ALPENA -- The Alpena and Montmorency Conservation District will be hosting a free forestry color tour through Maple Ridge, Long Rapids, and Green townships Saturday, while making stops at a variety of sites along the way. Forester Ben Nowakowski said the conservation will host the unique tour for the first time in decades.
"We received a grant from the Department of Agriculture to put on an educational event, so we're going to tour the countryside," he said.
According to Nowakowski, the one-day free color tour will give residents and visitors an opportunity to learn more about natural resources, tree planting, and local invasive species.
"We'll have one charter bus that will go through several townships to look at establishing plantations and windbreak establishments. We'll also discuss tree planting, right and wrong ways, and NRCS people will be on the bus to answer any questions," he said.
Other topics that will be discussed and seen throughout the tour include competition control for tree planting, red pine plantation managements, aspen management sites, successful autumn olive control in fields and forests, and the effects of untreated oak wilt.
"Invasive species are a huge concern. We've done projects on eliminating the autumn olive, a 6-to-15-foot tall shrub with red berries. It's not native to our area and takes over habitats and becomes problematic for fields and pastures," he said. "Our major concern is that autumn olives out compete trees, it's a good thing to get rid of."
The tour also will stop for lunch at a local park where presentations on timber sales, cost share programs, and forestry assistance will be discussed. Lunch will be provided by the Alpena and Montmorency Conservation Districts on the tour.
"The weather is supposed to be nice, we're going to cover a wide range of forestry topics," Nowakowski said.
The tour will leave from the Alpena Walmart parking lot located on M-32 at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. Call the conservation at 356-3596 extension 3 to reserve your lunch and a seat on the bus.
Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5687.