North Arm timber harvest open house slated for July 22

Anyone interested in learning more about the North Arm timber harvest in the Burntside State Forest are invited to attend an open house and field tour on Saturday, July 22 from 1-3 p.m. The open house will be held at the YMCA Camp DuNord dining hall, 3606 North Arm Road, Ely.

The Department of Natural Resources is proposing a 62-acre timber thinning on state forest lands, just north of Camp DuNord to improve forest health and reduce wildfire hazard. The proposed harvest would remove about one-third of the mature trees in scattered areas, leaving the largest, best formed and healthiest trees.

“We have taken great care in planning this thinning in a way that reduces the short-term impact to trail users, while doing the work needed to improve forest health for the long term,” said Dana Frame, Tower area forest supervisor. “Some of the existing recreational trails were created by past logging efforts, and we’ll need to temporarily access about a third of those historic routes for this harvest.”

“We understand that some members of the public have concerns with our plans,” Frame said. “Our open house is designed to help people better understand what we’re proposing. This won’t be a large clear cut of trees as some are speculating, and the selective thinning we are planning will enhance habitat, recreation, and public safety for current and future generations.”

The east border of the parcel is designated old growth and will not be impacted by this thinning. Steep slopes and other ecologically sensitive areas have already been excluded. When complete, the project will offer recreational users a chance to experience protected old growth, BWCAW-managed wilderness and actively-managed forest in one outing.

DNR foresters will begin the open house with a short presentation about the project and the timber management history of the site, answer questions about alternatives, and then lead a hike to the proposed harvest site.

Those participating in the field tour should dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes. Bottled water and tick prevention measures are encouraged.

The DNR is accepting written comments on the proposed project through Aug. 1. Written comments may be submitted at the meeting, by email to dana.frame@state.mn.us, or by mail to DNR Forestry, 650 Highway 169, Tower, MN  55790.

More information about the DNR’s Forestry Division can be found on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/forestry.