ROGERS CITY - The Presque Isle Conservation District is working on a management plan for a 270-acre park and outdoor recreation area.
After adopting a list of goals for the Herman Vogler Conservation Area, the district is working on ways to implement them, district Administrator Ralph Stedman said. The governmental entity lacks the funding to make the goals a reality, and Stedman hopes the management plan will help the district apply for grants or other money.
"The conservation district property is open to the public, and so we're going to try and do things there which make the property more attractive and more informative," Stedman said.
The Herman Vogler Conservation area straddles the Rogers City and Rogers Township boundary, west of US-23, and split by the Trout River. A dam on the river forms a small man-made pond, and trails take hikers through the property's woods and wetland. Along with fishing and hiking, the land is also open to small game hunting, conservation district Chairman Julian Pilarski said.
Conservation district board members approved a list of goals for improving the trail system, increasing educational uses, formulating a forestry plan and creating an inventory of plans, animals and natural features. Learning opportunities could be increased both through informational kiosks and by meeting with local educators to help them make lesson plans.
Monitoring and maintaining Trout River dam is another priority, according to the goals list. The district would like to raise enough funds over the long term to replace the dam, either through grants or contributions. In the meantime, the district will work with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service to keep a barrier against sea lampreys.
The district has lumbered some of the land before, although it has become neglected over the years due to state budget cuts, Pilarski said. Bridges across the Trout River have started to show their age as well. Both are projects the district would like to address in the management plan.
Once finished, the management plan could help the conservation district fund these goals by applying for grants, Stedman said. Most granting agencies want to see such management plans before considering an application. The plan could help the district overcome a hurdle it faces in securing grant money as a government entity.
"We're kind of a unique category here," he said. "We're not local government, we're not a (nonprofit organization), so there are some things we're not eligible for just because of the status."
This lack of funding could also hamper the creation of the plan itself, Pilarski said. It's expected to cost about $4,000. In the meantime, the advisory committee is seeking help from the district's forester to come up with a sort of interim plan.
"Until we get enough money to do a formal plan, we're trying to do something in the meantime," he said.
Jordan Travis can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5688