State Forest Clear-Cutting
If you view the above photo you may be surprised to know that this was once a beautiful access spot to the Pine River in northern Lake County, Michigan. The stump in the middle of the photo was a beautiful mature tree. I parked under it last fall (and for the last 30 years). A nice shady spot. Just beyond the stump there was a faint two-track (not drive-able) under a canopy of mature trees that led to a spot next to a steep bank down to the river. I would scale the hill and fish upstream from there. I should mention that the Pine Rive is a blue-ribbon trout stream with a healthy population of trout: Browns, Rainbows, and Brooks. This spot is visited by trout fishermen from around the state. I have talked with many of them. It (was) a treasure.
I discovered this last Saturday on the opening weekend of trout fishing. Another appalled fisherman was there and we lamented the senseless destruction of what had been a beautiful spot. And a nice ‘”disperse”camping area. A large family group use to camp in the large clearing just north of the tree every year on opening weekend but stopped camping there after some clear cutting done in 2017. In 2017 the clear cutting stopped at the edge of the large clearing where they camped and was sickening to look at. So goodbye to that family. This year they clear cut up much closer to the river. Finished the job so to speak.
I don’t know who makes these decisions. A google search of clear cutting in Michigan brought up a story in Grayling, Michigan where residents tried to find answers and frankly the only answer is there is a bureaucracy in State Forest Management that is untouchable. They hold hearings that nobody is aware of and they say they always send a representative to an area before it is clear cut. And they follow guidelines set forth by other supreme bureaucracies. I can only say this: No human being in their right mind would have approved of this destruction if they understood the importance of this spot to so many Michigan fishermen.
I could not imagine this happening to one of my favorite trout spots. I fish the Sturgeon regularly and would imagine this would be as close as you could get to watching your childhood home burn down.
Hi Luther – As an avid reader of your blog, I’m really sorry to hear about the woods that you loved so much. There has been too much of this going on in our state forests over the last year.
I hope you were able to find a stretch of river to enjoy despite the disappointment.
Seth from Ann Arbor