Nara Property

Click on the picture for a poster about the project!

The undergraduate FERM team has been working with the city of Houghton since Spring of 2005 to develop the recently aquired NARA property for recreation. The property is located west of US-41, just south of the city of Houghton and already contains a network of trails. The students are responsible for the following work:

Completed Work (Spring 2005)

  • Map existing network of trails using GPS/GIS technology.
  • Mark property lines.
  • Develop a "cover type" map showing the major forest types.
  • Recommend enhancements/additions to the trail network.
  • Recommend sites for a sledding hill.
  • Recommend sites for a canoe launch.
  • Conduct a timber inventory and make recommendations on how to improve the recreational value of the property (i.e. remove high risk trees along trails, planting for diversity, etc...)
  • Develop a written report of their work for presentation to the city of Houghton and the Nara committee.

Completed Work (Fall 2005)

  • Identified and marked hazard trees along the trails.
  • Flagged in two sled hills and the "core loop" trail.
  • Advised the city that hazard trees would be an ongoing problem, given the advanced age of the aspen and paper birch on the east 12 acres of the property. Asked the city to consider a timber harvest of most aspen and paper birch, which they agreed to.
  • Came up with silvicultural prescriptions to convert the site over to white pine/red oak. This prescription entails leaving scattered, healthy aspen about 30 feet apart, along with most existing pole size hardwoods and all white pine. A small patch cut was also recommended to keep aspen as a component. The prescription should leave about 50% canopy cover which will favor white pine underplanting along with some natural regeneration from existing seed trees.
  • Crusised the harvest area to get approximate harvest volume (200 cords).
  • Found a logger to cut the 12 acre site on short notice and obtained a reasonable bid.
  • Signed logging contract with cutting to be complete by January 1st, 2006.
  • Started harvest inspections at end of fall term.

Completed Work (Spring 2006, Fall 2007, Summer 2007)

  • Finish harvest inspections (done).
  • Review scale slips and summarize volumes (bolts, pulpwood, logs) by species (done).
  • Finish cleanup work on sled hills (cut small saplings, slash removal, etc...) (done).
  • Order and install trail, tree and boundary signs (in progress).
  • Design, create and install interpretive sign at trailhead (in progress).
  • Underplant white pine seedlings. (ongoing)
    We are going to try some fall planting due to the fact that the last two summers have been extremely dry and the survival rate is not satisfactory. We also switched to plugs from bare root stock. A study is ongoing to track the survival of bare root vs. plugs and spring planting vs. fall planting.
  • Monitor seedlings for health and competition. Remove competing vegetation as needed (ongoing).
  • Seed and mulch sled hill (City of Houghton)

Click on the images below for a sample of some of the maps the team has developed.