Volunteers with MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program completed the second phase of an elk habitat maintenance project in the Pigeon River Country State Forest last weekend. The first phase of this project was completed in mid-May. The four-acre opening has now been cleared of encroaching timber and will be ready to be disked and planted next year after one more on the ground project in the spring of 2017. This project will involve removing any large branches and trunk sections left behind under the fern cover that is currently too thick to see through. There are many more wildlife habitat improvement opportunities coming up as well!
This Sunday, July 31st, from 9am-2pm volunteers will be improving rabbit habitat in the Rose Lake State Game Area by building large brush piles. Non-native black locust trees will be cut down to use for the bases of these brush piles. We will be joined by a few of the MSU Glassen Scholars for this project along with volunteers local to the area. After putting in a few hours of work moving tree trunks and enjoying lunch provided by MUCC, there will be an opportunity to check out the Rose Lake Shooting Range. I’m looking forward to shooting my S&W .357mag and my .17 HMR as well; why not take advantage of the opportunities available on public land!?
Next weekend, on Sunday, August 7th, from 10am-4pm we will be hosting a unique habitat project in the Grayling State Forest. This project will involve pruning dead branched from apple trees at the King Orchard in the Grayling State Forest. Volunteers will meet at Charlie’s Country Corner truck stop located off of I-75 exit 251, 5800 Nelson A Miles Parkway, Grayling, MI 49738. The project site is a historic apple orchard within the state forest that provides essential soft mast to the areas wildlife including whitetail deer, black bear, elk, small game, and birds. We will be collaborating with the local chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Ruffed Grouse Society.
On Saturday, August 13th from 9am-2pm, volunteers will be meeting at the Barry State Game Area to build brush piles for rabbitat. The project area needs removal of the invasive black locust tree, so we will be cutting the locust trees and stacking them into large brush piles in the edges of the field. These brush piles will provide cover for cottontail rabbits as well as other small game species. This will be the first on the ground project in Barry County and the area is great for running beagles. I also witnessed a few successful spring turkey harvests with the Learn to Hunt program hosted at in the area in May!
In the U.P. region, on Saturday, August 27th, volunteers will be meeting in the Shingleton State Forest Area from 10am-3pm to plant trees in the Garden Rd GEMS area. GEMS areas are Grouse Enhanced Management Sites. We will be planting a variety of trees that provide cover for grouse habitat. Four varieties we will be planting include ninebark, American mountain ash, American Hazelnut, and highbush cranberry. This particular GEMS area is the largest in the region, totaling over 7,000 acres!
See details for these events and other upcoming wildlife habitat improvement events at www.mucc.org/ontheground and RSVP to volunteer for wildlife! #weareconservation