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Trees part of heritage for award-winning Spring Lake, Wis., farm family

TOWN OF SPRING LAKE, Wis. -- Through the front window of the Duane and Julie Kuesel home, a visitor notices some beautiful scenery, made even more appealing by the house's high vantage point.

The Kuesels live along the border of Pierce and Dunn counties, and Duane Kuesel mentioned Thursday the view is of land in the county opposite the one where they reside.

"We look at Dunn County," he said, noting just down CTH P they own property in that county, too.

A prominent feature of the surrounding countryside is the trees. For their care of the woodlands on their parcels, they'll be presented a forestry award during the Pierce County Land Conservation banquet next month.

Kuesel said he isn't a publicity seeker, so the attention related to the award has been somewhat disconcerting. He appeared to be humbled.

"One thing that makes it easier is because most of our land has long been in our family," he said.

Having called the farm his home all of his life, he's the third generation of Kuesels represented there, he said. The trees on their place have been important to all three, he told.

His grandfather, Ernest, had a sugar bush atop one of the farm's hills, he said. As a youngster, he remembered helping tap the trees and cook the sap in two large pans, without the availability of an evaporator.

"The syrup was good, but it was a lot of work," he said.

Still, his granddad was more into clearing than syrup-making, he recalled. His father, Otto, relied on the foresters from the two counties for advice about managing the 65 wooded acres on the 120-acre home farm. There's more woodland on the 200 acres across the road in Dunn.

Read more in the print version of the Pierce County Herald Feb. 13.