As summertime is in full swing here in Michigan, keep these wildlife habitat improvement events in mind this summer as a way to give back to the public lands we all enjoy with our families and friends. I can't help but notice the boats, bikes, and RV's taking over the highways as I travel to various regions of the state. I'm glad to see so many people taking advantage of the recreation Michigan has to offer. I also have been out fishing small lakes and rivers, kayaking, hiking, and jumping in the almost too refreshing waters of the Great Lakes when I get a chance. However, not everybody is as careful as they should be about leaving public lands better than they found them. After seeing a humbling display of fireworks this 4th of July with hundreds of other people, I was quickly dis-humbled as many of those other people so easily walked away from the trash and empty cans they made the effort to carry in to the park in the first place. Coming up this month, there are a few events to help leave popular access sites on the Manistee River and the Clinton River better than we found them.
On Saturday, July 9th we will be partnering with the Metro-West Steelheaders and Steelhead Manifesto to remove trash and debris from a section of the Manistee River. Volunteers will meet at the High Bridge Access Site on N High Bridge Rd at 9AM. This is a popular river for anglers to catch steelhead, brown trout, and coho salmon. See more details and RSVP here to join us for a day to help keep it clean! Last year, over 70 volunteers took part in removing enough trash and debris to fill a U-Haul utility trailer. If you can't make it to this one, we'll be on the Clinton River the following weekend.
On Saturday, July 16th at 9AM we will be meeting at Yates Park to clean up this popular section of the Clinton River. Teaming up with the Metro West Steelheaders and the Clinton River Watershed Council (CRWC), we have removed ~700lbs of trash and debris from this location in the past two years. Removing this trash and debris opens up fish passage barriers to their spawning sites. This year, the Yates Cider Mill has very generously offered to donate dozens of donuts for volunteers at this event; don't miss out! See more details and RSVP here to help clean up the Clinton River.
A few new habitat projects are lined up for the month of August. One of which will take place in the Grayling State Forest on August 7th in a historic orchard spanning 300 acres within the forest. Although, this doesn't look like your typical apple orchard as the state land has not been managed as an orchard for many years, but as a benefit to wildlife instead. However, the existing apple trees withing the forest produce soft mast for many wildlife species including whitetail deer, black bear, elk, small game and birds. These trees need pruning to reach their full potential; see more details and RSVP here.
Also coming up in August will be a rabbitat project in the Barry State Game Area and a tree planting project in the Upper Peninsula's Shingleton State Forest in a Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS) area. At each habitat project, tools, safety equipment, food and water, and a free T-shirt are provided for all volunteers. Keep up with future wildlife habitat projects here. With projects targeting each region of the state, all you need to do is show up...I hope to see you out on the water or in the woods this summer!