Steve Anderson, Unit Manager
The Roscommon Unit manages state forest lands in Roscommon and Ogemaw counties.
To report resource damage found on state forest lands in Roscommon and Ogemaw counties (including forested roads made impassible by ORV damage, rutting, erosion, or public safety concerns on state forest land), contact the unit manager.
Click on the map to view the Roscommon Forest Management Unit
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.
2020 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.
2019 Year of Entry State Forest Compartment Review Schedule
The Roscommon Unit consists of approximately 275,000 acres of state land within Ogemaw and Roscommon Counties. Duties of the staff within the unit include wildfire suppression, forestry, land management, pathways management, and administration of several snowmobile and ORV trail systems, as well as several state forest campgrounds.
The main area office is located in Roscommon, and satellite offices are located in West Branch and Houghton Lake.
The geographical area contains many natural water features including Houghton Lake--the states largest inland lake-- as well as Higgins Lake, Lake St Helen, Clear Lake, and the headwaters of the AuSable, AuGres, Rifle, Muskegon and Tittabawassee River systems. The two counties are bisected by a northwest to southeast central ridge, with broad outwashes sandy plains to the north and east, and lower areas to the south and west.
In terms of forest cover types the area varies from large expanses of jack pine on the sandy plains of eastern Roscommon and western Ogemaw Counties, to low conifer swamps along the headwaters of the river systems. The tree species are primarily associations of jack pine, red pine, pin and black oak, in the sandy areas. As the water holding capacity of the soil increases, red maple and aspen can be found on upland sites. Finally on the ridges along the higher elevations bigtooth aspen and red oak are found on the better quality soils. Red maple, balsam fir, white pine and white cedar predominate in the lowland areas. Most of the lands have come under state ownership from tax reversion, as well as purchases through wildlife funding. Much of the state forest land in these two counties originated after the large forest fires during the early 1900's, and many areas were replanted by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In the 1930's. CCC camps could be found at Higgins Lake, Ambrose Lake, and in the Wolf Creek area.
Roscommon unit is one of the major areas involved in the Kirtland's Warbler Recovery Program, providing nesting habitat for this endangered species through a program of harvesting, prescribed burning and planting of jack pine in eastern Roscommon county and northern Ogemaw County. In 2005, Ogemaw County was home to the largest population of nesting warblers in the state.
The Roscommon Unit offers many hiking trails, including the Lost Twin Lakes trail south of Houghton Lake, the Midland to Mackinac Hiking Trail, the Red Pine pathway near Kirtland College, The Tisdale Triangle trail at Roscommon and the Ogemaw Hills pathway. The last two also offer excellent cross country skiing opportunities and are groomed during the winter months.
Snowmobilers have several trails to choose from spanning the Roscommon Unit. Among these are the Ogemaw Hills trails north of West Branch, the St Helen trail system between St Helen, Roscommon and Houghton Lake, and the Houghton Lake Trails which lead to neighboring trails on the south and west side of the unit. ORV enthusiasts can ride the Rose City Loops, the Ogemaw Hills, Ambrose Lake, St. Helen, Denton, Geels, and West Higgins trails, as well as explore the two square mile St Helen Motorsport area near St. Helen.
A wealth of camping opportunities can be found in the Roscommon Unit, with state forest campgrounds at:
Each of these facilities has its own special features which make it unique, as well as the proximity of the forested area which surrounds them.
Forest Management and Forest Fire Suppression are very active programs within the Roscommon Unit. The unit is divided into 202 compartments, which vary in size from 900 to 2500 acres. Each of these compartments are examined by a forester every 10 years, and are evaluated as to the health of the tree species, regeneration needs, recreational trails, road system, wildland urban interface, wildlife usage and needs, species and age diversity, and other ecological aspects. From these findings a map and prescription of activities over the next ten years are developed, and reviewed. Our foresters then carry out these prescriptions as they set up and manage timber sales, reforestation plantings, and assist the fire officers in doing prescribed burns.
Forest Fire Officers within the Roscommon unit have one of the busiest wildfire areas within the state, averaging between 30 and 50 wildfires unit wide each year, and varying in size from 0.1 acre to upwards of 2000 or more acres. Fuels vary from volatile jack pine to peat, and the fire season may last from March through early August, and at times carry well into November on a dry year. Our prescribed burning program plays a major part in reforestation efforts, wildlife habitat maintenance, and in creating and maintaining firebreaks in fire prone areas. Fire Officers manage the snowmobile, pathway, campground and ORV programs, and assist the foresters with timber sale preparation.
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 Roscommon Forest Management Unit's 2019 compartments, view the Roscommon Locator Map.
The Roscommon Forest Management Unit has 2019 YOE Review packets available for the following compartments. The packets were posted August 7, 2017 unless noted otherwise:
The Roscommon Unit's 2019 YOE Compartment Review was held on Sept. 20, 2017. The following linked document presents the changes and decisions made at this Compartment Review to the Inventory Database, Reports, and Compartment Maps, presented at Open House, for the Roscommon Forest Management Unit. This document is the official record of changes and decisions.
- Compartment 013 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 024 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 031 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 043 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 053 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 061 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 081 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 086 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 099 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 101 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 112 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 118 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 120 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 124 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 130 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 142 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 150 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 166 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 172 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 186 Narrative, Maps and Reports
- Compartment 195 Narrative, Maps and Reports
Ecological Reference Area Plans
State Game Areas
2018 YOE Compartments
2017 YOE Compartments
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