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KEWEENAW COUNTY – Amid public outcry, based on widespread rumors about logging in several areas of Keweenaw County, Eric Stier, regional director of American Forest Management (AFM), said there were some topics that needed to be clarified for the public’s understanding. .

“First of all, the AFM does not own this land”, he said, “And that’s what appears to be over there. We are a real estate agent in this transaction, that’s all.

TRG, he said, still owns the land. TRG Management LP, also known as The Rohatyn Group, has owned forest properties throughout Keweenaw County for 15 years, and the group is looking to sell them.

Stier said he was not sure how the rumor that AFM would own the land started, but said it may have been because AFM Real Estate was the local presence and therefore easy to find. shout at.

Another rumor that Stier wants to crack down is that the forest properties are going to be clearcut before the property is sold.

Stier said there are several silvicultural reasons for the type of logging currently occurring in Keweenaw County. While the properties are all incredibly beautiful and pristine, he said, from a timber harvest perspective, they are not of high quality.

“In some places, there were cuts” said Stier, “There is no veneer coming out. As for the forest up there, it’s really not very good quality.

Stier mentioned the practice of forestry. Forestry is the art and science of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health and quality of forests and woodlands to meet the diverse needs and values ​​of landowners and society such as the wildlife habitat, timber, water resources, restoration and recreation on a sustainable basis. This is accomplished by applying different types of silvicultural treatments such as thinning, harvesting, planting, pruning, among other strategies.

A silvicultural prescription is a document that provides for a series of treatments designed to change the current stand structure and composition into a stand that meets management goals, says the US Forest Service. The prescription normally takes into account ecological, economic and societal objectives and constraints. At the Forest Service, silvicultural prescriptions are prepared or revised by a certified silviculturist before the implementation of the project or treatment. Treatments (including thinning) are designed to improve stand growth, quality, vigor and composition after establishment or regeneration and before final harvest. Regeneration (harvest) treatments are applied to mature stands to establish a new age class of trees.

“People like the word ‘clearly’, but that’s not what’s happening here” he said.

Stier, who led attempts to have the Michigan Department of Natural Resources swap some of the land in TRG Keweenaw County for state-owned land in Houghton County, made a presentation to the County Council of Commissioners. Keweenaw at its August 2018 monthly meeting.

Houghton County Hancock City Council approved a resolution at its December 2018 regular meeting supporting the TGR-DNR land swap. Town of Hancock Resolution 18-23 states in part that the land swap would stabilize the existing recreational trail system by keeping it on state owned land and the proposed land swap supported by the government. Keweenaw ATV Club, the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau and other local communities and economic development groups.

“I would like nothing more than the State to continue to buy this” said Stier, who, like many, has an interest in Keweenaw County; he is currently building a house in one of the areas planned for the timber harvest.

Stier said that at no time, or at any level, has he had the authority to bring the subject land to market because AFM does not own it; TRG owns it and this group made the decision to sell its holdings in Keweenaw County long before now.

“Right now the real estate market is strong and they tell me: don’t miss an opportunity” he said, but at the same time, TRG understands the situation in Keweenaw County and always tries to support it.

For example, the TRG properties in the county are separated into four large blocks: “Point,” comprising approximately 10,080 acres: Harbor View, with approximately 5,749 acres; Keweenaw Alpine, plus or minus 9,769 acres; and Little Betsy Shoreline, with 7,063 acres. TRG or AFM will not split these blocks into smaller units for private purchase.

Stier said his phone kept ringing and people were asking if they could buy smaller plots before the blocks even hit the market.

“This is the kind of interest that exists”, he said, “And we’re not going to do it. We don’t.

At the same time, says Stier, land cannot be sold; there is no way to predict something like this.

“If so, we’ll get back to normal regardless of the normal way”, he said, “But then we’ll start talking to people about selling 40, 80, – there are people who say, ‘I want to buy a section (160 acres) over there, and I don’t care about the price.’ again, this is exactly what I don’t want to happen.

In an interview with Keweenaw County Commissioners Council Chairman Don Piche earlier this week, he said one of the council’s biggest fears was the Tories buying property, to which the council and many county residents have opposed each other for years.

Stier said he understood the council’s position because conservatories, being non-profit, can remove large plots of land from the tax roll, while restricting or banning public use of that land.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series dealing with controversies and misinformation regarding commercial forest land and timber harvesting in Keweenaw County.

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