This past weekend, volunteers with MUCC’s On the Ground program partnered with Camp Grayling, the Department of Natural Resources, and the National Wild Turkey Federation to complete a wildlife habitat improvement project in the Grayling State Forest. Ryan Boyer-District Biologist for the NWTF, Brian Piccolo- DNR Wildlife Biologist for the area and Mike Ravesi with Camp Grayling Environmental collaborated to provide the 70 crabapple trees that were planted by eight volunteers on Saturday. The trees were planted along sites selected by Ravesi; wildlife openings along the fenced off range. The goal of this project is to improve the transition of edge habitat from the tall hardwood trees to the short fern type vegetation. Planting crabapples along the edges of these openings will also provide food and cover for the areas turkey, deer, bear, and other small game as well as non-game species.
Volunteers that supported this event included Walter Gumtow from the Lewiston area, returning for his 7th OTG event since the program began in 2013, William Boulan, Walter’s neighbor that was recruited for the event, Denise Dawson- returning for her 4th OTG event- and her father, Dennis Neahusan. Camp Grayling Military Sargent Sly and his staff also supported this event by having the holes for the trees augured prior to the event. They also helped place the trees and soil amendments at each of the planting locations. The collaboration from these partner organizations and volunteers is essential to the success of this event that was funded by Camp Grayling’s Wildlife Habitat Grant with the DNR Wildlife Division.
This wildlife habitat improvement project aligns with military goals of Camp Grayling while meeting goals for the wildlife habitat management plan for the area. Camp Grayling contains 132,000 acres of land within Crawford County in which the DNR manages the surface resources. The Military has leased 53,000 of those acres from the State of Michigan for training purposes. The Military utilizes a wildlife habitat grant from the DNR to collaborate with partner organizations for projects such as this OTG event to improve habitat. A large majority of the land is open to the public for hunting, angling, and trapping- view a map of the military lands here.
This event wrapped up the OTG season for 2017, but there will be more opportunities to volunteer for wildlife starting in December! Our OTG Jr program will be filling in the gaps in the meantime with projects in the Rose Lake State Game Area and Traverse City State Forest area. Next week’s blog will highlight what volunteers with OTG and OTG Jr have accomplished this year! As always, be on the lookout for upcoming events at www.mucc.org/ontheground
MUCC’s On The Ground Program is supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division