surveys the Au Sable River.
Mason Tract Protection-One Last Push!
We have a unique opportunity to give the Mason Tract the protection it deserves, but we need to act now. The Michigan DNR is in the final phases of designating “Biodiversity Stewardship Areas” (BSAs). These BSAs are what will form the “Michigan Living Legacies” program. These BSAs will be designated and managed for the values of preserving and enhancing biodiversity and natural communities. In most cases, this will mean managing for bigger, older forests with less human-caused disturbances.
This does not mean no management. It doesn’t mean no hunting, or no motor vehicles. It means management more like nature. For instance, white pine can easily live to 350 years of age. The DNR practice is to cut them at 100 years. BSA designation would mean that long-lived species would actually get much older than is currently practiced.
The Mason Tract was in the original set of BSA recommendations, which were agreed to unanimously by a team comprising environmentalists, conservationists (including a rep from the Anglers of the Au Sable), the timber-industry, tribal interests, and DNR staff. However, internal DNR reviewers have recommended leaving the Mason Tract undesignated as a BSA. The primary claim is that the public would not accept the management changes which would result.
Think about that: would you prefer bigger, older forests along the river, or do you want more cuts like the one a few years ago across from Forest Rest? If you liked that management, then stop reading. If you’d like bigger, more natural forests along the river, then you need to act. Comments are due by close of business Friday, January 14 [THAT’S TODAY!]. They need to be emailed to this address:
We need to tell the DNR:
1. The South Branch of the Au Sable river corridor should unquestionably be designated as a part of the Living Legacies program.
2. That it is understood that BSAs do not mean no management, but that management for naturally occurring communities is important for the river corridor.
3. That you want the river corridor of the Mason Tract designated as a BSA. (Let them know how often you are there. Let them know what this place means to you.)You may have done this last summer; that’s great, but we need you to do it again. There are lots of people, inside and outside of the DNR, who don’t want this to happen. We have to make our voices heard, just like we did in the Gear Restriction issue. Please write.