2012-09-20 / Outdoors

DNR looking for forest plan input

SHINGLETON – The Department of Natural Resources will host an open house to provide information and receive public comment on proposed forest management treatments for 2014 in the Shingleton management unit, which includes Alger, Delta and Schoolcraft counties. The open house will take place on Oct. 16, from 4-7 p.m., at the Shingleton Field Office, E1234 M-28 West in Shingleton.

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 2014 year of entry. This means that treatment activities on lands being reviewed this year will actually begin in 2014.

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. “When it comes to the health and sustainability of our state forests, we’re always thinking several years ahead,” said O’Neill, who also serves as state forester. “We like to do the open houses around the state because the public gets an opportunity to talk with foresters and biologists about issues that matter most to them. It turns out to be a valuable exchange of information and ideas.” 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 Burt and Munising townships (Alger County); Garden Township (Delta County); and Doyle, Hiawatha, Inwood, Manistique, Mueller, Seney and Thompson townships (Schoolcraft County).

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