People traveling by Robert Ney Memorial Park in the
area surrounding CSAH 8 and 73rd Avenue NW in Maple Lake Township and
see downed trees and trucks and trailers moving around the property might think
there is a small logging operation going on.
There isn’t any lumberjacking going on. It is part of
a Wright County Parks and Recreation Department project to create an atmosphere conducive to
bird and waterfowl production. Parks and Recreation Director Marc Mattice said that the
project impacts a relatively large area and required that the trees be removed.
“We are working to do a habitat restoration project in
conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Jane Goodall Environmental
Sciences Academy on 16½ acres,” Mattice said. “We are removing undesirable tree
species and preparing to re-establish a native prairie restoration for this
Mattice explained that those familiar with the area might
be surprised at the sudden change in the landscape in the restoration area and
not know why it happened. He felt the public should be informed that the
removal of the trees is necessary for the wetland to serve its purpose for birds
and insects alike.
“The concern we have is that people will see the work that
has been done and wonder why we’re removing the trees around this wetland,” Mattice
said. “The reason to remove the trees was to tie the wetland in with the prairie.
It will provide better nesting habitat for songbirds and waterfowl and it will
be filled with native forbs (flowers). The will create pollinator habitat as
The trees that were taken down were given to nearby
residents who heat their homes with wood.
Mattice said the timeline won’t kick back in once the
brush and debris have been removed over the next week or so until March or
April, depending on how long snow remains. At that point, the project will be completed.
“In the spring, we will do a controlled burn of the
grass, get the seed bed cleaned up and we will plant it in the spring,” Mattice