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The Baraga Unit manages state forest lands in Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Ontonagon Counties.
View the Baraga Forest Management Unit Map
Scroll to the bottom of the page for more information on current management strategies and specific State Forest compartments.
The Open House: Your Opportunity to Participate
Each year, management recommendations are presented at open houses. As the name implies, open houses are informal sessions that give citizens an opportunity to speak with foresters, wildlife biologists, and other resource professionals. The inventories, compartment maps, and recommended management actions are available for the public to look at and provide suggestions to MDNR staff.
2018 Year of Entry Open House Schedule
The Compartment Review: The Final Plan
Modifications to the management recommendations are then incorporated into a finalized compartment plan to be presented at the "compartment review". The compartment review is a formal presentation that incorporates information from the initial inventory, the multi-disciplinary input period, and the open house. The presentation outlines the formal management plan for the compartment and includes an explanation of forest treatments if any are proposed.
2018 Year of Entry State Forest Compartment Review Schedule
The Baraga Forest Management Unit administers 142,900 acres of State owned land in the Western Upper Peninsula. Land management functions are handled out of the Baraga Operations Service Center. There is also a field office at Twin Lakes that is staffed mainly for fire control and recreation programs.
This is an area of heavy lake effect snowfall from Lake Superior. The amount of snow varies depending on the distance from the lake and the elevation. Snow depths of five feet on the ground are common in the higher elevations in the snow belt. Snow frequently starts with scattered storms in October. The heavy snows start in December and last into early February. Snow remains on the ground into late March and sometimes into April and May.
Much of the state owned land is in Baraga, Houghton and Ontonagon counties. There are smaller amounts in Keweenaw and Gogebic counties. Some of the lands are larger blocks of several thousand acres, but there are also scattered partial sections of State ownership. Much of the land came into State ownership through tax reversion (non-payment of taxes). This was an area of copper and iron mining. Many former mining sites reverted to State ownership. Some of the tax reverted parcels were sold to the public, with the State retaining mineral ownership. There are numerous mine shafts, adits, and test pits both on State land and on State minerals.
The management unit supervises a 988 mile snowmobile trail network. All of this system is groomed and maintained under eight grants to local snowmobile clubs or chambers of commerce. Snowmobile use has been heavy in the past three years. A trail counter in Twin Lakes (a heavy snowfall area) recorded over 58,000 snowmobiles in the winter of 2005 -6.
The unit has five small campgrounds, Big Eric's, Big Lake, Beaufort Lake, King Lake and Emily Lake State Forest Campgrounds.
There is one ORV trail on the Baraga plains, and several ORV routes on railroad grades. ORV use is increasing on the railroad grades. ORV trail counts at Twin Lakes are about 4,000 per year. For maps of the ORV trails click here.
The management unit has several Rail-Trails. The Bill Nicholls Rail-trail (Copper Range Railroad); The Hancock to Calumet Rail-trail (Mineral Range Railroad); Bergland to Sidnaw Rail-trail (Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railroad); and the Stateline Rail-trail (Chicago and Northwestern Railroad). There are two new acquisitions, the Chassell to Houghton grade, and a grade from the Portage Lift Bridge to Ripley. The DNR acquired 8.64 miles of the Chassell to Houghton railroad grade in 2003. The other owners are Michigan Technological University and Michigan Department of Transportation. A citizen advisory committee was formed. They walked the trail, heard comments during public meetings, discussed options and made recommendations for use of this trail. These recommendations are being reviewed by DNR staff.
The 8,731 acre block of land at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula - the Keweenaw Point Block is now State Forest Land. A citizen advisory committee met during 2004 and considered possible management and use options for this block. The series of meetings were well attended and included public comment periods. The committee made a series of recommendations for management of this block. These recommendations are being reviewed by DNR and a management plan incorporating the recommendations is being made. The recommendations will be implemented over several years (dependent on funds available). Click here to view a map of the Keweenaw Point State Forest Lands.
The block has over 11 miles of Lake Superior shoreline at the tip, and includes the mouth of the Montreal River, waterfalls, inland lakes and several unique beaches and bays on Lake Superior (Fish Cove, Keystone Bay, and High Rock Bay).
Management is done on a compartment (land unit) basis. The entry year schedule for compartments was realigned in 2003 to balance the acreage of northern hardwood. The predominant timber cover type in the management unit is northern hardwood. This type (Sugar maple, red maple, Yellow birch, basswood, white ash, red oak) is managed with an individual tree selection cut. The cutting cycle is 20 years between cuts. For any one compartment about half of the northern hardwood type will be cut every ten years. Areas of steep slopes and riparian zones are removed from the area designated for cut.
Minor types are aspen, upland spruce fir, and swamp conifers. There is a small (5,000 acre) area of jack pine in the Baraga Plains. Jack pine clear cuts and subsequent regeneration have resulted in large areas of young jack pine. These are attractive to Kirtland warblers, and they have frequently nested here.
Water quality is a prime concern. There are numerous streams and drainages as well as larger streams and rivers. Branches of the Otter River, Sturgeon River, Huron River, Misery River and the Ontonagon River cross state land. Proper stream crossings, buffer strips along rivers and streams, and best management practices for water protection are very important in this management unit. The areas of deep snow limit the deer herd. There are moose within the unit, particularly in eastern Baraga County. Wolves are found throughout the unit. There is a healthy beaver population in most streams.
All State Forest Compartment Review maps and documents are drafts to be used for general planning purposes. Links to these documents will be removed after the review occurs.
For a map of the Baraga Forest Management Unit's 2018 compartments, view the Baraga Locator Map.
The Baraga Forest Management Unit has 2018 YOE Review packets available for the following compartments. The packets were posted May 16, 2016 unless noted otherwise:
- Compartment 003 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 020 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 034 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 044 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 047 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 055 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 075 Narrative, Maps and Reports
In addition to the review of these forest treatments, the DNR will be seeking public input regarding special conservation areas, or areas recognized as having unique values, such as old growth, springs or wildlife habitat corridors. This review will utilize the most up-to-date categories of special conservation areas and values.
- Baraga Special Conservation Area Recommendations Report
- Special Conservation Area Review Interactive Map
2016 YOE Compartments
2015 YOE Compartments
2014 YOE Compartments
2013 YOE Compartments
2012 YOE Compartments
2011 YOE Compartments
2010 YOE Compartments
2009 YOE Compartments
2008 YOE Compartments
2007 YOE Compartments