Hemingway Would be Proud - Two Guild Model Forests in Michigan

The Forest Stewards Guild has recently added two Upper Peninsula forests to its Model Forest Program. The Model Forest Program recognizes places, people, and relationships that foster sustainable forest management and demonstrate successful silviculture.

In Houghton, Michigan Technological University’s Ford Forest, managed by long-time Guild member Jim Schmierer, was designated in November 2016. 

The Michigan Chapter of The Nature Conservancy’s Two Hearted River Forest Reserve managed by Jon Fosgitt of Compass Land Consulting, was designated earlier this month.  Jon is the Membership and Policy Council’s Liaison to the Board of Directors. 

Michigan Tech’s 4200 acre Ford Forest has a long track record as a well-managed forest with excellent demonstration value as a field station for students and research staff with on-site facilities, maps, roads, expert staff, and volumes of research and student reports. The educational value of this forest land is further extended to the public and resource managers through publications, reports, tours, and meetings. The Ford Forest is open to the public, and is located in and around the Village of Alberta, MI along US Highway 41. More information about this great demonstration site for sustainable forest management practices in the Upper Great Lakes is available here.

The Nature Conservancy’s nearly 24,000-acre forest reserve in the Eastern-Upper Peninsula’s Two-Hearted River watershed near Pine Stump Junction, consists of a mix of expansive patterned fens, lowland conifers, and northern hardwoods.  The Two-Hearted River was made famous in Earnest Hemingway’s 1925 short story “Big Two-Hearted River”.  Hemingway is believed not to have actually fished the iconic river that became the namesake of his story – but spent significant time in and around the eastern Upper Peninsula town of Seney after returning home and recovering from injuries sustained as a volunteer for the Red Cross in the First World War.   

Most of the Two-Hearted’s upland hardwood forest lacked the structural and species diversity typically found in unmanaged, older forests so TNC made a commitment to using sustainable forest practice to restore that character to their forests. To do so they have set up a series of full-scale experimental treatments which they are able to use as demonstration plots for other forest owners throughout the Lake States region that want to manage their forests in a way that promotes ecological values and reaps direct economic benefits. More information about the work being done on this new Model Forest can be found here.

The Forest Stewards Guild welcomes both MTU’s Ford Forest and TNC’s Two Hearted Forest Reserve into our network of Model Forests across the country. Both of these forests exemplify the goals of the Model Forest program.  Our thanks to members Dan Pubanz, Ron Eckstein, and Mike Fitzgibbon for assisting with our field reviews.  We look forward to working with both Michigan Tech and Michigan TNC to demonstrate excellent forestry to the general public and to professional forest stewards in the years to come.