• Indianhead Point stands tall along the Pictured Rocks. Photo copyright Craig Blacklock

    Pictured Rocks

    National Lakeshore Michigan

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Is Clear Cutting Really a Clear Issue?

Students will become aware of the issues surrounding the logging method of clear cutting timber in the forest.

In areas where logging and timber are sources of the economy hunters, loggers and the community have long argued the benefits of clear cutting. Most seem to feel that clear cutting is bad for wildlife habitat and what is responsible for making the small game hunting as well as deer hunting bad. Other points of argument include that by taking all timber, the forest does not have a chance to recover enough to give a good harvest of marketable timber.

This activity is a good one to begin a lesson on animal habitat and forest growth patterns, as well as learning the implications of clear cutting the forest setting. One problem that should be focused on at the end of the debate: which is detrimental - clear cutting itself or the rate that lumber is harvested.

Have students count by twos to separate the room. It is better to not allow a choice of sides because the target of the lesson is to make students aware of both sides of the issue. A stronger argument can be often posed by one who is on the side opposite the one naturally chosen.

None needed



1. Separate the room into two groups.

2. Assign each side of the room a position of the clear cutting debate. This is often best done by pulling it out of a can.

3. Begin by giving the background information to the students.

4. The team opposing clear cutting has the first three minutes to make an opening statement including reason against it. Advise students to write down these reasons for errors in logic.

5. Team supporting clear cutting opens with a three minute statement, also giving reasons behind their position.

6. Students have a two minute planning time where they discuss opposing arguments.

7. Rebuttals begin with a question and answer period, each team doing its best to use points and counterpoints.

8. Use your judgment, when you feel enough time has passed.

9. Two minute closing statements by each team.

10. Decide a winner if there is a clear one.


Did You Know?

Chapel Lake is shown with fall colors, a beautifu view of the northwoods in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Chapel Lake is one of several plunge pool lakes created by post glacial rivers after the Marquette advance of the most recent ice age. Its greatest depth is 140 feet. Other plunge pool lakes include Deer Lake and Ginpole Lake in Alger County, home of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. More...