On Saturday, May 16th, 2015 several members of the Flint Regional Chapter, SCI and members from the Ruffed Grouse Society got together to improve the habitat for game on the LeGrande State Game Area just South of Cheboygan, MI. This was the first hands-on conservation project for the Flint Regional Chapter, our goal was to plant Crab Apple trees that will improve the “soft mast” foods for the native wildlife in the state game area. The state game are is 3,000 acres located on M-33 just north of M-68 and is home to grouse, woodcock, deer, elk, bear and turkey.
The project this year was a small project but in a couple of years should greatly help with winter food for all the wildlife where we planted the trees. The members from our chapter included Dennis Gephrey and his wife along with myself and several members of the Ruffed Grouse Society that live in northern Michigan. Together we planted 20 crab Apple trees about 5 feet tall next to some excellent cover habitat added mulch and then fenced them to help prevent deer and elk damage to the new trees.
This was year one for this type of project and doing this as a joint project was exciting for all involved. Next year we would like to get more Flint SCI members involved with this project and create even more habitat for the game in this area. With 3,000 acres, there’s lots of space to improve. With enough members the possibility of utilizing the Aloha State Park would allow for a fun campfire cool down.
This project is part of the Michigan DNR and Ruffed Grouse Society GEMS (Grouse Enhanced Management System) program going on all over our state. The great thing about SCI working on a project of this type is that SCI is not dedicated to one specific animal, we are dedicated to improve hunting and hunting opportunities.
All involved are looking forward to next year’s project and hopefully with more members from the Flint Regional Chapter, we can make for a larger amount of habitat to be planted.
A special thank you to members from both groups for their hard work to improve hunting opportunities.
SCI Board Member
Thanks to all of you for your help and participation this weekend at the LeeGrande Ranch GEMS tree planting project. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and am looking forward to checking on the trees this year and in the future with bird dogs in tow. I hope we can make this a larger project in the future and involve more RGS and SCI members and youth as we improve the habitat on that property.
Regional Wildlife Biologist and Grant Writer
Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society
P.O. Box 43
Traverse City, MI 49685