Conservation group working to buy forest near upper Namekagon River

Landmark Conservancy seeks community support to purchase 218 acres of the Mt. Telemark property.




2 minute read

Telemark Forest. (Photo courtesy Landmark Conservancy)

Landmark Conservancy has signed a land contract to purchase the western 218 acres of the former Mt. Telemark property from the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF).

Landmark is an accredited land trust that conserves property across 20 counties in northwest Wisconsin. Their decision to acquire the land has been driven by community interest to protect the land from development, and a desire to conserve its ecological features including intact forest that protects groundwater resources and important wildlife habitat.

The purchase of this property aligns with Landmark’s mission to preserve the natural legacy of Wisconsin for everyone, forever. The Telemark Preserve will be open to Cable area residents and visitors for low impact uses including backcountry hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, birdwatching and wildlife viewing. The organization is actively fundraising and will pay appraised value for the land.

Map courtesy Landmark Conservancy

“Landmark is so pleased to be working with people who love the Cable area and its Northwoods beauty,” said Landmark Conservancy’s Executive Director Lindsey Ketchel. “An important part of our work is empowering local individuals to engage in conserving special land and biodiversity. The community has spoken, and we are listening.”

The mission of the ABSF is accomplished through hosting events including the American Birkebeiner ski race, maintaining premier recreation trails, and promoting healthy lifestyles. They acquired the iconic Mt. Telemark property with the goal of creating an outdoor recreation destination for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to come together and experience an active outdoor lifestyle.

“When we took on the project of rejuvenating the old Telemark property for the community, the hurdle of funding the removal of the old lodge was a central issue to resolve,” said ABSF Executive Director Ben Popp. “ABSF developed a business plan to sell a portion of the western Telemark property to help fund the lodge removal and allow ABSF to invest in its core activities. We are excited that Landmark will be purchasing this land, ensuring it will always be open to the public for outdoor recreation.”

Landmark Conservancy and American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation are also working together to put a conservation easement on the middle portion of the old Telemark property which includes numerous skiing, hiking and biking trails.

Local conservationist Patrick Delaney has been an outspoken supporter for protection of this land. He stated, “I’m so grateful to see the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation and Landmark Conservancy combining their strengths and vision! Together, with public and private support, they will protect over 500 acres of the storied Telemark Property, protecting our woods and water and sustaining healthy, active lifestyle choices. Bordered by a National Scenic Riverway and contiguous to a large tract of Bayfield and Sawyer County Forest full of trails, this is an astounding and historic win for our community!”