DNR Invites Public Input on Forest Plans for Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Manistee Counties
The Department of Natural Resources will host open houses on Tuesday, June 25, and Wednesday, June 26, in Traverse City and Kalkaska to provide information and receive public comment on proposed forest management treatments for 2015 in the Traverse City management unit, which includes Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Manistee counties. The open houses are set for the following times and locations:
Tuesday, June 25, 4 to 7 p.m.
Traverse City Field Office, 970 Emerson Road, Traverse City
(will cover proposed forest treatments in Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Grand Traverse counties)
Wednesday, June 26, 4 to 7 p.m.
Kalkaska Field Office, 2089 North Birch St., Kalkaska
(will cover proposed forest treatments in Kalkaska County)
Each year, DNR personnel evaluate one-tenth of the state forest. The inventory provides key decision-making information for foresters and wildlife, fisheries and other resource managers. The age, health, quality and quantity of trees and other vegetation are assessed to enable DNR staff to make informed decisions. Timber management, wildlife and fisheries habitat, minerals, archeological sites, recreational use, wildfire potential and social concerns are just some of the topics taken into consideration during this review.
Because the forest is inventoried approximately two years in advance, a year of entry is assigned to indicate when treatments will be prepared. Information currently under review has a 2015 year of entry. This means that treatment activities on lands being reviewed this year will actually begin in 2015.
Proposed treatments, which may include timber harvesting, replanting and other management activities, are designed to ensure the sustainability of all forest resources.
Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, said these open houses are a good way for interested residents, neighbors and stakeholders to learn – well in advance – about the DNR’s proposed treatment plans and to share input toward final decisions on those treatments.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the public to weigh in on what the DNR is doing to sustainably manage Michigan’s state forest land,” said O’Neill, who also serves as state forester. “Interested folks can take a look at proposed management plans and talk face-to-face with foresters and biologists about their questions and concerns. Having active partners in the management of our state forests is crucial to meeting the recreation, economic and conservation needs of current and future generations.”
To more easily and efficiently oversee the forest resources, the DNR divides each management unit into smaller units or "compartments." This year, the compartments under review are in Platte, Inland and Weldon townships (Benzie County); Whitewater, Union and Fife Lake townships (Grand Traverse County); Clearwater, Kalkaska, Garfield, Oliver, Bear Lake, Cold Springs and Blue Lake townships (Kalkaska County); Solon Township (Leelanau County); and Cleon Township (Manistee County).
Maps and information regarding proposed treatments will be available at the open house. The information can also be found at www.michigan.gov/forestplan. Compartment review packets for the 2015 year of entry can be found by selecting the shown map and clicking on the “Traverse City” button. Records of decisions, recorded timber harvests and other treatments for past years are available on this page.
On Thursday, July 18, the DNR will complete its formal compartment review to decide on final treatment plans for these areas. That review will take place:
Thursday, July 18, 9 a.m.
Stone House, 419 S. Coral St., Kalkaska
Persons with disabilities who need accommodations for either meeting should contact Dave Lemmien, 231-922-5280, ext. 6840, a minimum of five business days before each meeting.
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