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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A Walk Ride In The Woods - 2019 Edition


Eighteen years after the last harvest in 2001 and two years after our most recent walkabout, last year we surveyed and marked the family commercial forest in Baraga for a selective cut. Ken, the forester who worked with us on the last cut and authored our Forest Plan retired. We hired a new forester - Justin -  to work with the family on this go-round (with Ken's recommendation and counsel).  The property was surveyed for a selective cut, put out to bid last year, and a logger selected. Logging operations have yet to commence, so it was a good opportunity to have Justin give us a guided tour of property and, in particular, educate us on the process and decisions made about the trees selected for harvest.


Emily and Ko'Wayne joined me for the excursion. They brought their ATV and Justin brought his so we could cover a lot of ground in our limited time on the property.


We met at a "Park and Ride" across from the Michigamme Market, towed the ATV's until we could drive no further, then then unloaded, mounted and rode the 4-wheelers into the woods.




For the first time in the family history, we approached the property through neighboring forest land on the West property line as opposed the usual route over neighboring forest land along the East property line.
The beaver pond from the other side. Watched a big buck scamper along the tree line.
The significance is that this is the route that the loggers will take, and since some road work will be needed for heavy trucks and equipment access, it's possible that we will be able to drive all the way in once logging operations commence. Certainly easier than hiking over the top of a beaver dam.




Justin provided a Master Class in tree selection and markings, the property lines, logging issues, stumpage from prior cuts and expectations for the next cut. We got the right guy for this job.




Weather was a pleasant surprise for this time of year. Comfortably in the upper seventies, and the bugs were not too bad - although we had one casualty. While avoiding a fallen tree, Ko'Wayne drove over a hornets nest and a hornet stung Justin as we followed him around the stump. There is no Instant Karma in the North Woods.


Having done a few of these tours over some decades, the most gratifying aspect for me is seeing and hearing a forester's reactions as we tour the property that has been in the family for generations. Like Ken and other foresters before him, Justin expressed his admiration and appreciation for the health of the managed forest and the stewardship of the family in maintaining and managing the land.


Some more pics from the day...


Ko'Wayne sets up his new trail cam and salt lick.
The trail cam has photographed moose, deer, and bear.
We didn't see any moose on the "Alces Trail" this time, but did see plenty of moose shit. 
We again found the ruins of an old camp that predates the family purchase...
... which we believe was primarily used for maple syrup production.
As has become a tradition for me after one of these excursions, Emily, Ko'Wayne and I wrapped up the adventure with a cudighi at a local watering hole on the way back.

Cudighi and Two Heart Ale on tap at Jerzi's 41
It was a great day and great experience. We all learned something, including how not to back up a trailer with a loaded ATV. 

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