Michigan DNR invites public comment on proposed forest management plan for Pigeon River Country State Forest, hosting open house on July 31 in Vanderbilt; proposed forest health treatments include timber harvest, replanting

July 1, 2014 (press release) – The Department of Natural Resources will host an open house July 31 in Vanderbilt to provide information and receive public comment on proposed forest management treatments for 2016 in the Pigeon River Country State Forest, which includes portions of Cheboygan (southeast corner), Montmorency (northwest corner) and Otsego (northeast corner) counties. The open house will take place:

  • Thursday, July 31, 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Pigeon River Country headquarters, 9966 Twin Lakes Road, Vanderbilt
  • *See additional location information/directions at the end of this release.
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 2016 year of entry. This means that treatment activities on lands being reviewed this year will actually begin in 2016.

Proposed treatments, which may include timber harvesting, replanting and other management activities, are designed to ensure the sustainability of all forest resources.

"Open houses are a good way for interested residents, neighbors and stakeholders to learn about the DNR's proposed treatment plans and to share input with foresters and biologists before any final decisions are made," said Bill O'Neill, chief of the DNR's Forest Resources Division.

"This year we're inviting folks who might not be able to get to a meeting to share their comments via email with unit managers," he added. "When it comes to the health and sustainability of our state forests, we want the planning process to be as inclusive as possible."

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 Forest, Walker and Nunda townships (Cheboygan County); and Corwith and Charlton townships (Otsego County).

Maps and information regarding proposed treatments will be available at the open house. The information can also be found at www.michigan.gov/forestry. Compartment review packets for the 2016 year of entry can be found by selecting the shown map and clicking on the "Pigeon River Country" button. Records of decisions, recorded timber harvests and other treatments for past years are available on this page.

On Aug. 29, the DNR will complete its formal compartment review to decide on final treatment plans for these areas. That review will take place:
  • Friday, Aug. 29, 9 a.m.
  • Pigeon River Country headquarters, 9966 Twin Lakes Road, Vanderbilt*
Persons with disabilities who need accommodations for either meeting should contact Scott Whitcomb, 989-983-4101, a minimum of five business days before each meeting.

Anyone unable to attend any of the meetings may submit comments via email to Scott Whitcomb (whitcombs@michigan.gov) using the subject line "Pigeon River Country State Forest open house comment." All comments must be received at least three business days before each meeting.

For more information about the state forest planning process, visit www.michigan.gov/forestplan.

*Please note: The headquarters' address will not work when entered into GPS. Coordinates for the headquarters are 45.169742°, -84.439495°. You can also use the following directions:
  • Take 1-75 to exit 290 (this is the Vanderbilt exit).
  • Turn east onto Mill Street. This will take you into the town of Vanderbilt. Stay on Mill Street for 0.5 mile.
  • Turn left onto Main Street. There will be a sign at the intersection pointing to the left for the Pigeon River Country.
  • Main Street turns into Sturgeon Valley Road. Stay on Sturgeon Valley Road for 11 miles.
  • At the end of the pavement, turn left onto Twin Lakes Road.
  • Travel north on Twin Lakes Road for 1 mile. The headquarters will be on the left-hand side of the curve with a sign in front.

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.

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