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Greenway
August 14th, 2008, 09:25 PM
August 13, 2008

The meeting was held at the Ralph A McMullen conference center in Roscommon on August 12, 2008. Shaker and I attended the pre meeting meet and greet where we talked with a few DNR Foresters and Wildlife guys.

The primary purpose for the meeting was to lay out the preliminary planned vegetation management treatments to various areas throughout the state. Road closures and redesignations were not part of this meeting. Although not part of this meeting, DNR personnel were willing to answer any questions we had during the informal meet and greet prior to the actual meeting.

We asked them what the usual reasons for road closure were. They responded that environmental damage from people driving off the trails, especially on hillsides was a biggie. Illegal dumping on spur trails is another. The thing that really surprised me was that they sometimes close roads because THEY donít need them for anything. Apparently effective fire suppression used to require a road every quarter section (1/4 mile square) but now they only need roads every mile or so. They are under a lot of pressure from environmental groups and adjacent landowners to reduce access to the forests and hear very little public comment advocating continued or improved access to the woods. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. They win Ė we lose.

When asked what the best avenue to discuss keeping the roads open, they stated that the Forest Management Unit open houses were the best place for that. The groups that historically attend these meetings are Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, Turkey Hunters, Equestrian groups, Grouse Hunters, MUCC, CCC, Snowmobilers, and timber companies. We need to send a local (to the area) GLFWDA member to each meeting to develop a relationship with the local DNR managers. The list of open houses can be found here:

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/2010YOE-OpenHouseSchedule_232130_7.pdf

Please plan to attend at least one of these or more if possible. Take someone with you that knows the area. The next one is in Roscommon on Sep 10, 2008. Shaker is going to try to make it. The more the merrier.

Other meetings they recommend we attend are the local Compartment Reviews. There are Compartment Review Packets and a lot of other planning information available online here:

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-30301_30505_31025---,00.html

Other items we discussed were the unavailability of GIS data to aid us in understanding their plans and property boundaries. There are good printed data available but itís usually in the Compartment Review Packets and by then itís difficult to change the plan at that time.

Other than the ATV educational materials, the DNR appears to have little teaching material available to instruct young drivers how not to damage the forests. The USFS may have more.

The thing I really want to emphasize is they repeatedly asked us to fill out comment forms so our desires can become a matter of record and they can be considered in formulating current and future plans. Letís hope thatís not just lip service.

DDS4X4
August 14th, 2008, 09:39 PM
EXCELLENT info!
THANKS for attending!

WhiteRhino
August 14th, 2008, 09:43 PM
EXCELLENT info!
THANKS for attending!

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