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Updated 06/02/21

 

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So why are those trees being cut down? It's part of good forest management

A tree cutting machine sits in the center of a clearing surrounded by piled-up logs and slash -- branches and other debris -- on the ground.

02JUN21-Visitors to the Grayling area this summer will notice some spots in the woods where trees have been cut down on state-managed land near trails and roadways.

The clearcuts may be unsightly for a few seasons, but they�re an important part of the process the Michigan Department of Natural Resources uses to manage 3.9 million acres of state forest and keep forests thriving well into the future.

We cut trees for a lot of different reasons. It's part of good forest management. It can be for the health of the forest, to provide wildlife habitat, or to regenerate stands that are aging, said Steve Milford, manager of the Eastern Lower Peninsula District of the DNRs Forest Resources Division. Trees being cleared by timber harvesters in that area include jack pine, red pine and hardwoods such as oak.

Cutting may remove trees more susceptible to disease and open views along trails 

Cutting trees has helped clear a view along the trail all the way to Higgins Lake. Clearcuts also take place for other purposes. For example, jack pines in the area are strategically cut to maintain nesting sites for the Kirtland's warbler, a once-endangered songbird that will nest only on the ground under the shelter of young, shrub-like jack pine trees.

Another clearcut area that will be noticeable is within the historic Higgins Lake State Forest Nursery, which is the beginning of the North Higgins Lake State Park hiking trail system. The seed bed grounds, which are state park lands managed as a museum by the Michigan History Center, were overgrown with invasive black locust trees. When the nursery started operating in 1903, there were fewer trees on the landscape because much of northern Michigan had been clearcut for lumber. The nursery produced millions of seedlings to reforest large portions of the state.

Forest habitats change over time, said Kristen Bennett, acting statewide trails coordinator for the DNRs Parks and Recreation Division. Over the course of 10 or 20 years, your favorite trail or camping site may have changed in small or big ways.

"Resource management decisions consider a variety of factors in the level of action to take. At times, the action is to monitor and let the natural process work. At other times, there is intensive management through cutting and replanting. The DNR divisions work closely together to make sure that forest health and recreation are both considered in the process.

The areas that have been cut will remain managed forest land and are not being cleared for development. The forest is intended to be replanted or undergo natural generation from nearby seed trees.

DNR is certified in sustainable forest practices 

The DNR is certified by two independent agencies that promote sound forest management. In addition, public input is always welcome. You can find an interactive state forest map and learn more about state forest management plans at Michigan.gov/ForestManagement. Comment periods are open through the summer for management plans including cutting, prescribed burning and more to be carried out in 2023.

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Go Cicada Hunting for Brood X!

brood x cicada02JUN21-Looking for something a little different? If you want to spend time outdoors but aren't sure about fighting the Up North traffic, consider heading the other direction in search of a once-in-a-generation spectacle from Mother Nature instead!

The warmer nights are enticing a group of 17-year cicadas  named Brood X  to come out of the ground and look for a mate. Some of these mysterious insects already have emerged in the Ann Arbor area (the states expected epicenter), and numbers statewide likely will peak around mid-June.

Cicadas are not dangerous, but they are big and loud. Go to our wildlife viewing: cicadas page for more information on where to find them and how you can play an important role in cicada science.

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Plan A Birding Trip to Michigan's GEMS

GEMS02JUN21-Springtime in northern Michigan is bursting with colorful flora and fauna. To spot the vibrant plumage of an American redstart, golden-winged warbler or indigo bunting, plan a trip to one of Michigan�s 19 Grouse Enhanced Management Sites! 

GEMS are areas of public land that are managed for wildlife habitat and recreation. While these areas are primarily used for upland game bird hunting in the fall, they provide excellent birding and wildlife viewing locations in the spring and summer. Equipped with accessible walking trails, parking lots and site maps, GEMS can be navigated by explorers of all types. 

Spend a day exploring or plan a multiday road trip and book a campsite along your travel route. Visit the GEMS information kiosk and snap a picture of the map before your hike. Read about the versatile ways habitat is managed at the site and the wildlife species that thrive there. Once you�ve packed your binoculars, water and sunblock, you�re ready to go.  

To prepare for your trip, visit Michigan.gov/Birding to refresh your bird identification skills, learn about respectful birding habits and see other nearby birding locations.

There are thousands of acres of GEMS waiting to be explored. Find locations and site descriptions at Michigan.gov/GEMS.

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

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MDHHS Recommends Avoiding Foam on Lakes and Rivers

02JUN21-As the summer months approach, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is issuing its annual recommendation that Michiganders should avoid contact with foam they may see on Michigan waterbodies such as lakes, rivers and streams.

The foam may have unknown chemicals or bacteria in it, so it is recommended to avoid contact. Foam can form on any waterbody, but foam on some waterbodies may have high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS-containing foam tends to be bright white in color, is often lightweight and may pile up like shaving cream on shorelines or blow onto beaches.

Naturally occurring foam without PFAS tends to pile up in bays, eddies or at river barriers such as dams. Naturally occurring foam is typically off-white and/or brown in color and often has an earthy or fishy scent.

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Share Your Thoughts with the DNR at Upcoming Meetings

02JUN21-The Department of Natural Resources is committed to providing Michigan residents the opportunity to share input and ideas on policy decisions, programs and other aspects of natural resource management and outdoor recreation opportunities.

One important avenue for this input is at meetings of the public bodies that advise the DNR and, in some cases, also set policies for natural resource management. Frequently check the DNR boards, commissions, committees and councils webpage for updates.

The links below will take you to the webpage for each group, where you will find specific location or virtual and teleconference meeting information. When finalized, meeting agendas also will be available here. Please check these pages frequently, as meeting details (such as a change to in person rather than virtual) and agendas may change and sometimes meetings are canceled.

June meetings

Opportunity to serve

  • The Off-Road Vehicle Advisory Workgroup, which assists the Michigan Trails Advisory Council, is seeking interested candidates to fill a vacant seat. The new member will offer advice related to the creation, development, operation and maintenance of the designated off-road trail system. For more information or to apply, call or email Anna Centofanti at 517-331-6219.

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Great Lakes Frontage, Acres of Forest, Prime Residential Lots These and More DNR Surplus Lands Available at Online Auction

view from the shore of a 2-plus-acre land parcel on Torch Lake with 200 feet of lake frontage, blue sky and clouds 02JUN21-Keeping your eyes open for the right piece of Michigan property? Dont miss the current auctions of surplus public land from the Department of Natural Resources.
After careful consideration of properties it manages on behalf of Michigan residents, the DNR has selected 10 that are much better suited for private ownership. The department is preparing these surplus properties in Antrim, Baraga, Benzie, Berrien, Delta, Gogebic, Midland and Oakland counties for sale via online auctions open now through June 15th and 16th.
Scott Goeman, DNR Real Estate Services manager, said that while these properties no longer fit the departments goals of efficient management and broad access to public outdoor recreation opportunities, they could fit nicely into potential bidders' future plans.
We are responsible for more than 4.6 million acres of public lands, and we regularly review those lands to evaluate how well they fit with our overall management strategy, said Goeman. Sometimes, it becomes clear that, due to a number of factors for example, if a parcel is landlocked by private property, isolated from other DNR-managed land or doesnt support optimum outdoor recreation opportunities it makes more sense to remove that parcel from our management.
Just because some properties are no longer right for the DNR, though, doesnt mean they wont be perfect for private ownership, Goeman said. These 10 properties available at auction right now offer a variety of landscape and natural features lake frontage, river access and mature forests, for example that should appeal to many different buyers.
The parcels fall into three main categories: waterfront properties, larger-acreage properties and a few under an acre in size.

Waterfront properties

Antrim County: 2-plus acres with 200 feet of frontage on the western shore of Torch Lake.

Baraga County: An abandoned church parcel (just under an acre), near LAnse, with 225 feet of frontage on Lake Superior.

Delta County: South of Escanaba, a forested 2-acre property offers frontage along the western bank of the Ford River, about a half-mile upstream from Lake Michigan.

Room to roam

Anyone with dreams of a personal forest sanctuary in either the western Upper Peninsula or the heart of mid-Michigan might consider two of the auctions biggest parcels:
Gogebic County: A full 40 acres near Watersmeet.

Midland County: A 60-acre Sanford property surrounded by private landowners.

Those looking for a bit less acreage that still offers a lot of space to explore outdoors can check out these options:
Benzie County: Two separate, forested properties 20 acres in Benzonia Township and 13 acres in Lake Township.

Berrien County: In the southwestern Lower Peninsula along Red Arrow Highway, a forested 12.5-acre property in
Lake Township, surrounded by private land.

Smaller gems

The saying good things come in small packages could easily apply to the auctions final two properties prime residential parcels each under an acre:
Delta County: A 0.6-acre property along Lake Shore Drive, in Escanaba, with views of Lake Michigan south of town.

Oakland County: A vacant, buildable lot almost a half-acre in size abutting a local county park in Groveland Township.

How the auctions work

The DNR is partnering with Sheridan Realty & Auction Co. to offer the properties through individual public auctions. Bidding on all properties is underway now, and people can continue to place bids until the end of each propertys assigned time listing on either June 15 (for Lower Peninsula properties) or June 16 (for Upper Peninsula properties).

Bidding for each property will close at the following dates/times:

June 15th
11 a.m. Torch Lake property, Antrim County
Noon Lake Township and Benzonia Township properties, Benzie County
1 p.m. Groveland Township property, Oakland County
2 p.m. Sanford property, Midland County
3 p.m. Lake Township property, Berrien County
June 16th
11 a.m. L'Anse property, Baraga County
Noon Watersmeet property, Gogebic County
1 p.m. Ford River property, Delta County
2 p.m. Lakes Shore Drive property, Delta County

Throughout the auction, everyone will be able to see the current high bid for each property.
Visit sheridanauctionservice.com to get more information about the online auctions. Anyone wishing to bid on a property must create a bidding account through the Sheridan site.
Full property details, including each parcels legal description, acreage and location information, is available through the Michigan.gov/LandForSale webpage. Interested bidders are encouraged to review the DNRs terms and conditions for land sales and auctions.

For more information about the sale of surplus, state-managed public land, contact Michael Michalek, resource specialist in the DNR's Real Estate Section, at 517-331-8387. Auction proceeds will help provide future outdoor recreation opportunities in keeping with the DNRs mission to conserve, protect and manage the states natural and cultural resources for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.
DNR public land management
Much of the land offered in these auctions is isolated from other DNR-managed properties, which can create some challenges to efficient management. Other parcels are included because they offer limited public recreation benefits.
Public auctions are one way the DNR achieves the results of its routine review of public land ownership. The department is now conducting a comprehensive statewide review of DNR-managed public lands as part of the implementation of the 2013 Managed Public Land Strategy. Staff will evaluate 240,000 acres, county by county, on how well they support the DNRs mission, and then recommend classification into one of four categories: retain in DNR ownership, offer to unit of government or conservation organization, offer for land exchange, or dispose (via auction).
Recommendations for the first 10 counties (Alpena, Berrien, Branch, Cass, Charlevoix, Chippewa, Dickinson, Gogebic, Leelanau and St. Joseph) under review are available at Michigan.gov/PublicLands under State Land Review. Public comments on the recommendations will be accepted until July 14, with final decision by the DNR director expected at the July 15th Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting.

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Hot Tip For Travelers: Leave Firewood At Home

oak wilt Hoffmaster state park02JUN21-Wherever your travels may take you this summer, you can make more room for your favorite recreational gear, your pet or even an extra friend by choosing to leave firewood at home.  Moving firewood when you camp, hunt or head out for a weekend getaway means you risk carrying tree-killing insects and diseases inside the firewood. Bugs can crawl out, infesting trees and carrying diseases that can forever change the landscape of the places you love.
Much like the emerald ash borer which spread across the state in the early 2000s, killing many of Michigan's 700 million ash trees invasive oak wilt, beech bark disease and hemlock woolly adelgid are threatening tree species that are critical components of our forests and landscapes, said Robin Rosenbaum, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Plant Health Section manager.
According to MDARD, there are 140 pests and diseases that can be moved with firewood. Some are already present in Michigan, while others, including Asian long-horned beetle, beech leaf disease and spotted lanternfly, are infesting nearby states.
On their own, these insects and diseases cant travel very far, but they can travel hundreds of miles on firewood, said Sue Tangora, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forest Health and Cooperative Programs Section supervisor. Trees cut for firewood often died due to insects or disease. Why risk carrying oak wilt to your cabin or beech bark disease to your favorite camping spot?

Keep the fire burning

bundle of firewood with USDA certification stampYou can still have a roaring campfire, or a cozy night in front of the fireplace, if you just know how to burn safe.
Wood that looks clean and healthy can still have tiny insect eggs or microscopic fungi spores that can start a new and deadly infestation. Always leave your backyard firewood at home, even if you think it looks fine.
Buy firewood near where you will burn it a good rule of thumb is only using wood that was cut within 50 miles of where youll have your fire.
Use FirewoodScout.org to find a firewood vendor near your destination. With over 350 Michigan listings, you can comparison shop before you arrive.
Certified, heat-treated firewood is safe to move long distances. Look for a federal stamp or seal on the package, and keep the firewood in the original packaging if entering a campground that requires heat-treated wood.
Aged or seasoned wood is still not safe. Just because it is dry doesnt mean its clean. A recent study showed insects continued to emerge from firewood even three years after it had been cut.
If you buy firewood and dont burn it all, dont bring it home or to your next destination.
Tell your friends not to bring wood with them everyone needs to know they should not move firewood.

Know before you go

Buy where you burnFirewood policies vary greatly among the national parks, national forests, private campgrounds and other lands in Michigan. Call ahead or visit DontMoveFirewood.org for more information.
In state parks, the DNR requests visitors purchase certified, heat-treated firewood sold in the parks or at some local stores and roadside stands.
For cross-country travels, be mindful of state and federal quarantines that may prohibit the movement of firewood or certain wood products. The Nature Conservancy provides information on rules for U.S. states, Canadian provinces and Mexico at DontMoveFirewood.org/Map.

Find out more

Learn about the variety of tools, including explosives, used to control invasive insects and diseases to keep the forest ecosystem intact and ensure you have a great recreation experience. Register for the webinar at Michigan.gov/EGLEEvents under Featured Webinar Series.
Information on invasive tree pests and diseases of concern in Michigan can be found at Michigan.gov/Invasives.

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DNR Notes:

Aggressive animals

In those instances where there is an aggressive wild animal, particularly animals such as geese, swans, turkeys, deer and bears, landowners should get in touch with the nearest DNR Customer Service Center to let the local DNR staff know about the issue.  As each situation is unique, staff will first assess the problem and then determine the appropriate action based on the species and location.  
Landowners can contact one of the nuisance wildlife control permittees for assistance with removal of species such as coyotes, fox, raccoons, opossums and skunks.

Specially permitted nuisance control companies can be hired to assist landowners with goose control programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services also offers removal assistance, such as nest destruction and relocation permits.

DNR Customer Service Centers

  • Baraga - 906-353-6651
  • Bay City - 989-684-9141
  • Cadillac - 231-775-9727
  • Detroit - 313-396-6890
  • Escanaba - 906-786-2351
  • Gaylord - 989-732-3541
  • Lansing - 517-284-4720
  • Marquette - 906-228-6561
  • Newberry - 906-293-5131
  • Plainwell - 269-685-6851
  • Roscommon - 989-275-5151
  • Sault Ste. Marie - 906-635-6161
  • Traverse City - 231-922-5280

DNR Field Offices

  • Crystal Falls - 906-875-6622
  • Gwinn - 906-346-9201
  • Naubinway - 906-477-6048
  • Norway - 906-563-9247

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Tired of the mad dash to get a good camping spot at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore at Little Beaver Lake Campground, Twelve Mile Campground, or Hurricane River Campground?  These campgrounds now require reservations, after years of a "first come, first served" policy. Since visitation has nearly doubled in the last few years during the summer months reservations can now be made at recreation.gov.

 

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

DNR Public News is published here as a courtesy and does not represent the views or intent of the ownership of Carroll Broadcasting.

Copyright © 2021-22 Carroll Broadcasting, Inc., All rights reserved.

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