NRETC Symposium I

Managing our Forest and Wildlife for Sustainability

Symposium Number I

June 28, 2010, Beaver Island Community Center 

The Natural Resources and Eco-Tourism Commission (NRETC) hosted the symposium on June 28th at the Beaver Island Community Center to begin to discuss the future of the Beaver Island forests and wildlife resources. There were many excellent speakers and even though the weather did not allow the speaking to be completed in the morning, the speakers all arrived and all provided good information. The speakers were scheduled from 9-12, but the planes weren't flying, so one speaker ended up speaking after lunch. Then those present, speakers and audience, discussed forest and wildlife management objectives for Beaver Island. There were many different opinions expressed, and the NRETC will have quite a bit of work to compile and analyze the acquired information.

Symposium Survey

Did you attend the Symposium? (Circle one) Yes No

1. Rank the three plants and animals you most enjoy seeing on Beaver Island.

2. What natural resources are important to you on Beaver Island? (Rank the top 3)

3. What outdoor activities do you most enjoy while on Beaver Island?

4. What natural resources do you think are most important to the economy of Beaver Island in the short term? The long term?

5. What are potential benefits and disadvantages of having trails designated as: 1) NO motor vehicles 2) Open to ORV

6. What natural resources do you think are most important to the Quality of Life of Beaver Island in the short term? The long term?

7. What are potential pro's and con's to bringing in mast trees such as hickory, oak and chestnut trees to replace or supplement mast production now that American beech is in decline due to beech bark scale/disease?

8. Identify challenges and opportunities to supporting and monitoring the biodiversity of our island's forests.

9. What are potential benefits and disadvantages to having areas of Beaver Island remaining wild core areas (unmanaged / unpopulated)

10. Please list topics you would you like to learn more about concerning Beaver Island's natural resources in the future? This will determine future speaker topics

11. Develop and come to a table consensus for a Beaver Island Forest and Wildlife Vision Statement. (A vision statement should be inspirational and describe what Beaver will look like after management goals are achieved in full. Vision statements are a guide and can change over time)

Copy and paste these questions and your answers into a Word of Rich Text document and email to ( as a word or rich text document or hand in a paper copy at Whimsy 26070 Main St.

Please forward this to any and all interested parties.

Roundtable Discussions from 50 people present at the Symposium

Beaver Island Natural Resources/Eco-Tourism Commission

Round Table Discussion Reports from the June 28, 2010 Symposium.

Fifty people remained for the round table portion of the program. Six tables of discussion groups presented answers to the italicized questions below. Each table is represented by the same letter in the responses.

1. Plants and animals you most enjoy seeing on Beaver Island :

A. Deer, Grouse, Woodcock and song birds; need to manage habitat for all animals.

B. Plants: showy lady slipper, marsh marigold, thistle, trillium. Animals: deer, hares, beaver. Birds: Loons, snipes, eagles, grouse

C. Plants: pitcher thistle, orchids, trillium, blueberries, Animals: deer, ruffled grouse, turkey beaver, loons, sandhill cranes, beaver, heron

D. Plants: pitchers thistle, lady slippers orchard, dwarf lake iris, trillium, lobe leafed hepatica, apple trees. Animals: loons, eagles, osprey, ruffled grouse, great blue heron, thrush, deer, turkey, chipmunks

E. Plants: birch, hemlock, beech Animal: deer, coyote, beaver, native and migratory birds

F. Plants: showy lady slipper, marsh marigolds, trillium, pitcher thistle Animals: deer, beaver, hare, grouse. Birds: loons, snipes, eagles, piping plover

2. Natural resources which are important to you on Beaver Island :

A. Forests: Aspen / Birch habitat and Oak, hardwood old growths; Need to manage forests as an ecosystem with core, minimally and maximally managed areas.

B. Water access, beaches, forests, trails

C. Water, forest, stars, sand dunes fresh air , ecosystem

D. Water, dunes-open sand, forests, bogs, old field

E. Clean water, wetlands, dunes, beaches, wildlife, mature forests

F. Lakes, beaches, forests, trails

3. Most enjoyed outdoor activities while on Beaver Island :

A. Hunting, fishing, snow shoeing, camping, hiking, birding and mushrooming.

B. hunting, fishing, walking, enjoying beauty

C. Hiking, hunting, wildlife observation, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, biking

D. Hiking, biking, kayaking, hunting, fishing, birding

E. trail use, hunting, fishing, water sports

F. fishing, hunting, hiking, looking-enjoying the beauty

4&6. Most important natural resources to the economy and Quality of Life of Beaver Island :

A. Water quality and habitat and forest ecosystems and preservation, management and use.

B. Beaches and Lakes, Forests, Tails, Atmosphere, Wildlife for hunting, history

C. Clean Air, Water Quality, sense of solitude, low impact living, keeping condition of the island

D. Water, terrestrial habitat diversity, forests

E. clean water, healthy shore line, wildlife exploitation, diverse ecosystem

F. all are important. Harbor, diversity, beaches, hiking history, natural beauty, tranquility, hunting, fishing

5. Potential benefits and disadvantages of having trails designated as ORV / No ORV:

A. There should be both. Some older and disabled folks cannot enjoy the forest without an ORV. Properly used, ORVs are no threat to the environment.

B. Benefits, snowmobiles, access for hunters, handicap exception. Con- no enforcement, damage to ecology

C. Benefit-access, Disadvantage—be on statewide map, inundated with tourist ORV, erosion, lack of enforcement

D. Benefit--Keep ORV's out of other areas, allows access, bring in more visitors. Disadvantages:

Fragile environment, noise factor, open to more abuse, wildlife—scaring off, destruction, human injury

E. Benefit—easy access for hunters &disabled. Disadvantage—no quiet spots, noise pollution, damage to flora &fauna, pollution

F. Benefit—accessible to hunters, handicapped. Disadvantage: fragile ecology, no enforcement

7. Pro's and con's to bringing in mast trees such as hickory, oak and chestnut trees to replace or supplement mast production now that American beech is in decline due to beech bark disease: A. Mast trees are necessary, but planting would be expensive and should be planned carefully.

B. Pro—all wildlife that eat nuts, Con-probably bring some other disease

C. Pro-increase diversity, Con-bring in disease, becomes exotics

D. Pro—supplements wildlife food, increases forest diversity, increased disease resistance

Con—introduction of more disease and invasives, cost factor, maintenance of young trees, inspection of trees

E. Pro-replaces mast lost to beech disease. Con-unknown consequences

F. long term process—food for wildlife, beauty, future benefit. Con-expense, need large trees to avoid browse.

8.   Challenges and opportunities to supporting and monitoring the biodiversity of our island's forests.

A.Ecosystem management of all forest habitats is critical to maintaining the character of Beaver Island . Deciding how to designate core, minimally and maximally managed areas as well as what hardwoods to plant will require advice and counsel from a professional forester.

B. warm bodies and agreeing on a plan based on information, solve other problems then hire an administrator

C. need to write specific ways to monitor in master plan, hard work, no formalized monitoring system, opportunity--could have CMU monitor during class trips/ research

D. Challenge: humans, remoteness, limiting non-natives, education about non natives, funding, monitoring transfer of invasives, who is in charge, local, state, fed?, building consensus

Opportunity : remoteness, monitoring by volunteers, education, increase, maintain habitat diversity

E. Challenges: both state and private ownership, time resources & expertise to monitor, Opportunity : controlled environment, possible to keep invasives in check, seen as a model

F. Effort—warm bodies, agreeing on a plan, dollars

9. What are potential benefits and disadvantages to having areas remain wild core areas:

A. See 8 above

B. a comparison to managed areas

C. no disadvantage, advantage-wildness

D. benefits-gene pool, self-replicating species, beauty, cheap, doesn't cost $

Disadvantage, diversity decreases, diseases destroy loss of certain species, less healthy, increased fire danger

E. Increase & sustain biodiversity and wildlife, serve as benchmarks, Disadvantage—public misunderstanding of use

F. these areas already exist, maintaining them will give an opportunity to learn/ compare with managed

10. Topics to learn more about concerning Beaver Island's natural resources in the future:

A. QDM, wildlife habitat management, value of old growth forests, ecosystems planning, fishing, shorelines and Lake Michigan pollution and clean up (e.g. zebra mussels and Asian carp).

B. logging, tourism, management of outer islands, Inland Lakes

C. maintain 7 draw in song birds, how best to manage lots for forest, inland lakes-owners rights

D. Who is in charge? Leadership?, waterfront aquatics, dune preservation, geologically historical site preservation, invasive species—identification, monitoring & control, landscapting with native species

E. Featured species, update on beech—how to dispose, state forestry plan for BI, State Game Area Plan, regular updates from DNR, invasive species update—specific to BI, Health of Inland Lakes—Is fox lake disappearing? Are lakes disappearing?

F. economic analysis of tourism, logging, management of outer islands, inland lakes

11. Beaver Island Forest and Wildlife Vision Statement:

A. Use our pristine resources to improve the island economy and quality of life by insuring optimal amounts of core, minimally and maximally managed forest habitats.


C. Walk softly. Sustain deer, woodcock and ruffled grouse, advertise, talk up song birds, prevent exotics, invasives

D. To promote and maintain the unique character of BI's physical structure and habitat for the enjoyment of future generations

E. We're all about diversity.

F. Beaver island reveres the natural environment and wishes to pass it along to future generations with little alteration . The environment is sustainable and balances enjoying & enhancing our water, beaches, wildlife and forests with economic benefits.

(There were a few hours of video and it might take a while before it is processed. The videos will be posted as they are uploaded)

Video pan from control booth of the audience in the morning  

Welcome, Keynote Address -- Eric R. Myers

Our Forest of the Future / Effects of Land Management Decisions on Our Forests

Forest Succession and Sustainability Eric R. Myers -- Ph.D. Forestry, MSU




  Unique Communities and Invasive Species Phyllis Higman -- MI Natural Features Inventory



Private Land Management ( Forest Management and Conservation Easements) Tom Bailey -- Little Traverse Conservancy


Land Management Decisions and Wildlife: A look at four important game species and management options for landowners.  Eric Ellis -- Conservation Resource Alliance


Song Birds and Eco-Tourism Kay Charter -- Saving Birds thru Habitat


Our Beaver Island Forests Today- Beaver Island Forest Resources – Past Impacts, Current Conditions and the Future Brian Mastenbrook -- MI DNRE

Brian Mastenbrook was delayed due to planes not flying, but he took the boat and was able to present after lunch.


Scheduled for the afternoon included round table discussions wheres pecific questions were discussed in groups. The overall objective was to begin a dialog on working to reach island consensus for Beaver Island forests and wildlife. After the round table discussions each group was to present their conclusions and generate new questions. There was also a panel discussion by experts on issues raised including discussion of the questions from the roundtable and most importantly the "Where do we go from here?" will be determined.

This day was sponsored in part by: The Beaver Island Association, The Beaver Island Wildlife Club, Island Airways, and Peaine Township.