Notice: I've taken a part-time job, and it's definitely affecting my blogging time. I'll continue to add content here as often as possible. Pertinent guest posts are always welcome.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Sweedish Settlement Area in Chequamegon Cleaned

Sweedish Settlement foundations
A house foundation at the Swedish Settlement area (photo from the National Forest Service)
from the National Forest Service Success Stories, used with permission

During the second week of May the Forest Service partnered with the North Country Trail Association (NCTA), Chequamegon Chapter, to remove trees and brush from archaeological sites along the North Country National Scenic Trail (NCT). One of many such partnership activities conducted by the NCTA and Forest Service, the project's goal was to allow hikers to more easily view the remains of a Swedish pioneer community abandoned around 1930. Thanks to the boundless energy and enthusiasm of NCTA members, the project was successful and once again demonstrates how the Forest Service's mission of protecting natural and cultural resources - and providing recreational opportunities - aligns perfectly with that of the NCTA, which is to maintain, protect and promote the NCT.

The Swedish Settlement, a vestige of a once larger agricultural community, consists of two remnant farms and a school now managed as part of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The community's history is both interesting and important in understanding the European settlement of northern Wisconsin. In the late 1800's pioneers emigrated from Sweden to northwestern Wisconsin's frontier, many choosing to settle and farm the Marengo River Valley. Marginal agricultural potential, distance from markets and ultimately the Great Depression, made their task near impossible. While many of those early settlers left farming to pursue other livelihoods, remnants of their farms are still visible and those on Forest Service land have been designated historic sites. Locations such as these are valued resources protected from illegal digging or removal of artifacts, and site locations are generally kept confidential. The location of some, like the Swedish Settlement have been disclosed to provide an opportunity for public appreciation.

The Chequamegon-Nicolet NF has developed a brochure that details the settlement's history and provides a self-guided tour. For those interested in hiking the NCT and visiting the Swedish Settlement, brochures are available at no cost at Forest Service offices in Hayward, Glidden and Park Falls.

For more information, contact Mark Bruhy, Chequamegon-Nicolet NF Archaeologist, 715-362-1361

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