LAKE COUNTY — While looking back on 2018, Baldwin/White Cloud Forest Ranger Jake Lubera said it has been a year of accomplishments during a report he gave to the Lake County Board of Commissioners at their Nov. 27 meeting.

“This has been a banner year, we did amazing work and overcame some major hurdles,” Lubera said.

Lubera said there were 1.3 million timber receipts in the district.

“This was a lot of timber sales, which will go toward things like treasury and rural school funds, and stewardship to hire local contractors for projects, such as the Lake County Road Commission. They did great work with cleanup of 80th and 88th streets from the late summer storm,” he said.

There also has been prescribed burning and fuel treatments for 5,700 acres, and habitat improvement for 5,600 acres for wildlife savannas, which caters to the Karner blue butterfly population, he said.

For recreation improvements, the forest service worked on the Bowman Bridge boat launch in time for the recreation season, as well as Gleason’s Landing.

The ranger district also took public comment to get input on a proposed $10 fee per night at Sulak Campground, a fee which matches other federal campgrounds. Most of the public who responded was in favor of the fee, Lubera noted.

“The fees will help toward maintenance, and it would be more fair to a private campground nearby,” he added.

Another highlight was the educational “Night with a Ranger” program, with seven presentations at the ranger station during the summer.

“We are looking at scheduling ‘Night with a Ranger’ at a different time next year so it doesn’t compete with music downtown and the beautiful weather,” he said.

In the next couple of years, there will be focus on the Whalen Lake project area with wildlife management and fuel treatment of up to 12,000 acres, Lubera added.