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By treaty rights, St. Croix Chippewa Tribe of Hertel is entitled to cut logs at Crex Meadows. It cuts and splits the wood to help heat tribe member homes.

Recent visitors to Crew Meadows Wildlife Area have noticed large stacks of cut logs placed along East Refuge Road. DNR area supervisor Steve Hoffman said part of the reason for prescribed burns is to remove large trees to maintain nesting bird habitat. Much of the cut timber is dead wood still standing after one or more prescribed burns.

“When there are enough large trees to harvest, the DNR notifies the St. Croix Chippewa Tribe headquartered in Hertel,” Hoffman said. “The tribe has the right to harvest the dead wood from its ceded treaty areas.”

Hoffman said the tribe usually contracts with a logger to harvest, stack and transport the wood to its reservation, where it is cut into firewood length and split. Some of the split wood is sold to the general public, Hoffman said, and the balance is provided to tribe members to burn for winter heating. When live trees are included in the cuttings, the tribe pays for that wood just as any other cutter, Hoffman said.