Erickson named Tree Farmer of the Year
The Wally Erickson family was named Pierce County Tree Farmer of the Year during the fair Friday morning.
The Erickson tree farm is comprised of 80 acres in the Town of Diamond Bluff between CTHs O and K.
According to County Forester Gary Zielske who made the presentation, the property consists of a variety of forest types including oak, central hardwoods, walnut/white pine plantation, and red and white pine plantations.
“The family’s objectives are to maintain a variety of tree species, produce hardwood and softwood saw timber and pulpwood, provide habitat for wildlife, and provide for outdoor recreation,” Zielske said.
Wally purchased the property from his father in 1963 and has seen over 91,000 trees planted since then, all by hand.
“Much of the area planted consisted of former agricultural field and pasture on droughty, sandy, eroded river terraces,” Zielske said. “Some areas required replanting or interplanting multiple times to successfully establish trees.”
Zielske noted Erickson completed two commercial timber harvests since 1963, with a third harvest scheduled to be done next winter. In addition, the Ericksons were 2011 first place winners in the “Generations” category of the Stihl Tree Farm photo contest.
Erickson was born and raised in Pierce County, and worked for SB Foot Tannery in Red Wing for 46 years. He and his wife Darlene, who died in 2000, had six children--Kim, Mike, Theresa, Kevin, Wally and Lisa. The children now run the tree farm, with Wally still planting trees, when needed.
“Their family has shown a strong long-term commitment to sustainable forest management,” Zielske said.