Menominee Nation’s Sustainable Forestry Sets the Floor for the Final Four

Not only will Wisconsin be on the basketball court for the 2014 NCAA Final Four playoffs, Wisconsin will BE the court. Just as in the 2005 and 2012 Final Four, the wood for this year’s court comes from the tribal lands of Wisconsin’s Menominee Nation.

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Maple from the Menominee Nation has been used to construct NCAA Final Four courts in 2005, 2012 (shown here) and 2014. Photo courtesy of Jack Gruber, USA TODAY.

As “one of the premier foresters in the country,” the Menominee Nation is well known for demonstrating the values and practices of sustainable forest management.

The Dallas Morning News describes how the foresters of Memoninee Tribal Enterprises (MTE) have heeded the centuries-old advice of Chief Oshkosh to “take only the mature trees, the sick trees, and the trees that have fallen” in order to see that “the trees will last forever.” The tribe has actively managed the same forest for thousands of years.

The Center for First Americans Forestlands brings together tribal, federal, and local groups for research, education, policy analysis, and technical assistance. It is a partnership between the College of Menominee Nation and the U.S. Forest Service, including the Forest Products LaboratoryNorthern Research StationEastern Region of the National Forest System, and Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.

The Kansas City Star reports that MTE supplies Northern hardwood maple for the court and that it takes approximately 30 trees to create a new basketball floor. The NCAA pays about $90,000 for the floor, taking about six weeks “from sawmill to tip-off.”

And – speaking of tip-off – Go Badgers!