The Two Hearted River near Lake Superior The Nature Conservancy purchased 23,338 acres in Luce County in 2005 as part of the Northern Great Lakes Forest Project (a.k.a. “Big U.P. Deal”). About 80 percent of the Two Hearted River Watershed, an aquatic priority area, is now protected by public and private partners.
Scientists studied the composition of the Two Hearted forest. While much of the area contained high-quality wetlands such as muskeg and patterned peatlands, scientists discovered a lack of diversity in the forest composition.
Jon Fosgitt and Gene Holbrook The Nature Conservancy contracted with a local company, Cold Springs Forestry, to develop a management plan to selectively harvest certain trees in the Two-Hearted forest.
Trees marked with an “S” denoted a tree saved for seeds. After carefully inventorying the Two-Hearted forest, two small areas were selected for this winter’s cutting. Foresters spray-painted the letter “S” on trees that should remain uncut and left for natural reforestation.
Jon Fosgitt explains the selective harvesting technique. Foresters take painstaking steps to ensure a careful harvest cutting enough to create a canopy but leaving old-growth and other select trees untouched.
Specialized equipment for sustainable forestry Using specialized equipment for sustainable forestry, the loggers can carefully cut sugar maple trees out of the Two-Hearted, allowing for a greater diversity of trees to grow as they did before.
Survey work Jon Fosgitt and Gene Holbrook take a step back during the harvesting process to survey their work and see how the seed tree might spread out in years to come.
Gene Holbrook, independent logger Working forest lands like this in the Upper Peninsula bring $3.5 billion in timber-related revenues to Michigan’s economy every year. When managed properly, they help the economy and the environment.
Jon Fosgitt and Gene Holbrook look over their work at the end of the day. Trees harvested from the Two Hearted will be used to heat 10-15 homes in Newberry, be made into railroad ties, and also turned into paper by Verso and New Page.
Black throated blue warbler. Once a diverse array of trees grow back, species like this black throated blue warbler will return to the habitat, which also provides a new oasis for species migrating north as they adapt to our planet’s changing climate.
To support The Nature Conservancy’s work in the Two Hearted and beyond, please visit the Ways of Giving section on Michigan’s website (nature.org/michigan).