We now have available the new 2019 edition topo map of the High Country Pathway and the Pigeon River Country State Forest!
They are available at the DNR Headquarters building located at 9966 Twin Lakes Road and at the Discovery Center located directly behind the DNR building.
Also available at: www.pigeonriver.com,Village Market, DNR Operations Center on M32, White Birch Outfitters, Gaylord Tourism Bureau, Atlanta Management HQ on M33, Otsego Lake State Park and Clear Lake State Park
The real estate listing is enough to make any nature lover swoon: “Secluded 2,103 acres of … woodland with cedar, pine and hardwood across Otsego and Cheboygan counties … Private Storey Lake has a pavilion and his/her rustic restrooms. Years of ownership and care of this property has landed it as a prime location to find wildlife of all kinds.”
Now, the property in the northeastern Lower Peninsula – once owned by an absentee owner from Switzerland – belongs to the people of Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources this week closed a deal to acquire the Storey Lake property after nearly two decades of negotiating to purchase the land.
The property – which includes the entire 8-acre Storey Lake and about a mile of Stewart Creek – is in the core range of Michigan’s elk herd, nestled between two other parcels of state forest land: the 106,000-acre Pigeon River Country State Forest and another large tract of state-managed forest land in the DNR's Gaylord Forest Management Unit.
“There’s the potential for designating an elk viewing area on the Storey Lake property,” said Kerry Wieber, forest land administrator for the DNR. “This property also offers abundant opportunities to view other wildlife and birds.”
Rare species that live there include the northern goshawk, bald eagle, the red-shouldered hawk and the Massasauga rattlesnake, recently listed as threatened due to loss of habitat. Stewart Creek is a designated brook trout stream which feeds into the Sturgeon River. At 30 to 35 feet deep, Storey Lake provides good conditions for trout.
The DNR completed the $3.8 million property purchase with a $912,500 grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, as well as money from the state’s Land Exchange Facilitation and Management Fund generated by the sale of surplus state forest land in Iosco County to United States Gypsum.
“This is going to offer the public many different recreational opportunities and is a valuable addition to the state forest system,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.
The Storey Lake property currently is accessible from Fontinalis and Alexander roads. The North Central State Trail runs along its west-northwest boundary.
The land is open for all legal hunting, fishing, trapping, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, bird-watching, berry-picking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and outdoor pursuits. All non-motorized use is welcome. Motorized use is limited until the DNR completes an inventory of the existing roads on the property and develops an access plan.
There will be an opportunity for public involvement in developing the access plan to ensure the DNR is aware of public opinion related to access and recreational opportunities on the Storey Lake property.
Attention All Sportspeople!!!!!
Jan. 17, 2020
Reward offered in elk poaching incidents in northern Lower PeninsulaThe Safari Club International-Michigan Involvement Committee is concerned by numerous recent reports of elk being poached in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.
As a result, the committee is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of an individual or individuals illegally killing elk in Michigan. In the past, the organization has offered a similar $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally killing moose in Michigan, and this offer stands to date.
In mid-December, area residents found three adult elk cows poached in Otsego County. The incident marked the third such case in northern Michigan in roughly a month. In mid-November, one bull elk was killed in Montmorency County and another, during the same week, was poached in the Pigeon River Country in Otsego County.
To report information on the illegal killing of elk or moose in Michigan, please call or text the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.
For more information about the conservation work of SCI-MIC visit http://scimic.org/index.html.
Congratulations Discovery Center!!
VANDERBILT — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Trust Fund Board released its latest list of recommended property acquisition and project grants this month, and a $254,900 grant sought by the DNR for the Pigeon River Discovery Center was among the recommended funding allocations.
Rudi Edel, with the discovery center, said the trust fund grant will provide necessary funds to ensure the building is weather-tight and also provide funds to expand some of the exhibits.
The center’s grant of $254,900 is broken down as follows:
Building improvements, $178,500
Indoor educational exhibits, $26,700
Wildlife-related educational materials, $24,700
Universal accessibility enhancements, $2,000
Additional signage, $16,800
Additional lighting, $2,000
Exterior area improvements, $4,200
The center boasts more than 1,300 visitors in its first year when it opened in May 2018. Edel said the center was also nominated for a Leadership in History Award in its first year of operation.
The discovery center grant recommendations description lists the funding would go toward toward building renovations, restoration of a Civilian Conservation Corps-era historical building and completion of outdoor exhibits for wildlife-based educational programs.
The grant application’s description of the Pigeon River Country Discovery Center’s efforts says that it “fosters increased awareness and environmental stewardship of ‘The Big Wild’ through exhibits and collaborative educational programs for all ages. The site hosts numerous conferences, field trips, tours and events.”
In all, the DNR Trust Fund Board awarded development grants to 60 projects around the state totaling $11.5 million. About 98 percent of the 60 projects are headed up at the local level as opposed to being considered state developments. In order to finalize grants, funding appropriations by the Michigan Legislature are necessary.
2019 Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund Board grants
Region dollar amount number of projects State total $11.5 million.
Southeast Michigan $3.4 million
Western Michigan $2.0 millon
Central Michigan $1.9 million
Upper Peninsula $1.5 million
Northern Michigan $1.1 million
Otsego County had one other grant recommendation through the trust fund. It was for Otsego Lake Township’s Iron Belle Trail-head project in Waters for $215,700. More information on that project can be found in the Friday, Jan. 3 edition of the Herald Times
Edel said going forward, the discovery center’s Educational Committee set classes for the next three years.
“In the next several months, the presenters will provide actual dates for each session and that information will be available on the discovery center’s website, at the Vanderbilt trail-head kiosk, and published in (the Herald Times),” Edel said. “Michigan State University’s Master Naturalist Program, which is being tailored to natural resources in Northern Michigan, will be offered this spring.”
He said the center’s steering committee is grateful for the community’s support and it is looking forward to meeting more people in the 2020 season.
Edel said 2019 was another fantastic year for the center.
“Visitor numbers increased by nearly 50 percent, educational programs increased and were filled to capacity, and the discovery center received a prestigious award for excellence,” he said. “In addition, the discovery center just completed a very successful fundraising drive that will ensure the educational programs continue to provide quality, science based, programs going forward.”
The center has no paid staff. Volunteers work throughout the year to maintain and staff the building. The center is actively recruiting volunteers and aims to find meaningful work for people that matches their talents, interests and how much time they have available.
Anyone looking to become part of the center’s volunteer team and work at the center periodically, can contact the center online at pigeonriverdiscoverycenter.org