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DNR welcomes public input on state forest management plans

LANSING — The state of Michigan responsibly manages 3.9 million acres of state forest land using such techniques as timber harvests, tree thinning, planting and prescribed burns to keep forests thriving and healthy.

To make the work more efficient and easier to oversee, the DNR divides those millions of acres into 15 forest management units, which are further divided into compartments. Those are blocks of land generally 1 to 3 square miles (600 to 1,800 acres) in size.

Management activity in each forest management unit is finalized two years in advance, and each compartment is formally reviewed once every 10 years. This summer and fall, recommendations for 2023 are being presented.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 open houses were held in a virtual format, with monthlong comment periods. At this time, open houses planned for 2021 will be virtual as well, with input invited by email, phone or mail during the designated time frame. This gives people the opportunity to offer input to foresters, wildlife biologists and other DNR professionals regarding forest plans.

“Our open house and compartment review meetings are an easy, informative way to learn about what’s happening in state forests and what actions are being proposed to keep these lands thriving,” said Jeff Stampfly, DNR Forest Resources Division chief. “If you care about state forest lands in your area, we want to hear from you.”

After the end of each comment period, a public compartment review meeting will take place, where foresters present the DNR’s final decisions on management activities. The DNR reviews 10% of the state forest annually. That equates to about 400,000 acres or roughly 220 compartments.

For more information, including a link to the interactive forest map showing details of all forest management activities, visit the public input section of the DNR’s Michigan.gov/Forestry webpage.

Here’s a list of comment periods and compartment reviews by date. Contact the area unit manager to make arrangements to view the compartment review meeting online or listen over the phone.

Baraga: Comments April 20-May 20; compartment review is June 10. Contact Brad Carlson, 906-201-4688.

Sault Ste. Marie: Comments Aug. 16-Sept. 15; compartment review is Oct. 5. Contact Karen Rodock, 906-875-1039.

Gwinn: Comments Aug. 22-Sept. 21; compartment review is Oct. 12. Contact Kristen Matson, 906-346-9201.

Shingleton: Comments Aug. 31-Sept. 30; compartment review is Oct. 14. Contact Bob Burnham, 906-420-1645.

Newberry: Comments Sept. 14-Oct. 14; compartment review is Oct. 26. Keith Magnusson, 906-291-0120.

Escanaba: Comments July 11-Aug. 10; compartment review is Aug. 31. Eric Thompson, 906-786-2354, ext. 142.

Crystal Falls: Comment period Aug. 17-Sept. 16; compartment review is Oct. 28. Dan McNamee, 906-875-6622.

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