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DNR invites public input on forest plans for Benzie, Grand Traverse and Manistee counties
July 22, 2014 @ 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
The Department of Natural Resources will host open houses July 22 in Traverse City and July 23 in Kalkaska to provide information and receive public comment on proposed forest management treatments for 2016 in the Traverse City management unit, which includes Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau and Manistee counties.
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 Benzonia, Inland, Platte and Weldon townships (Benzie County); Fife Lake, East Bay and Whitewater townships (Grand Traverse County); Bear Lake, Boardman, Excelsior, Garfield, Kalkaska and Oliver townships (Kalkaska County); and Springdale Township (Manistee County).