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Illustration: American Forest Management Real Estate Agency

KUWINAU – Amid public outcry based on rampant rumors of logging in several districts of Kevino County, Eric Steer, Regional Manager for American Forest Management (AFM), said there are a couple of topics that need to be cleared up for the public to understand.

“First, AFM does not own this land,” he said, “And that’s what it seems there. We’re the real estate agent in this deal – that’s all. “

TRG still owns the land, he said. TRG Management LP, also known as The Rohatyn Group, has owned a forested area across Kevinau County for the past 15 years and the group has been trying to sell it.

Steer said he didn’t know where the rumors came from that the land was owned by AFM, but said it might be because AFM Real Estate is a local office and therefore easy to yell at.

Another rumor that Stear wants to dispel is that forest properties will be cleared before the sale.

Steer said there are several silvicultural reasons currently logging in Kevino County. According to him, although all the houses are incredibly beautiful and untouched, in terms of timber harvesting, they are not of high quality.

“In some places they cut it”, Stear said, “Plywood does not come out. As for the wood up there, it’s really not very good quality. “

Steer mentioned forestry. Forestry is the art and science of managing the creation, growth, composition, health and quality of forests and woodlands to meet the diverse needs and values ​​of landowners and society, such as wildlife habitat, timber, water resources, restoration and outdoor recreation. stable base. This is achieved by applying various types of silvicultural treatments such as thinning, harvesting, planting, pruning, and other strategies.

A forestry regulation is a document that plans a series of treatments designed to change existing stand structure and stand composition to those that are consistent with management objectives, the US Forest Service said. The recipe usually takes into account environmental, economic and social goals and constraints. In the Forest Service, forestry regulations are prepared or reviewed by a certified forester prior to project implementation or processing. Treatments (including thinning) are intended to improve the growth, quality, strength and composition of the stand after rooting or regeneration to the final harvest. Regeneration treatments (harvesting) are applied to mature plantations in order to establish a new age class of trees.

“People love the word ‘well-defined’, but that’s not what happens here,” he said.

Steer, who has spearheaded efforts to force the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to trade some of TRG’s Keweenaw County land for state land in Houghton County, made a presentation to the Keweenaw County Board of Commissioners at its monthly meeting in August 2018. …

The Hancock City Council of Houghton County, at its regular meeting in December 2018, approved a resolution in support of the land swap between TGR and DNR. The City of Hancock Ordinance # 18-23 states in part that the land swap stabilizes the existing recreational trail system by keeping them on state land, and the proposed land swap enjoys the backing of the Kevinau ATV Club, Kevinau Congress and visitors. Bureau and other local government and economic development groups.

“I would like the state to still buy this,” said Steer, who, like many others, has a stake in Kevino County; he is currently building a house in one of the timber harvesting areas.

Steer said that never, at any level, did he have the power to put the land on the market because AFM does not own it; TRG owns it, and the group had made the decision to sell their holdings in Kevino County long before that.

“The real estate market is strong right now and they are telling me:“ Don’t miss the opportunity ” he said, but at the same time, TRG understands the situation in Kevino County and is still trying to support it.

For example, TRGs in a county are divided into four large blocks: “Point,” includes approximately 10,080 acres: Harbor View, approximately 5,749 acres; Kevinau Alpine, plus or minus 9,769 acres; and Little Betsy Shoreline with 7,063 acres. TRG or AFM will not split these blocks into smaller units for private purchase.

Steer said his phone kept ringing, people asking if they could buy small packages before they even go up for sale.

“This is the kind of interest that exists,” he said, “And we are not going to do that. We don’t. “

At the same time, Stear said, land cannot be sold; there is no way to predict something like that.

“If so, we’ll be back to normal, whatever that means.” he said, “But then we start talking to people about selling the 40s and 80s,” there are people who say, “I want to buy a land there (160 acres) and I don’t care what the price is.” And again, this is exactly what I do not want. “

In an interview with Kevinau County Board of Commissioners Don Peach earlier this week, he said that one of the board’s biggest concerns is the purchase of property by conservation organizations, which the board and many county residents have opposed for years.

Steer said he understands the board’s position because conservation organizations, being non-profit, can exclude large tracts of land from tax lists, while limiting or prohibiting public use of those lands.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series on controversy and misinformation about commercial forest land and logging in Kevinau County.

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