree during
harvest, large piles of sawdust and waste built up through the forest.
Other towns impacted by the fire were Oconto, Pensaukee, New Franken,
Little Suamico, Marinette, and Menominee (Michigan ).
The greatest concentration of death on the Green Bay Peninsula occured
at Williamsonville, a hamlet five or six miles from Little Sturgeon Bay.
Williamsonville was also struck by a fire tornado and 60 of its 77 inhabitants
perished that fateful night.
The Peshtigo blaze lead to new forest management programs by the federal
government. Less wasteful harvesting techniques were implemented to prevent
future large scale destruction of forests. New fire policies on fighting
and prevention developed in the area due to the Peshtigo blaze.
The area burned was east of the Nicolet side of the forest.
2. LADIES AND GENTLEMENT, THE BEETLES
the only orange and yellow things you'll see in the Northwoods this time
of the year. The Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle is back on the scene,
seeking a warm place to hang out. The beetles
are variable in appearance. They can
be any color from a pale yellow-orange to a deep orange-red, and have
from none to more than 20 black spots. These prolific insects can live
up to three years. For several days in the autumn they can be found covering
homes, decks, and garages. While they pose no threat to animals, people,
or vegetation, they become a nuisance by crawling into homes through openings
such as un-caulked window frames and doors.
The best way to prevent beetles from becoming uninvited guests is to seal
cracks around windows, doors, siding, utility pipes or other openings
with a good quality caulk. Beetles that make their way indoors can be
removed with a vacuum cleaner or swept up with a broom and deposited outside.
Killing them with insecticides or squashing them may result in orange
stains on walls and fabric. The lady beetle secretes a harmless but staining
orange substance when stressed. They also can bite on occassion and they
smell bad! For more information, visit the Wisconsin's Department of Natural
Resources article on the Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (scroll down the
page and click on the photo of the beetle) at:
4. DID YOU KNOW? ANOTHER FACTOID
ABOUT THE USDA - FOREST SERVICE. . .
The Forest Service established America's first wilderness area.
"Wilderness is a resource which can shrink but not grow,"
said Aldo Leopold, an early wilderness advocate. In the 1920's, Leopold
was a forest ranger on the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. He saw
the wild, open backcountry fas disappearing and wanted to protect what
remained. In 1924, the Forest Service responded by establishing the Gila
Wilderness, jumpstarting the wilderness movement. By the time of the 1964
Wilderness Act, the Forest Service had already designated 9 million acres
as wilderness. Today, the agency manages some 35 million acres of designated
wilderness, a third of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The
Forest Service also maintains more than 50 million acres of wild backcountry,
including vast tracts of old-growth forest. America's wildland heritage
is an invaluable treasure, one that the Forest Service will forever protect.
To find out about wilderness areas on the Chequamegon-Nicolet, visit or
THIS WEEK'S "SPECIAL PLACE"
Perkinstown Motorized Trail
LOCATION: Near Medford, WI (Directions below)
This 20-mile motorized trail, developed for ATVs and motorcycles (snowmobiles
in winter), is ideal for visitors of all ages, riding abilities, and experience
levels. The trail system is highlighted by rolling terrain, wooden bridges
and a variety of woodlands and wetlands. A great variety of wildlife and
vegetation can be found along the trail. The vegetation changes from low
marsh anreas and beaver ponds to forested uplands of hemlock, hardwoods
and red pine plantations.
Directions - Highway 64 Trailhead - From Medford drive west on
State Highway 64 for 14 miles. The parking area is on the right (north)
side of the road.
Directions - Chippewa Campground Boat Landing Parking - From Medford
drive north on State Highway 13 for 4.5 miles to County Highway M. Turn
left (west) and drive 19.5 miles to Forest Road 1417. Turn left (south)
and drive 1 mile to the Chippewa
Campground entrance. Follow the signs to the boat landing.
QUESTIONS? Contact Cathy Fox, 715-362-1362 or email: