Business Spotlight

Dahlke Forestry Services, LLC

When Hunter Dahlke looks at a woodland he sees a whole forest.

From moss to a 200 year old tree, the woods is a system of living vegetation, he says, and forest health depends on the big picture of how all the parts interact.

He recalls nature walks as a child with his grandmother, looking at bugs and plants along the path and turning around at a big cottonwood tree.   Those experiences ultimately set him on a course which led to an AA degree in Natural Resources and Wildland Firefighting at Minnesota North – Itasca Campus (formerly Itasca Community College) and a degree in forest management at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. 

After graduating in 2020 he explored the practical side of forestry as an intern or seasonal employee at agencies like the Forest Service or Department of Natural Resources and other private and public organizations.  He spent a fire season fighting wildfires all over the country.  Then this year he came home to start his own business.  

Dahlke Forestry Services offers a range of services from removing dead or storm damaged trees to developing trails or creating spaces that attract wildlife.  He does everything but climb the tree, he says, and for specialized equipment he doesn’t own he partners with others. He just added a stump grinder and a piece of property to begin a firewood business in the future.

But his favorite jobs start with asking the landowner what they want the end result to be on their property and looking at different ways to get there. It might be to manage the forest for future generations, or to access the woods as they grow older.  It might be to create a defensible space for wildfires or to attract a favorite animal or bird.

He gives a lot of credit to private landowners who want to learn about forest management and who ask questions on ways to improve outcomes.  For instance, the emerald ash borer is on its way, and one way to prepare for it is to cut old ash and regenerate younger trees.  On the other hand, he says, he has talked clients out of cutting a tree.

What is his favorite tree?  “I’ll get in trouble with my peers,” he laughs, but it is the basswood.  It’s a beautiful shade tree and makes a special sound in the wind, he explains.

Meanwhile, when Dahlke gets up in the morning he’s happy.  He’s where he wants to be and doing what he wants to do. He’s sharing his life with fiancée Aly, 2 labs and a spaniel and working to find ways to meet the needs of his clients.

He will take on a single tree or a whole forest.  And estimates are free.  He can be contacted at (218) 929-7228 or by email at .