On The Ground Starts its 6th Season at Allegan SGA

MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program, known as On The Ground (OTG), is at the start of its 6th year of wildlife habitat improvement projects in collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division.  Coming up on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017, volunteers will be continuing and Aspen regeneration project in the Allegan State Game Areas Fennville Farm Unit. For the past 5 years through a total of 7 projects in the Allegan SGA, volunteers have been cutting aging aspen trees in several stands to allow regeneration of young aspen. This site has been showing great regeneration from opening areas up by felling selected trees to allow more sunlight to hit the undergrowth. This project will be coordinated with the areas new DNR Wildlife Biologist, Don Poppe, and the DNR Wildlife Technician, Mike Richardson.

The Southwest regions DNR Wildlife Biologist, Mark Mills, along with DNR Wildlife Technician, Mike Richardson, have been more than supportive of the past projects in the Southwest region State Game Areas including Allegan SGA, Fulton SGA, and Gourdneck SGA. Volunteer turnout in this area ranges from 15-25 volunteers at a project including MUCC members, college students, local public land users of all kinds, Boy Scout groups, and people just wanting to get outside for the day.

The Allegan State Game Area always strikes me as a unique public land area and I have had several opportunities to improve its various habitat types. The Michigan DNR created the Allegan SGA in 1964 by combining the Allegan State Forest, the Swan Creek Wildlife Experiment Station, and the Fennville State Game Area. Comprised of 50,000 acres, the game area is located in the oak and pine dominated sandy lake plain ecosystem of west-central Allegan County between Allegan and Fennville, about 10 miles east of Lake Michigan.

The uniqueness of this area is not limited to its habitat types, but also its history. “The Department of Natural Resources reintroduced wild turkeys into the state in 1954 on the Allegan State Game Area. In November of 1965, after the establishment of a stable flock, the first modern-day Michigan season for wild turkeys was held. Hunting for turkeys now takes place each year.” Thank you, Allegan SGA for our Spring and Fall turkey hunts!

  • There are plenty of other fish and game species at Allegan SGA; providing a variety of hunting and angling opportunities. Waterfowl hunters have an opportunity to hunt geese at the Fennville Farm Unit, three miles south of Fennville. Waterfowl hunting is also available in the Bravo Unit, the Highbanks Unit, the Ottawa and Koopman Marshes, along the Kalamazoo River, and along Swan and Bear creeks.
  • The small game season offers pheasant, rabbit, and woodcock hunting at the Farm Unit and ruffed grouse, squirrel, and woodcock hunting on the remainder of the Game Area. Deer may be taken during the southern Michigan firearm, muzzleloading, and archery seasons. Raccoons are abundant throughout the lowland forest.

If you would like to get involved with this project or a future event, please RSVP to stopp@mucc.org or 517-346-6493 to volunteer for wildlife habitat at the Allegan State Game Area! Two extra chainsaws along with PPE will be available for volunteers with adequate experience. There are other tasks aside from felling and cutting trees as well. Safety equipment, food and water will be provided for all volunteers- lunch will be provided after the work around 2 pm. Other upcoming OTG events will be posted regularly at www.mucc.org/on-the-ground

MUCC’s On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division

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