LISTEN TO JACK HALL’S INTERVIEW WITH RANGER CHARLIE MARSH
The US Forest Service announces that on August 20, 2018, District Ranger Charlie Marsh signed the Decision Notice for the AuTrain River Project, which had been under analysis and public involvement over the past year. There will be no further review of this Decision Notice by any other Forest Service or US Department of Agriculture official as per 36 CFR 218.11(b)(2).
“I want to express appreciation to the public and to our partners at the township and county, all of whom contributed to building an alternative that addresses as many concerns as possible,” said Ranger Marsh.
Alternative 1, the selected alternative, is designed to address a range of concerns within the project area including public safety, recreation experience, and river and forest health. Actions to be implemented in the future (as funding becomes available) include:
Increased Public Safety
- Create a new river launch site, take out site and parking areas away from the county road.
- Construct new roads and adequate parking areas which will provide safe river access.
Improved Recreation Experience
- Install site amenities such as picnic tables, grill, outhouses and latrines at multiple site along the river.
- Eliminate camping along the river to reduce user conflict erosion at these sites.
- Install wooden posts with mile markers and site numbers/names/amenities along the river corridor.
- Install a kiosk with river maps, and panels to educate the public on invasive species and management practices.
Improved River and Forest Health
- Restore Joel’s Point with addition of steps on the bank and transplants.
- Using armor and slab rock and wood to create sustainable steps at the sandy landing areas.
- Use native plants and tree drops to help stabilize riverbanks.
- Install several rock veins or log jams upstream and downstream of heavily used sites to reduce natural stream flow impacts on those sites.
- Rehabilitate any unauthorized user created sites and routes within the project area as identified.
- Construct one double-vault outhouse at the High Banks area to serve users at sites 2, 5 and 6.
- Construct one double-vault outhouse at the new launch site and one at the new take-out site.
- Construct two new wilderness latrines at day use sites 1, 3, and 4.
- Install bear-proof trash receptacles at recreation sites as needed.
- Vegetation management treatments will create a mosaic landscape dominated by large over-story trees with dispersed openings creating suitable conditions for species like blueberries.
- Prescribed fire treatments will occur on approximate 130 acres to help with red and white pine regeneration and to help reduce fuels
The primary purpose of the project is to move the project area toward the 2006 Hiawatha Forest Plan Forest-wide and Management Area direction. The project is proposed to address needs and opportunities identified by both the Forest Service and local community.
The Hiawatha National Forest conducted an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to analyze and disclose the environmental impacts of proposed activities and corresponding alternatives within the project area. One objection was received during the 45 day objection period. The District Ranger, the Zone NEPA Coordinator, and the Project Team Leader met with the objector in July, at which time a resolution to the objection was made and the objector formally withdrew his objection.
For additional information about this project, the public may contact District Ranger Charlie Marsh or Becky Cain, West Zone Recreation Planner, Hiawatha National Forest, 906-387-2512, or visit the HIF website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/hiawatha/landmanagement/projects.