Department of Natural Resources
Aug. 7, 2019
|More than 1,000 acres of prime forest land – including 1.5 miles of the Au Sable River corridor – will provide fish and wildlife habitat, forest management opportunities and be open for public recreation thanks to a grant provided to the DNR by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
“Public access to and protection of designated natural rivers and trout streams is a high priority for the DNR,” said Shannon Hanna, DNR natural resources deputy director. “This piece of land is nearly surrounded by state forest and increases access to the world-renowned fishing available in the Au Sable River. We appreciate the investment from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund that enabled the success of this project.”
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund has supported high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities for Michigan citizens and visitors for over 40 years. A restricted fund established in 1976 to support land conservation and outdoor recreation, the Trust Fund is financed through interest earned on funds derived from the development of publicly owned minerals such as oil and natural gas. Over the past 40-plus years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve public outdoor recreation opportunities in all 83 counties.
The $2.1 million acquisition includes 1,010 acres of forest land that completes the protection and public ownership of this entire stretch of the Au Sable River. A cabin and outbuildings on the property will be removed.
Haven for wildlife
The property features a mixed forest of mature oak, jack pine, white pine, and red pine as well as lowland conifers near the river, including cedar. There are also 400 acres of wetlands. The property provides habitat for game birds such as woodcock, ruffed grouse and waterfowl in addition to black bear, white-tailed deer, river otter and the threatened Eastern Massasauga rattlesnake.
Birdwatchers can find sought-after species for life lists, including bald eagles, osprey, the pileated woodpecker, waterfowl and songbirds.
“Public recreation opportunities include hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, bird watching, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing,” said Brad Jensen, executive director of Huron Pines, a Gaylord-based nonprofit organization that works to protect, restore and conserve Michigan's natural resources.
Huron Pines has developed a watershed plan for river restoration and actively partners with a variety of agencies and stakeholder groups to implement this plan. Huron Pines worked to rally these stakeholders and other organizations and businesses in support of the DNR’s efforts to acquire and protect the Upper Au Sable River property.
From Grayling: Take M-72 west to South Au Sable Trail, which is about three-tenths of a mile west of the stop light at Ole Dam Road. Turn right (north) onto South Au Sable Trail and take it to Pollak Bridge Road. Turn left. The entrance leading back to the property will be located on the right in approximately 50 yards.
From Traverse City: Take M-72 east to South Au Sable Trail. Turn left (north) onto South Au Sable Trail and take it to Pollak Bridge Road. Turn left. The entrance will be located on the right in approximately 50 yards.