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DNR Invites Public Input on Forest Plans for Chippewa and Mackinac Counties – September 9 & September 10

The Department of Natural Resources will host open houses on Tuesday, Sept. 9, in Naubinway and Wednesday, Sept. 10, in Kincheloe to provide information and receive public comment on proposed forest management treatments for 2016 in the Sault Ste. Marie management unit, which includes Chippewa and Mackinac counties. The open houses are set for:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 9, 3 to 6 p.m.
    DNR Naubinway Field Office, 11569 U.S. Highway 2, Naubinway
  • Wednesday, Sept. 10, 3 to 6 p.m.
    Kinross Township Hall, 4884 W. Curtis St., Kincheloe

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.Towering beech tree

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 Bay Mills, Bruce, Detour, Drummond, Pickford, Raber and Superior townships (Chippewa County); and Hendricks, Hudson, Garfield and Newton townships (Mackinac County).

In addition to review of these compartments, the DNR’s Wildlife Division will be seeking public input regarding Grouse Enhanced Management Systems (GEMS) in Mackinac and Chippewa counties. The GEMS are 1,000 to 7,000 acres in size and will be managed primarily for aspen with a shortened rotation age (40 years versus the standard 60 years) to provide walk-in access ruffed grouse hunting areas across the Upper and northern Lower peninsulas. Proposed management plans for the Strickler GEM in Mackinac County and the Drummond Island GEM in Chippewa County will be available for review at the open house.

Maps and information regarding proposed treatments will be available at the open house. The information can also be found at Compartment review packets for the 2016 year of entry can be found by selecting the shown map and clicking on the “Sault Ste. Marie” button. Records of decisions, recorded timber harvests and other treatments for past years are available on this page.

On Thursday, Oct. 2, the DNR will complete its formal compartment review to decide on final treatment plans for these areas. That review will take place:

  • Thursday, Oct. 2, 9 a.m.
    Top of the Lakes Snowmobile Museum, W11660 U.S. Highway 2, Naubinway

Persons with disabilities who need accommodations for either meeting should contact Matt Edison, 906-477-6048, ext. 2060, a minimum of five business days before each meeting.

Anyone unable to attend either meeting may submit comments via email to Matt Edison ( using the subject line “Sault Ste. Marie 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

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