Action Alert: Protecting Michigan’s Mason Tract

Mason Tract 1

Marvin Roberson of the conservation organization Anglers of the Au Sable
surveys the Au Sable River.

photo courtesy the Sierra Club

Marvin Roberson of the conservation organization Anglers of the Au Sable has sent out this action alert—which requires you to act TODAY—about the Mason Tract on 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:


The welcome sign at the Mason Tract.

photo courtesy Anglers of the Au Sable

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.

117 thoughts on “Action Alert: Protecting Michigan’s Mason Tract”

  1. brendan I’m more of a wake fan, but they have had a rough year…at least I got to watch every single game this weekend! I’m trying to make a meeting tomorrow, been off the meds since Friday night. I’m guessing that week 2 and 3 is much of the same as week one? Does anyone ever fall asleep and wake up by a muscle twitch…feels like my calf wants to stretch?

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  8. i really appreciate that comment, especially now because my photo’s have been horrible! with the days being shorter and not getting light as early it is so hard for me to get good lighting! and i don’t want to stand out in the cold! haha. i was looking back at old posts and thinking man, my pictures looked so much better! my food is just as tasty, just can’t show case it as well. haha.

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  15. denniswhen you got your second cast put on, where you able to put any weight on it or did you have to wait until you got your boot?i can’t wait to walk again…i’m at the end of week two…time flies when you’re lying on the couch!!i’m addicted to csi miamiany other good shows out there?thanksnanc

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  25. Jim – Yep, I know that feeling. I tried walking normally by pushing off with my recovering foot, and my foot didn’t respond. It’s getting better though as my calf muscle is getting stronger.

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  35. Mine was 69. I think that’s low. Especially since I walk downtown all the time. It takes me 20-30 minutes. It would take me 15 minutes to walk to the mall (haven’t been there in over a year though). In fact, everything I could want or need is within walking distance. Getting it home is another story. I was packing a bag of compost home from the store last weekend. It was two blocks and by the end of the first block I was wishing I’d just borrowed the darn shopping cart!

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  39. Hi all just got out of surgery tonight around 6pm…still awake after taking one of my meds (percs). Leg is still numb so the pain has not set in yet. I can’t wait to walk…..

  40. Brendan ruptured his achilles on Feb 26th. I think he’s the most recent one of the group.Here is the link for his blog: Brendan’s blog He’s contemplating on going back to work after 1 week, which I think is too early.

  41. Jim – I’m not sure I complete understand the question. Are you saying “stand on the ball of your foot” so there is clearance under your heel? At 19 weeks I’m still not able to do a single legged calf raise with just the injured leg. I’m able to do it in about 3 ft. of water, but not on land. I think it will still be a few more weeks for me. I’m not sure what the norm is for single legged calf raises, but from other blogs I’ve seen, I don’t feel like I’m that far off schedule. You will probably be back to single legged calf raises much quicker because you were weight bearing early on and you have much more strength in your calf to begin with. Hope this helps.

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  53. Jim – Philip is on a vacation, and he bought a waterproof cast cover for swimming. He promised to let us know how well it works. I think he left for vacation yesterday, so we’ll hear from him in a few days probably.

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