Managing the Wilderness

Public input needed on state forest planning

ISHPEMING — The public is being asked for their ideas on planning Michigan’s 4 million acres of state forestland to keep them healthy and thriving.

That’s why the Michigan Department of Natural Resources finalizes plans for each forest management unit about two years in advance of when any management activities such as prescribed burns, timber harvests or tree thinning will take place.

This summer and fall, forest management recommendations for 2020 are being presented at open houses within those forest management units, giving people the opportunity to speak with foresters, wildlife biologists and other resource professionals.

A local open house for the Gwinn Forest Management Unit is scheduled for 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 26 at the DNR’s Ishpeming Field Office, located at 1985 U.S. 41 West in Ishpeming Township.

“The open house is a chance for the public to come in and see what we’re proposing to do starting next Oct. 1,” said Tom Seablom, Gwinn unit manager.

A crew of tree planters installs pine seedlings to diversify tree species as part of the recent Dead River Storage Basin project in Marquette County. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources funded most of the project through its Wildlife Habitat Grant Program, with the grant recipient, Green Timber Consulting Foresters Inc., of Pelkie, managing the project on behalf of the Dead River Campers Inc. Improving forests is a purpose of upcoming DNR meetings on state forest land, with public input sought. (Photo courtesy of the DNR)

The focus, he said, will involve the timber harvest maintenance of wildlife habitat openings in the unit, which encompasses about 285,000 acres and has aspen as the predominant tree species.

An inventory of about 10 percent is conducted every year, Seablom said.

Other upcoming open houses include:

≤ Sault Ste. Marie Forest Management Unit — Tuesday in Naubinway and Wednesday in Kincheloe;

≤ Crystal Falls Forest Management Unit — Oct. 3 in Crystal Falls;

≤ Shingleton Forest Management Unit — Oct. 4 in Shingleton;

≤ Newberry Forest Management Unit — Oct. 16 in Newberry; and

≤ Grayling Forest Management Unit — Oct. 17 in Grayling.

An open house for the Roscommon Forest Management Unit was to have taken place Wednesday in downstate Roscommon.

About a month after each forest management unit’s open house, a public compartment review meeting also will take place. That’s where the foresters will present their final decisions on management activities for that unit.

The meeting for the Gwinn Forest Management Unit is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Oct. 17 at Ishpeming Township Hall, 1575 U.S. 41 West.

Other compartment review meetings coming up include:

≤ Roscommon Forest Management Unit — Sept. 27 in Roscommon;

≤ Sault Ste. Marie Forest Management Unit — Oct. 2 in Naubinway;

≤ Shingleton Forest Management Unit — Oct. 23 in Shingleton;

≤ Crystal Falls Forest Management Unit — Oct. 25 in Crystal Falls;

≤ Newberry Forest Management Unit — Oct. 30 in Newberry; and

≤ Grayling Forest Management Unit — Nov. 8 in Grayling.

For more information, including a link to the interactive forest map showing details of forest management activities, and the forest open house and compartment review schedules, visit the public input section of the DNR’s michigan.gov/forestry webpage.

That webpage notes the DNR manages forests in a variety of ways: harvesting trees, planting trees, conducting prescribed burns and more. Methods are chosen based on what foresters want to achieve in a particular area.

For example, staff might clear cut several acres of aspen to provide a fresh food source for grouse, or they might burn an area to get rid of invasive species that are taking over that spot.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

COMMENTS