Dick and Mary Czaja named Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year
For Hub City Times
STEVENS POINT — Dick and Mary Czaja of Pittsville have been named the 2016 Wisconsin Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year by the Wisconsin Tree Farm Program.
The 38-acre Czaja tree farm consists of oak, hickory, aspen, birch, and other hardwoods. They have owned their tree farm for 25 years.
The Czajas were nominated by Steve Grant, a forester with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who has been working with the Czajas and wrote their first plan.
Their first management plan identified mature aspen to harvest as well as improvement thinnings needed in the oak and hardwood stands. Their first timber sale was established in 1994, but they were unable to find a logger to do the harvest. Dick decided to take on the management of their property himself.
He completed the initial sale over a period of several years, cutting all designated trees by hand and hauling the merchantable wood to the roadside with his ATV.
Over the years Dick has modified his ATV with a winch and cabling system, and he has harvested over 600 cords of hardwood saw logs, pulp, and firewood in the last 25 years. The small equipment works well on the Czajas’ property, using only ATV trails for removing wood. The impact is much smaller than a commercial logging operation’s would be. Excess debris from the harvests is chipped and used to improve the trail system.
Also nominated by Grant, Dick and Mary were recognized as Tree Farmers of the Year for Wood County in 2004. Since that time, Dick and Mary have become very involved with the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association and have been spokespersons for good forestry though state meetings and by hosting field days at their property.