Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Last chance to visit Wildcat Falls before Forest Service Land Exchange

Wildcat Falls in the Ottawa National Forest. (Photo © Rod Sharka)

MARQUETTE -- Partners in Forestry, The Northwoods Alliance, and The Northwoods Native Plant Society are co-sponsoring a guided hike through the US Forest Service Wildcat Falls parcel northeast of Watersmeet, Mich., in the last hours before the Forest Service trades away this unique and beautiful acreage to a private land investor.*

When: Meet at site (directions below): Sunday, April 1, 1:30 p.m. Central (CDT). PLEASE CARPOOL.

What to bring: appropriate hiking boots (a must); walking stick; trail snacks; water; camera.

Note: The distance to the falls is approx. ¼ mile. Hikers will be walking through old growth (hemlock/cedar/yellow birch). There is little understory but no established trail, so the ground is natural, uneven, and littered with course woody debris characteristic of old growth. If you are unsteady in this type of terrain, walking sticks/poles are recommended. Hike at your own risk.


If coming from the south: From Intersection of Rt. 45 and Hwy 2 (Watersmeet, Mich.), go 3.5 miles north on Rt. 45 to Sucker Lake Road (a little north of the casino). Turn left on Sucker Lake Rd. and drive west for 5.4 miles to County Line Lake Rd. (You will pass County Line Lake on your right.) Turn right on County Line Lake Rd. and continue north 1.5 miles. Participants will park and meet near where the road crosses Scott and Howe Creek.

If coming from the north: Sucker Lake Rd. is approx. 15.7 miles south of Bruce Crossing, or 6.5 miles south of Paulding, Mich. Turn right (west) on Sucker Lake Rd. and follow previous directions.

IT IS SUGGESTED THAT YOU CARPOOL WITH FRIENDS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. You may arrange to meet friends at Nordines (Rt. 45 and Hwy 2) or at the casino (a short distance south of Sucker Lake Rd.) and carpool from there. County Line Lake Rd. in particular is narrow and unpaved. Parking is limited along the road. Warning…shoulders may be soft.

For more information about this exchange, the hike, or objectives of these groups contact Rich Sloat sloat57@sbcglobal.net or Catherine Parker brinkleycourt@yahoo.com or Sherry Zoars at zoars@copper.net or call 906-358-1110.

From Stand for the Land: Message to the U.S. Forest Service: Don’t sell Wildcat Falls!

Posted on Stand for the Land March 26, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

The U.S. Forest service has entered into an agreement with a private land developer to trade away rare old-growth hemlock stands, a portion of a creek, and the beautiful Wildcat Falls.

In exchange for this unique and relatively undisturbed ecosytem, we will acquire mostly cut-over acreage with few recreational opportunities and little timber value.

Public input has been overwhelmingly against this exchange. It is also opposed by a number of conservation groups, including Partners in Forestry, which promotes sustainable use of woodlands.*

A citizen appeal has been filed and is pending review before Chuck Myers, Appeal Deciding Officer for the Forest Service. His decision may come as early as April 2012.

Click here to sign a petition to let him know these lands must be cherished and protected in trust for the public. You are most welcome to contact him directly, as well:

Chuck Myers, Regional Forester
Eastern Region, USFS
626 East Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202

A friend of the Falls has put together a brief video, a preview of what you might see if you take the April 1 hike to Wildcat Falls described above: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIWyot-Mq8E&feature=youtu.be

We are asking that the decision be reversed. It can be done. It should be done.

Click here for the Forest Service page on this Delich Land Exchange.

Click here for the Forest Service's Revised Environmental Assessment for the Delich Land Exchange Proposal, including maps.

* See the history of and objection to this exchange at www.partnersinforestry.com.

1 comment:

Northland said...

Thanks for getting out the word on this!