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PAGE23MAZINAx19IGANWINTER20122013GATHERINGVeteranboughersgodeepintothewoodsforChristmasprofitsRedCliffWis.x14WhenBayfielddonsitsfestivegarbofgarlandsandwreathsfortheChristmasseasonholidayshopperscanthanktheeffortsofaveteranbough-pickingteamfromthenearbyRedCliffreservation.PickersLarryx1cJRx1dDeragonJr.MartyDuffyandTammyDuffyhavebough-pickingdowntoascienceafternineteenyearsinthewoodsgatheringbalsamboughsandmakingprofitsfortheirownChristmasgiving.Backpackingtonsofcarefullypickedboughsoutofregionalforeststhisteamx19sproductsaresoughtafterbylocalcraftsmenaswellasbuyerswhoshipoutnationwide.InfactyoumayseetheirboughscraftedintowreathsatsuchstoresasWalmartandKmart.Itx19stakennineteenyearstodevelopareputationthatbuyerscandependon.Thatmeansbuyersknowtheywillgetqualityboughspickedtotheirspecificationsandtheyknowthattheteamwillhavethemwhenneeded.Makingboughgatheringprofitablerequiressomeexpertise.Foronebuyerswantboughspickedabout18x1d-23x1dlongorasDeragonmeasuresaboutanarmx19slength.Theyalsowantthethicknessofthetwigtobeslightlylessthanabeginnerx19spencil.Thatthick-nessisstillflexiblebutproduceslesswasteastheboughsareshapedintogarlandorChristmaswreaths.Andimportantlyyouhavetopicksonottodamagethetreewhichwouldalsodamagefutureboughavailability.Obviouslybalsamgathersalsoneedtoknowlocationsofbalsamstands.ThisRedCliffteampicksundertribalUSForestServiceFSandcountypermitssohasawide-rangingterritoryforgathering.PermitsfromtheFSaregrantedunderaMemorandumofUnderstandingbetweentheFSandmostGLIFWCmembertribes.x1cWerotateallowingfornewgrowthx1dDeragonexplains.x1cNowwearegoingbacktoareaswepickedfifteenyearsago.x1dTheteamisalsomethodicalwhentheybegingatheringoftentimesgoingdeepintothewoodsahalf-a-miletoonemile.Theysweepthesitebacktotheentrypointgather-ingandbundlingalongtheway.x1cWeworkwiththewholestandanddevelopamethodinadvancex1dDeragonsaysx1candwecanusuallyestimateifitx19satwoorthree-dayjob.x1dOnlythesnappingofsmallbranchesandrustleofleavesandtwigsunderfootbreakthesilenceastheteamfocusesonthework.x1cItx19sconstantwork.Weneverstoppicking.Wedonx19tevenbringwaterinbecausewedonx19thavetime.Ifwedostoppickingwex19rehaulingtheboughsoutonourbacksx1470to80poundsperbundle.x1dSomedaystheypickbundleandtruckfromdusktodawn.x1cIfwearehaulingwedonx19tlookup.Youjustpushforwardlookingdownandkeepgoing.x1dButtheworkdoesnx19tendthere.Transportationtothebuyerisnextandthatcanbenearorfar.Thisyearpricesarerangingaround20-23centsperpoundandtheteamhassoldlocallyaswellastoabuyerinIronRiver.Transporttakestimeandgasmoneyaswellassometrickystackingastheirtrailerisloadedwithoverathousandpoundsofboughs.Likeotherhaulerstheyhavetoabidebyweightrestrictionsbuteventhenget-tingthepileofboughsstackedtothemaxandsecuredisatrickinitself.ProblemshavebeenencounteredovertheyearsDeragonrelateslikethetimethetrailertippedoveronitssideorflattireepisodeswhiletransportingaloadx14allpartofalearningexperience.Othertricksofthetradehavebeenadoptedalongthewaylikebundlingandtyinginauniquemanner.Thisallowsbuyerstoidentifystolenboughbundlesiftheyarriveattheirplaces.ThishashappenedtoDeragonwhokeepsreadiedbundlesbyhishomepriortotransport.x1cIwokeuponemorningtofindaboutfifteenbundlesmissingfrommyyardx1dherelates.Consideringthehoursandeffortentailedingatheringboughsthiscanbedevastatinghowevertheyhavebeenabletosuccessfullytrackdownsomethieves.Forthemostpartboughershaveacertainsenseofbrotherhoodinthewoodsandtherex19salsoacertaincompetitivenessaccordingtoDeragon.Whileeverybodyislookingforthegoodspotsifsomeonerunsintodifficultysuchasaflattireotherboughpickersaresuretohelp.Theyalsooccasionallyexpandtheteamtoincludeotherfamilymemberswhomaybeinneedofsomeextradollars.x1cWhateverwedowedoitasateamanddividetheprofitsevenlyx1dsaysDeragon.x1cThisteamisaconscientiousteamx1dsaysRedCliffConservationOfficerMarkDuffy.x1cTheydonx19tleavetrashtheydonx19tdamagethetreestheyhavealltheirpermitsandtheyarehelpfultoothers.x1dSincetheirworktakesthemdeepintothewoodstheyalsomakesurethatsomebodyelseknowswheretheyareincasetheyrunintotrouble.Atleastsomeonewouldknowwheretolookiftheydonx19tcomehome.Troublewithabrokendownvehicleisonethingbutdeepinthewoodsyoucanalsoencounterotherproblemslikeinjuriesoraruninwiththelocalwildlife.Deragonhasbeenshotathasplayedpeek-a-boowithafewbearsoutthereashemovesbalsambranchesasidehex19ssteppedonaslumberingbearandoncewascircledbyapackoftimberwolvesatSandRiver.Sotroublecanhappenandcautionisneeded.TheseasonstartsaroundOctober1andcontinuesforaboutfivetosixweeks.De-ragonseestheseasonasgettingshorterandwarmer.x1cUsedtobewewouldbeouttherethigh-deepinsnow.Nowthereisnosnow.x1dButoncetheseasonendstheteamdoesnx19tquit.Theyareouttherescoutingforthenextyearx19sspotslayingthegroundworkmakingsuretheyknowwheretogowhenthefirstofOctobercomesroundonceagain.Inthemeantimetheymayalsogatherbirchpolesorwillow.Currentlybirchpolesaregoingforasmuchas5.00perfour-footpoleandtheseasonrunsfromAugustthroughApril.Gatheringbirchpolesmayfollowaloggingcutbackinabirchstandsothegatherscancomeinandtaketheby-product.Whateverisbeinggatheredtheprocessturnsthegatherersintoleanmeanworkinx19machines.Deragonsaysthelocalphysicianhasnoticedthatbalsamgathersloseabout20to25poundsduringtheseasonx14anopportunitytomakesomebucksenjoynatureandshedafewpoundsBySueEricksonStaffWriterKeshenaWis.x14FollowingauthorizationbytheUSFishServiceonOctober1theMenomineeNationbecamethefirsttribeintheUnitedStateswithinternationalexportauthorityforthevaluablenativeplantginseng.x1cThisisagreatexampleofasuccessfulpartnershipandithelpsstreamlinefederalregula-tionsx1dsaidJohnWelkeWisconsinDepartmentofNaturalResourcescommercialenforcementcoordinator.x1cLawenforcementauthoritiesthroughoutthestatearebecomingveryawareofthisplant.x1dThemovex14whichaffirmstribalsover-eigntyx14comesasnaturalresourceofficialsworktostemthetideofwildginsengtheftfromforestsacrossWisconsinandotherstatesinMiddleAmerica.Fromprivatewoodlotstolargenationalforestscriminalswithlittlemorethanabackpackandaneyeforsuitablehabitatarelookingtocashinonaworldwidemarketdemandforginseng.Consumerslooktotheplantx19srootforhealthandphysicalperformancebenefits.DemandforginsenginAsiancountriesisnotablyontheriseandbuyersarewillingtopaytopdollar.x1cAnumberoffactorsgointothewholesalepriceofginseng.Howgoodisthequalityisitfreshandgreenorhasisbeendriedx1dWelkesaid.Threepoundsoffreshginsengrootyieldsaboutonedrypoundworthupto600.x1cThequalityofginsenginWisconsinisamongthehighestintheworld.Anytimethereishighcommercialvaluepeoplearegoingtotakeadvantageofit.x1dJoiningthosestatesthathostwildginsengpopulationsMenomineeofficialswilluseauthorityvestedinConventiononInternationalTradeinEn-dangeredSpeciesofWildFaunaandFlorax14commonlyknowasCITESx14toregulateandverifylegalginsengharvest.CITESprovidesprotectionsfornaturalresourcesworldwidethathaveahighpotentialforexploitation.InthecaseofwildginsengCITESregulatorspromotesustainabilityandmustdem-onstratethattheharvestandexportoftheplantdoesnotharmtheresource.x1cGinsengisverymuchsusceptibletooverharvestandtheunsustainableharvestthatisoccurringx1dsaidAlexandraWrobelGLIFWCwildplantecologist.Illegalharvesterstypicallydonothavetheplantx19sbestinterestinmindpo-tentiallycausingirreversibledamagetothespecies.x1cItx19simportanttofollowsustainableharvestguidelinesforthefuturebenefitofginsengaswellasotherplantspecies.x1dOnlymatureplantswiththreeormoreleafprongsmaybedugduringtheharvestseasonwhichrunsSeptember1toNovember1inWisconsin.CITESregulationsprohibittheharvestandsaleofyoungginsengrootsundersixyearsold.WoodlandsfromLowerMichiganx19s1836cededterri-torywestthroughWisconsinandintotheMinnesota1837territoryhostsmallscatteredginsengpopulations.Theplantgrowslowontheforestfloorandisdistinguishedbygreenish-whiteflowersandredberries.Whereharvestseasonsexistapermitisrequiredtodigwildginseng.IntheOjibwelanguageginsengiscalledjiisens.ApowerfulmedicinejiisensisofspecialimportancetotraditionalOjibwehealers.StateandfederalofficialsarecurrentlyexploringginsengCITESauthorityforGLIFWCenforcementofficers.TodateGLIFWCalreadyexercisesCITESpowersforthebobcatandriverotter.TheDNRx19sWelkeencouragesanyonewitnessingsuspiciousactivityx14whetherinprivateorpublicwood-landsx14tocontactauthoritiesbyphone800-TIP-WDNRoremaille.hotline.wisconsin.gov.MenomineetribejoinsefforttopreventginsengexploitationByCharlieOttoRasmussenStaffWriterLoadingupLarryx1cJRx1dDeragonaRedCliffmemberandveteranbough-gathererplanstoaddmoreboughstothisstackofbundledboughsbeforecashingin.RedCliffx19sMartyandTammyDuffyjoinDeragontomakeupateamthathasbeengatheringboughsfornineteenyears.photobySueEricksonGinseng.