Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gunflint Scenic Byway to Prepare Vegetative Management Plan

Cook County Highway Department serving as the fiscal agent for the Gunflint Trail's Scenic Byway Committee yesterday hired Jim Raml, Seagull Lake resident, to draft a Vegetative Management Plan for the Gunflint Trail. The proposed plan, according to the Plan's initial proposal shall seek to:

• Identify the historic and current forest and non-forest vegetative composition and reasons for change. This would be accomplished through extensive research of past and current Superior National Forest and Department of Natural Resource management plans, environmental assessments and other documents, as well as on-the-ground inventory of tree and herbaceous species and age-class composition.

• Prepare maps, dealing with property ownership, forest age class and species composition, non-native invasive species distribution, desired future conditions, areas in need of some type of management and potential future project areas to be undertaken by government agencies, private contractors or Byway volunteers.

• Identify threats to the natural historic vegetative composition, such as invasive non-native species and climate change, as well as accepted practices to ameliorate such threats.

• Identify desired future conditions and strategies to achieve these stated objectives.

• Identify past, present and future resource extraction activities. Explain the need for such management activities, how this is accomplished and the end results of such practices.

The $15,000 funds to prepare the Plan came from the Minnesota Department of Transportation with a local contribution by the Gunflint Trail Association. Raml is expected to take about one year to write the Vegetative Plan. Several public hearings will be held on the Gunflint Trail to solicit public comments on the plan as it is developed. A Contact Committee composed of Jim Johnson, Nancy Seaton, and Ted Young representing the Byway Committee and Shae Kosmalski County Highway Engineer, Representing the County will supervise Raml's preparation of the Plan.


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