Volunteers for the North Country NST were looking for a venue to obtain chainsaw certification training and Pictured Rocks NL was seeking a workforce to clear diseased beech trees from the Log Slide Overlook area of the park. The two joined forces on May 16th and 17th to produce a “win-win” result for all involved.
After weeks of planning and mutual effort, the two-day chainsaw certification course became a reality for attendees from both sites. Ten volunteers of the North Country NST and two staff from Pictured Rocks NL completed both classroom and field training exercises to obtain chainsaw certification. The trail funded the contracted trainer who facilitated the course, while the park identified selected trees to be felled, bucked and limbed to meet its management goals.
Many American beech trees within the park have been weakened or killed by beech bark disease, which is sweeping through both the park and much of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Trainees joined six park staff from maintenance and natural resource divisions in removing 37 large trees from the Log Slide area. Removal of the trees enhanced visitor safety and prevented potential future need for a large scale response if many weakened trees were to fall at once. Pictured Rocks is facing similar situations at other visitor use areas within the park due to beech bark disease.
Trails volunteers, who traveled from as far away as eastern Ohio to participate in the training course, will now apply their new skills in furthering trail construction and maintenance projects throughout portions of the North Country NST in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Ohio.