Well Iíve been lurking here for about 4-5 years. Time to share!
Please pull up a chair and your favorite beverage this is a bit long but worth the read.
We bought 40 acres in Northern Wisconsin back in 2006. We wanted to build a place for weekend getaways and a hunting cabin. We bought near the town where my dad grew up. I spent a lot of time on the family fox ranch as a kid that my grandparents use to run. They raised mink & fox for the pelts the 30ís and 40ís. Itís no longer a working ranch but my 86 year old uncle still lives there.
Several of my cousins bought property in the area for hunting over the years. We bought the property from one my cousins. He needed the cash. Then the problems started.
We found out thru the DNR that the property was mostly wetlands and they were not going to let us build anything on it. The DNR agent was not very helpful. His standard line was, ďIím not going to tell you what you can do, Iím only going to tell you what you canít do.Ē Great customer service! And my taxes pay this guyís wages. Then he told me to find another piece of property to build on! I was furious!
The property had an old barn foundation from the turn of the century. The foundation was located 100 ft off the road in a field. The old driveway and culvert were gone. Aerials showed the barn and some other buildings in the 20ís and 30ís. When I showed these to the DNR agent his response was,ď I donít care what it was, itís a wetland now and your not touching it.Ē
Well with lots of investigating and talking to lawyers and reading thru books and books of wetland codes and landownerís rights we found out that the DNR had to give me vehicle access to the property. We also found out that the old barn foundation was NOT a wetland and that we could build on it.
To make a long story short the DNR agreed to let us build on the old foundation site which is only 20x24 feet. They also authorized ($350 permit fee) a culvert and a parking pad right off the road large enough for two cars. Basically 20x 25 ft. However they would NOT authorize a drive way to the building site. They would also NOT authorize a pit toilet either. I was told to get a metro unit and park it on the parking pad (Yeah and the local kids would have had a field day tipping it over every chance they got.). I also could not have a well because I would then have to have septic. And the DNR would not authorize any digging.
This is the parking pad with the culvert.
So two years ago I had the parking pad and culvert installed. Then I had to put up gates to keep people from dumping garbage and the kids using it as a place to park with their girl friends. Nothing like showing up with your family and finding beer bottles and condoms laying all over. We also have bear hunters that think the can park and hunt anywhere their dogs chase the bears. So the gates had to go up.
Truck(cousins truck, I drive a Toyota Tundra) with old telephone poles that I purchased from my uncle who still lives on the old family fox ranch.
Me dumping in bags of ready mix. We hand dug the holes to almost 6 ft with the post hole digger.
My cousin hanging the cattle gates.
We were off with our measurements. We had measured another gate that had different hinge hardware.
So the gates don't completely come together in the middle. I had wanted a 6 inch gap but ended up with a bit more.
Both gates hung and chained.
No trespassing sign hung. It's a bit of a problem in this area.
When I bought the property my cousin included two old Farmall Tractors. I have a Farmall H and a Farmall M.(They are a total blast by the way.) We hook up a 6 ft wide mower deck and mow all the trails. We make it a guyís weekend prior to the opening of bow season.
Me on my Farmall M. Some day I'd like to restore it.
I use the tractor with the 6 ft mower deck to mow the field around the old foundation. Boy's and their toys!
It's pretty fun until it gets stuck. There are a couple of hole from when the back hoe came out and checked to see how
deep the top soil was. When it rains and in the spring it's pretty wet.
So last July I had the old foundation removed. My cousins, new a local logger with a back hoe and a dump truck. So he removed the old foundation and hauled it away for $400. A pretty good deal. I then covered the site with gravel. My concern was that the DNR would come by and tell me that it was now a wetland without the old foundation in place. Then they would not let me build. I had photos of the foundation removal but they are on my old phone and I have not been able to retrieve them yet.
I found out that barns at the turn of the century were fairly small. Farmers could survive off of 6-10 cows. Nothing like the barns & farms of today. We knew the foundation was from a barn because it had a gutter down the middle.
Part of the old foundation.
This was what was left after the foundation was removed. With the grass mowed you get a better idea of what I was dealing with.
This image show the old foundation location in relation to the road. About a 100ft off the road.
My Toyota is parked on my parking pad just off the road.