- Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society (RGS|AWS) staff are engaged in review of an exciting proposal to reinvigorate aspen management on the Huron-Manistee National Forests
- Comments may be submitted on the proposal by Feb 5, 2020
- RGS|AWS public comments are included for members and supporters that may wish to provide substantive input of their own
- We encourage comments to request consideration for additional, responsible forest treatments
The Ruffed Grouse Society and American Woodcock Society (RGS|AWS) have been engaged in discussions with United States Forest Service (USFS) staff regarding the need to address the decline in aspen harvest within the Huron-Manistee National Forests (HMNF) in Michigan. We are pleased that USFS is now accepting public comments on their Zone Aspen Project Scoping Document that outlines considerable improvements to HMNF aspen management. RGS|AWS supports the responsible management of our nation’s vast forest system and the HMNF Zone Aspen Project seeks to fulfill objectives that are true to the core principles at RGS|AWS.
The HMNF have seen a decline in aspen harvest over the past few decades. This has led to an imbalance in the age structure of aspen stands that negatively affects habitat critical for ruffed grouse, American woodcock, and other forest wildlife, including areas on the Potential Grouse Habitat Maps provided under the “Wildlife Maps – Manistee” heading here. A well-organized overview of how USFS is seeking to remedy this negative impact through the Zone Aspen Project is available by viewing this ArcGIS Story Map.
The Zone Aspen Project Scoping Document proposes up to 29,500 acres of aspen management to occur in the Baldwin-White Cloud and Cadillac-Manistee Ranger Districts over the next 15 years (with up to 4,000 acres treated in some individual years) to create age class diversity and promote young forest habitat on the Manistee. RGS|AWS staff have submitted formal comments that members and supporters might build off of to submit comments of their own. We believe this project creates the potential to significantly impact declining young forest dependent wildlife, bellwethers of forest and ecosystem health; however, our sole objection is to question whether the amount and age class proposed for rotation will be adequate to meet the Forest Plan objectives. We hope and expect future scoping will occur to delineate additional needed management, but encourage advocates for healthy forests similarly request consideration for additional, responsible forest treatments.
USFS will accept comments submitted by Feb 5, 2020 through these avenues:
firstname.lastname@example.org (please put “comments on the Zone Aspen Project” in the subject line).
Submit your comments to Mark Herberger, Cadillac/Manistee Ranger District, 412 Red Apple Rd, Manistee, MI 49660.
231-723-8642 (please put “comments on the Zone Aspen Project” in the subject line).
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday (except Federal holidays) at either of the following locations:
Cadillac/Manistee Ranger Station, 412 Red Apple Rd, Manistee, MI 49660
Baldwin/White Cloud Ranger Station, 650 Michigan Ave, Baldwin, MI 49304