Last weekend was a busy one for MUCC’s On the Ground program and volunteers. On Friday, a group of 12 volunteers removed small trees and shrubs from a 20-acre area at Inspiration Point in the Pigeon River Country State Forest to restore the area to a wildlife opening. Then, on Saturday, a group of 23 volunteers planted 300 trees in the Melstrand Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS). Both of these events were made possible by new and continuing partnerships with local chapters of national and statewide organizations such as Huron Pines AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps NCCC, the DNR, Ruffed Grouse Society, Alger County UP Whitetails, and Michigan Sharp Tail Association. Thank you to the many volunteers that dedicated their day to improve wildlife habitat on Michigan’s public lands!
Inspiration Point is a prime elk viewing location within the Pigeon River Country State Forest. MUCC’s On the Ground program partnered with the NCCC Maple 5 crew that is stationed in the PRCSF for trail maintenance on the High Country Pathway to complete this project. A few volunteers joined us for the work day as well including Walter Gumtow, Phil Morse, Ted Koyle, and Kim Offenburger. Walter has dedicated his time for six events with OTG over the past few years to improve wildlife habitat in the PRCSF, the Grayling State Forest, and Point Mouillee State Game Area! This area, in particular, is unique to each of the volunteers for various reasons; some grew up nearby while others visit often from their homes in Southern Michigan.
The work that was done in the area will restore the 20-acre section to a wildlife opening. The group of volunteers used handsaws and loppers to cut small trees and brush and applied herbicide to the stumps. Tara Beuhler, the Huron Pines AmeriCorps member serving with the Pigeon River DNR, led a crew of brush cutters to target the bulkier sections around the edge of the opening. Tara explained that there was a controlled burn in the area in the spring and we were targeting what had sprouted back up since then. This habitat work will benefit the areas elk, whitetail deer, black bear, turkey, small game and many non-game species as well. While trees were cut in this area, many trees were planted at the next project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
The Melstrand GEMS area sits just south of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore about 12 miles east of Munising. The Alger County UP Whitetails donated 150 of the 300 trees planted by volunteers with MUCC, RGS, and MSTA on Saturday. The types of tree varieties that were planted included red oak, red osier dogwood, highbush cranberry, and American hazelnut. These trees were planted in an area that was clear cut in recent years and will provide cover for the areas grouse, whitetail deer, black bear, turkey, and more. This project was organized by Jesse Zimmerman with the local chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society, the areas DNR Wildlife Biologist-Cody Norton, and DNR Wildlife Technician- Don Brown among many other volunteers. MUCC’s Vice President, George Lindquist, also contributed a lot to make this project happen and represented UP Whitetails at the event.
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MUCC's On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division