History of the Trees Retreat
In 1947, Francis F. Schweinler, publisher of The Mosinee Times, invite members of the Wisconsin Press Association (forerunner of the WNA) to visit Trees For Tomorrow campus in Eagle River, a rustic camp and natural resources school.
Decision to Purchase Land
During the 1956 outing, Wisconsin publishers decide to purchase land nearby and transform it into an outdoor study area for teachers, school children and others to learn about nature and ecology.
Acquisition of the Press Forest
After collecting donations from the WPA members, a 78-acre farm was purchased south of Eagle River. Trees For Tomorrow, a nonprofit in Eagle River whose mission was to reforest northern Wisconsin and educate residents about sustainability, agreed to manage the land in exchange for the opportunity to use it as an outdoor classroom.
A forest transformed
Work began to transform the abandoned fields, which were no longer suitable for agriculture, right away. By 1962, publishers had machine-planted 25,000 trees and students attending TFT programs had hand-planted 4,800.
In 1962, a Memorial Pylon was erected in the Memorial Grove area of the Press Forest to display the names of the deceased. The original pylon was built in the form of a 20-foot scroll, supported on the south end by a gigantic pencil.
When the first pulp cutting operations were conducted in 1966, the forest was home to 50,000 trees.
Pylon moves, gets a redesign
The pylon was redesigned and moved from the Press Forest to the Trees For Tomorrow campus in 1980, where the names of deceased member publishers were printed on press plates and hung from wooden structures.
A more permanent monument
Over time, the names began to fade and in 2014, a more permanent monument was erected. Five granite pylons and several benches now provide visitors a place to reflect — an effort made possible by contributions to the WNA Foundation.