Timber Harvesting in Michigan

Anyone have any idea how it works insofar as when they cut through/around part of an ORV trail? Do they clear cut sections of the North Country Trail or other hiking trails? Probably not, but I don’t know for sure.

Don't know if there are any regs regarding what they do around MI orv trails, but I don't think they don't give a crap about leaving debris all over them. I had to clear alot of garbage off Bass Lake trail this spring where they had logged just a small area.

I ran into a logging crew a few years ago. They were in the middle of there destruction and had the trail totaly blocked. I walked up and asked if they were aware that there was a motorcycle ORV trail right in the middle of there clearcut...They did not. But once I brought it up to him he was more than happy to clean up his mess (untill I was gone then he was probably right back to destroying everything) I didn't wait around for him to open the trail and made my own path around them.

I have ran into those clear cuts many times and also have had to work thru them clearing out the brush. Sucks big time. I swear sometimes I think they purposidly pile brush on the trail as the areas off the trail are almost clear.

Do they clear cut sections of the North Country Trail or other hiking trails? Probably not, but I don’t know for sure.

Ive often wondered that myself. Is sure looks like the DNR/Forrest service targets plots of land that has motorized recreation on it.

Well I've sent an inquiry to our Gaylord office about it. If they respond I'll post it up. In light of what's going on in other states with riding areas being closed down right and left, guess we shouldn't complain too much. But tourism is one of the few things going for the state right now and it's a shame to see ORV trail desecrated the way they do. People come from neighboring states, Canada, and beyond to ride what we have here. I hope I'm not the only one who not only likes to ride, but also enjoys being out in the woods. Riding through an area that looks like a tornado hit really doesn't do much for me. People also come from all over to hike and mountain bike various trail in the state. I may be wrong, but I bet they don’t go through and clear cut through those trails because the tree huggers would have a holy s#&t fit!

Do you really think that if they were secretly or publicly targeting our riding areas for forrestry that they would tell us? I dont think so.

They logged Long Lake in some areas a couple years ago. The trail got lost in logging. I kind of liked the idea that it took me ten minutes to find the lost trail.I got to ride over some downed branches a couple small logs. Sadistic screwball that I am. :D YZ, Think Cranberry last year. It added a little adventure to the ride.

Ive often wondered that myself. Is sure looks like the DNR/Forrest service targets plots of land that has motorized recreation on it.

Just think of the proposed stuff in the Booney area. All fine that we might get another 5 miles to :worthy: but all is slated for deforestation in 2010 :D , it will be so much fun to put it in though

Do you really think that if they were secretly or publicly targeting our riding areas for forrestry that they would tell us? I dont think so.

No response from the DNR yet, but I did some searching online yesterday afternoon and found some references on the North Country Trail’s site that talked about parts of the trail being re-routed due to timber harvesting, so looks like whichever trail is in an area with desirable timber, SOL Charlie. Also found some DNR Department comments that talk about the issue:


“• Have no net loss of ORV trail quality and quantity from timber management

The Department supports the idea of no net loss of trail quality and quantity;

however, it may not be possible in every instance because of the stand type andprescribed forest treatment. User preference to keep trails in forested areas is recognized and this preference will be accommodated where conditions support it. Trail users are encouraged to attend pre -harvest compartment reviews to share their concerns and suggestions , so they can be considered.”

On a side note. Lets not forget that the DNR lets the enduro crowd use lands that are slated for harvesting for use for thier events at times.

^ I had read that too, which I think is cool. I'm not ranking on the DNR, I think they do a decent job all in all when you consider their edicts and the multiple groups they deal with and try to keep everyone happy.

The ORV trails are supposed to be kept open by the timber harvester. If you encounter an ORV trail covered with brush from timber harvesting, contact the CCC as soon as you can with the trail info and where the harvesting is taking place. We can then direct the complaint to the proper district. Pictures are better if you can take them, camera phone pictures are good if that is what you have.

As a side note... The harvesters can temporarily close the trail, meaning the trees that they are currently working on, but must reopen the trail as soon as possible and before the day's end.

The harvesters aren't bad people, they need to make money too, they just don't always hire the best. A CCC member recently caught a skidder destroying trail signs on purpose, camera phone pictures as proof got the skidder operator working at replacing signs the next day.


I came across this bad boy blocking the trail while in the Keewenaw a couple years ago.Pretty cool to watch the thing in action. It chops ,slices and dices .polkadots045.jpg

Hmmm let me think here....Tin Cup a few years back....Came into the clearing and the trail was just gone. Piles of crap everywhere. No trail to be seen. Had to free ride to the edge and ride around the perimiter to find the trail again.

Drummond Island. Trail was destroyed by loggers. Had to cut a new trail thru that. Old trail was no where to be seen.

And how about those skidders that they use. They complain about us going off trail and these logging skidders dig 2ft deep trenches with there tires...how is that good for the enviroment? The loggers pay $ for those trees so the DNR turns a blind eye to it?

My pesimist view, they log on and around the trail, with no vegitation and the physical damage erosion ensues and now a reason to close trails.

I pray that is not the case. On a good note, with the economy the way it is the demand for wood will be going down for building mat. and maybe select cutting will again become a desired practice

I got a call from Lewis Shuler of the CCC this morning in response to an email I had sent him and I learned quite a bit. Most of it is not very positive. In short, the CCC has voiced their concerns in Lansing many times over the years about how the timber harvesting impacts the ORV trails throughout the state. I asked him what I could do to help and he said the more the state here’s our concerns the better. I’ve drafted a letter to the gov. lady (eh?) and am waiting for feedback before launching it. His suggestion was to mail Granholm and email Rebecca Humphries, Director of the DNR (the nice lady who signed the Land Use Order for MC only trails).

Here are their addresses if you’re interested (and you better be interested!!!!):

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm

P.O. Box 30013

Lansing, Michigan 48909


Okay, here's the response I got from Ms. Angel-Ling, Manager of the Gaylord Unit, Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Division:

"Every year we inventory and prescribe timber treatments for 1/10th of the management unit, which is divided into compartments, and the whole unit is inventoried once a decade. The presciptions are for the sales to be prepared 2 years later. So this year in 2009, we will prescribe treatments that will be created into sales in 2011. Then those sales will be open for about 2 years after they are auctioned.

On the ground, that means that an area will seem to have a lot of timber sale activity every 10 years. And when the inventory is done, it is the tree species and age that determine if the stand will be harvested and what type of harvest will get it to regenerate to the managment objectives that are desired. There are a lot of disciplines that review the proposed activity, internally (wildlife, fish, recreation, T & E species, archeological, geological, etc) and then the unit holds an open house every year for public review too. It is ususally advertised in the local paper by townships and it is also posted on the DNR website. We usually do modify prescriptions based on trails (all types) and/or other concerns that would be in the sale boundary.

Typically the timber sale contracts contain language that is to protect all the designated trails within their boundaries. There are specifications that prohibit them from using the trails for their operation unless permission is granted from the staff. If damage occurs to the trail, the logger is to restore it or we hold their performance bond so we can repair. Staff usually visits active sales once a week. I understand that when the actual harvesting occurs, it can be unsightly and that it takes several years for the new growth to fill in the area. But then the cycle starts again and the clearcut areas will grow till their maturity at 60+ years, the selection cuts will be done again in 20 years depending on the growth rate.

You say the trails are devastated in some of these sales, I need to know exactly where so we can make the logger repair them. Even the debris and trenches can be addressed depending on the specification in the contracts. The Indian River office administers the sales in Cheboygan and Emmet counties. I will let the foresters know of these issues and have copied them with this note so they can make inspect the trail conditions and contact the loggers if need be.

You brought up a good option for future sales in the email you sent Paige Perry. We can take a look at leaving more trees around the trail corridor when doing a select cut. I know that some of the foresters mark trees with that in mind already. And we do try to minimize the impact of clearcuts, like cutting on just one side, but visually, it's difficult to do. Leaving trees within the corridor can create a hazard of blow down, depending on the tree type and site.

I appreciate your comments and it helps to have your eyes and ears out there in the forest for us. We can't anticipate (or grant) everyone's wishes but we will take comments under consideration and modify the jobs where possible. We usually have our open house in June at the Indian River field office so I hope you can provide comments there as well. Otherwise, please contact the staff or me with any further questions."

Wow, that was very informative! It sounds as if they do try to make an effort to protect trails. I guess it is partially up to those of us who ride the trails to help police the logging activity. I can understand that it is impossible to please everyone... it must be an awfully hard job to make some of the decisions these folks have to make (and to put up with the backlash the decisions cause). Trail users who live in the respective areas need to take it upon themselves to watch their local papers for these open houses, and make an effort to attend. I do like that they consider leaving a corridor for the trail. Another option could be to log off one side, then once growth is established, move the trail to the newer growth area, then log the old trail area. I'm sure there is no perfect solution, but it sounds like they are trying. It is our job as users of the trails to 'keep them honest.'

NUN, thanks for putting forth the effort to look into this!

I took a ride on the Big O yesterday, 06NOV08. I rode the trail counter clockwise and came across a couple of tree's down due to natural reasons that were blocking the trail and as you get close to the street that takes you to the Ruby Creek gas station, they are logging that area. There are a couple of small trees on the trail, nothing that can't be crossed esily by a noob such as myself, but it certainly is an eyesaor with that big chunk of forest gone. It appears that they are still harvesting lumber in that area as well.

Since I got a late start in the day, I rode home from the Ruby Creek gas station(because I don't like riding bikes on the road at dark) so I can't comment on the rest of the trail after that. I rode that section a couple of weeks ago and it was fine with no obstructions.

I hope that some of you will take the time to contact the DNR in your riding areas and let them know how you feel if you don’t like what you see. I've had a couple of emails back and forth with the Gaylord office and have let them know (in a polite way) how I feel. The more they hear from us the harder it will be to ignore us. If you see trail marked to be clear cut or select cut where they're going to mow down all the trees around the trail, call, email, get involved. Just because a tree is marked for harvesting, it's not cast in stone, especially if it boarders a designated trail. The don’t seem to clear cut close to paved roads and from what I’ve read online, they re-route hiking trails that have been affected by timber harvesting, so obviously they are aware that it is aesthetically an eyesore and take measures to reduce exposure. I don’t think ORV trails should be the red headed stepchild in this regard and I don’t want to see that crap when I go ride. Either leave a corridor of trees around the trail or re-route it.

Signed, the tree hugger who rides a dirt bike.

OK. I've read and re-read all the posts in this topic and need to voice an opinion. I do not live in MI, but WI near the U.P. border and am a logger:thumbsup:

There has been alot opf research done here by the posters on the DNR and the ORV trails, BUT have any one of you researched the DNR regs for logging activities, such as contracts and etc..

YES the logging sites might prohibit you from accessing a trail, may be an "eyesore", but here are some FACTS

1. Trees are harvested for many reasons and #1 is PAPER. how many of you have printers hooked up to the computer that you posted into this forum? What do you use to wipe your a_s with? Is your house made from steel or glass?

2. Trees do regenerate, Aspen and Norway Pine faster than the Hardwood species(maple, birch and oak)

3. Logging companies spend more time going to classes now-days for training and it is all REQUIRED by the state, counties, and even the mills that purchase the harvested timber!

4. ANY reputable logging company(such as the one I work for) takes the extra steps to ensure trails are kept free of debris, passable except when working directly on them, (as one picture was posted of the slasher on the trail) We work alot with the MN DNR(yes we work in 3 states) and there are alot of ORV trails that are involved where we are currently working. The DNR re-routes and marks the trails "CLOSED" due to logging activities. This is no way any different than if you were going down the highway and had a detour for road construction. Do you then call your governor or other state officials and through a fit? I didn't think so----

I suggest that you do a little research on the business of logging before you start slamming this occupation. Yes there are SOME bad companies out there that do a shitty job, but there are more that do a great job that out numbers the bad, and that is in any business!

OK--I said my peace!


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