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Contact: Bruce Leutscher, 906-387-2680
(Munising, MICH.) During the week of June 10, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore will have a contractor felling more than 200 diseased beech trees along Miners Castle Road. The work will take place along a one mile stretch of road north of the Miners Falls Road intersection. The felling operation is expected to occur over a three day period beginning Monday with ground crews conducting additional cleanup work for an unspecified amount of time afterwards.
During this time Miners Castle Road will remain open to one lane of vehicle traffic. Park employees will be conducting traffic control during the operation and the public is asked to please slow down and obey signs and flaggers.
This operation is in response to wide spread beech bark disease, a non-native disease complex introduced to northeast North America around 1890. Beech bark disease symptoms were first identified at Pictured Rocks in 2001. Since that time the park has been monitoring progression of the advancing front of the disease while planning and effecting the removal of hazard trees from areas where targets exist (facilities, picnic areas, parking lots, etc.) while the killing advances. The killing front has now spread from east to west through Pictured Rocks, resulting in a high mortality rate for beech trees.
"The park is felling the many diseased beech trees along Miners Castle Road and other areas of the park to protect park visitors," according to Bruce Leutscher, Chief of Science and Natural Resources. "The operation will also lessen the probability of a catastrophic blow down event that would temporarily close areas of the park and require an emergency response. According to National Park Service policy, felled trees will remain in place on the ground and return to the biomass where they will help replenish soils and help support the next generation of trees that follow."
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