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E-M:/ FW: Wilderness Hosts Natural Area Tour

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <anne.woiwode@sierraclub.org>

FYI -- 

-----Original Message-----
From: Department of Natural Resources publications list
[mailto:DNRWIRE@LISTSERV.MICHIGAN.GOV]On Behalf Of Julee Hasbany
Sent: Friday, October 04, 2002 2:05 PM
Subject: Wilderness Hosts Natural Area Tour

CONTACT:        Amy Clark Eagle, 517-241-1406

Wilderness Hosts Natural Area Tour

        State Department of Natural Resources officials today announced
an Oct. 12 tour of the proposed Wilderness Natural Area in Emmet County,
the final of 11 tours planned this year to celebrate the 30th
anniversary of the Natural Areas Program.
        The natural areas movement in Michigan began in 1925, when State
Parks Chief P.J. Hoffmaster recommended the acquisition and preservation
of the Porcupine Mountains. In 1972, Michigan passed into law the
Wilderness and Natural Areas Act, which provided legally binding
protection for natural areas. Today, more than 130,000 acres statewide
are managed as natural areas under this program.
        There are three proposed natural areas within Wilderness State
Park, which is located at the very northern tip of the Lower Peninsula
and is considered one of Michigan's more pristine state parks. The
majority of the many miles of shoreline consist of wide sandy beaches
with scattered cobble, backed by one of the best developed and most
diverse forested dune and swale complexes in Michigan, with some
spectacular wetland areas mixed throughout. The scattered cobble beach
areas provide some of the best habitat in Michigan for the federally
endangered piping plover. In fact, almost the entire shoreline of the
proposed natural areas is designated as critical habitat for the piping
        The Great Lakes population of piping plovers was historically
several hundred breeding pairs in size, but had declined to 17 breeding
pairs by the time the species was listed as endangered by the federal
government in 1986. Since then, the population has fluctuated between
12 and 25 breeding pairs with breeding areas largely confined to
Michigan, and a large portion of those have been consistently at
Wilderness State Park.
Most of the area was cut-over prior to 1900, leaving only one small
stand and scattered individual trees intact. Yet, the area has re-grown
and now stands as it once did, providing its visitors an opportunity to
experience a Michigan landscape as it occurred prior to European
settlement. The proposed natural area encompasses the largest piece of
contingent, undeveloped land in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
        Come join us to explore this unique example of Michigan's
natural heritage. Enjoy the opportunity to see an example of Michigan's
historical landscape and view the many special wildlife and plants that
call it home.
        The Natural Areas Program is supported in part by Nongame Fish
and Wildlife Funds. You can support these efforts by looking for the
loon and purchasing a wildlife habitat license plate for your vehicle.

Date:   October 12, 2002
Meeting Time:   9:00 a.m.
Meeting Location:  Meet at the Park Headquarters within Wilderness
State Park. After a brief introduction to the Wilderness area and the
proposed natural area, we will travel to our starting point at the end
of Waugoshance Point Road.  A state park motor vehicle permit is
Approx. Duration:  3 hours
Difficulty:  Although we will not be on established trails, the area is
reasonably level. The ground may get soft and damp at times.  Overall,
reasonably easy.
What to Bring:  Water, binoculars and rain gear, if necessary. Long
pants and closed toe shoes are also recommended. If you are interested
in extending your day and seeing a different part of the proposed
natural area, bring a lunch and we will keep going after a lunch break.
What to See:   We will explore the Waugoshance Point area which is well
known for its rare plants and piping plover habitat. Although the
plovers have already left for the winter, there may be the opportunity
to view various other bird species passing through on their fall
Tour Guide:  Kim Herman is the former Natural Areas Coordinator for
Michigan, who has a long-standing academic and personal relationship
with the Wilderness area.


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