Use of the Forest

Public use of Saginaw Forest is encouraged. Rules for the public's use include (but are not limited to):

Friday, October 15, 2010

Campfire a seeming success

Although this year's campfire was set two weeks after last years -- and there was much less light -- it actually got off with very little problems. Of course, there was the dock, and everyone having a great time walking around in the still-temperate afternoon/evening air. Of course, too, people were commenting on how nice the new trail to and from the Pall property was.

It was good to see the previous caretakers (H&L) with their baby. It was good, too, to see friends that I hadn't seen for most of the previous year (what with me not taking many classes in SNRE at all now). It was also good to eat a few hotdogs before I had to fulfill my duties as official crier and cross-cut sawing competition manager.

But before that competition was the running of the wadered. The wader races -- like with every event every year with every campfire -- got off without TOO much problems, but this was the first year in very many years in which the Aquatics team didn't manage to win... and which we were the ones that fell into the water. Oh well, we can't win every year, I suppose... Still, it would have been nice, nonetheless.

The food was good, the remaining apples are numerous (I suppose I will start my new apple diet tomorrow -- I wonder how difficult it would be to make pies out of them...), and I might also carve up the five pumpkins (unless I can give them away).

However, without musical entertainment, or perhaps because so many students were away on the quick start to Fall Break (and possibly due to the onset of cold temperatures once the sun set), people all left by 10pm... leaving a silent forest once again, but this time with the detritus of the event. I was half-tempted to go to town with those returning there, to see some more of the evening.

However, I have a forest to tend and a party scene to try and pick up in the still of the night.

Major construction in the front done.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Portajohns are here

The somewhat aptly named "John's Sanitation" dropped off two portajohns.


There will remain one more portajohn that was brought in for the use of the contractors building the pathway and dock (they will have to finish up some pieces of work next week, thus necessitating their portajohn until that time). Hopefully, therefore, revelers will have enough choices in where to go for their call-to-nature (and hopefully, therefore, won't actually go to nature to answer the call).

Trash bins are here

The first of the deliveries for tomorrow's campfire event have arrived:
Trash bins

DSL cable repaired

The DSL cable got cut during the regrading, but yesterday the AT&T repairman came out here to fix it. Although fixed, I personally think that it's running slower than it did before it broke...

Cable spliced together

Anyway, I buried the exposed cable, and hopefully this won't happen again any time soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ramping up for the Campfire

It's is turning out to be a rather slow start to the week out here in the forest. First off: I was half-hoping that the contractors would be out here today, because although the forecast said that there is a chance of rain today, it's been sunny, sunny, sunny, all this morning. (Maybe it's supposed to downpour in the afternoon, though, but in this rising temperature, I'm having my own personal doubts).

It is important that the work on the walkway and the patching of the lawn get done before Thursday, since that's when the deliveries start coming; things that will be difficult to work around once they are in place. (Difficult, but not impossible.)

Also, once the stage has been set with the placement of the tent, I have to then set up the cross-cut sawing competition area: nothing too major, just cumbersome (and I have to ensure that I don't pull out my back while lumbering along with the cumbersome timber). And then mow the lawn one more time (something that I did end up doing yesterday evening, since it was the first day in a couple weeks in which there was no equipment parked on the grass (well... save for two bobcats, one on either end of the lawn).

I'm looking at the bare patches of ground where I pulled out all the saplings and sumac that were encroaching into the lawn and thinking about what sort of seeding mix I should put there: something perhaps that would be nice and thick; discouragement for the sumac and brambles to fill that space back in again. (Well, at least for a summer or two...)

And then there's the question of what I should do with the area around the dock. As it sits, one corner of the end of the dock is not visible from the central front window of the cabin. It would be nice to ensure that all sides of the dock be visible from the cabin, which would mean that I would have to go in along the bank and cut back all the cherry, buckthorn, red osier dogwood, and willow wands that are poking up along the shore. A difficult task, but one that will likely be done after the campfire festivities of this Friday.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Roadway edges cleared

This morning, I awoke (kinda late) to the sound of machinery in the woods. "Odd..." I thought, but went outside to check out what it was.

What it was turned out to be the Bobcat with its shredder attachment that had been parked alongside the main road for the past few days. It turns out that one of the U-M Grounds people had come out today to mow down the edges of the extant roadway -- back to where it should be.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Carrying wood

In an effort to get ready for the upcoming SNRE campfire activities, I needed to find some wood for the cross-cut saw competition. Luckily a pine fell near the cabin, so it didn't make for such a long schlep to the campfire circle.

Still, it did end up bruising my shoulder carrying over four logs:

Wrong sand

The wrong material is out in the forest...

The wrong sand...
so they are removing it today from this pile...

... as well as what they had already spread on the trail.

Hopefully, the crew today won't tear up the grass too much with their equipment while they load up their dumptrucks to truck out the wrong sand.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Please dispose of your dog's droppings

Although the vast majority of people do pick up after their dogs, some people just choose to leave their plastic fecal bags lying in the forest. One of the rules-of-use (and I think its a pretty fair one) is that, "Dog owners must carry out all pet waste; please bring your own doggie bag to do so."

If visitors are going to be walking past the front entrance (not because one has parked a car there, though, of course), they can avail themselves to the use of the trashcan located a few yards inside of the main gate:

(It's the very obvious black, trashcan-looking object to the right of the photo.)

There, dog-owners (or good Samaritans who choose to pick up after those less civic-minded visitors) can add their canine fecal bags to the pile of other such baggies. Once the new bag has been added, make sure that the lid is properly sealing the can and locked down with both handles.

If guests leave by other exits, they should carry their baggies with them out of the forest and dispose of them in a (hopefully) civic-minded manner.

Misty morning ... with a touch of construction equipment

I really like these fall mornings: mist on Third Sister and the sun rising against the ever-more-ruddy far shore. Of course, with construction activities going on related to the larger management plan for the forest, the far-shore colors also have near-shore equipment that creates a somewhat jarring view from what was seen last year.

Sunrise, mist, and contruction

Of course, with the addition of a dock, one can get a little further out into that mist than before...

Forest ecology in the forest

Prof. Ibáñez's Forest Ecology class has been out in Saginaw Forest over the past few weeks, learning and utilizing field methodology for doing (you guessed it) forest ecology.

Sometimes, although you feel like you are in the middle of an idyllic sylvan setting, peer pressure to get the work done can be quite overpowering...

When measuring forest flora, shooting lasers at tree-tops is what is called for in order to determine a plant's height...

...and at other times, taking a standard field tape measure is still the best way to do it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Construction progress

Last week, work on the management plan began, with clearing shoreline brush and reeds for the installation of the dock. Today, thanks to the installation of the supports last Thursday, the work continued apace, with the builders finishing much of the structure of the dock, making it likely that they will finish covering it tomorrow. Next at this site: the installation of a "corduroy path" to allow wheeled access from the drive.

Meanwhile, the construction of the east path was stalled until today, when the siltscreens (straw lining packed in a biodegradable mesh) were installed, and a Bobcat digger was brought in. As of 4PM on Monday, the trail-blazing crew has advanced roughly 30 meters from the east-end of the property, and should be back to the cabin by the end of tomorrow, barring any major problems.

Still, the acts of this team has changed changed the nature of the eastern pathway, transforming it from a narrow footpath first into a cleared path by scraping and cutting away the groundcover vegetation and now into a path cut into the ground for eventual packing with gravel.

Split in the path

Split in the path
Cleared (and slightly widened)

A new pathway is cut

The other part of the construction (the small bridge over the ephemeral stream) is waiting until other things take place: the blazing of the trail and the completion of the dock. Perhaps they will start by tomorrow...?

UPDATE: The photos in the slideshows cover all photos of the building of each structure. Therefore, the timeline of the slideshow goes beyond the description in the text.

Contractors out early

I was lying in bed at 7:30 -- just looking at the ceiling and contemplating the morning -- and I heard two dull thuds. "Hm. Perhaps its a tree falling across the lake," I thought. And then some muffled talking ensued.

A moment before my mind put together these two pieces of information and threw away the notion that the contractors might not come before 9am got me out into the morning chill. Indeed, two had come out, waiting for a third to drop off more lumber for the building of the dock and bridge. Yesss!

The night had not gotten quite down to freezing, and the forecast is calling for another warm spell by the weekend, but I would hazard that autumn is upon us. The mist on the lake was minimal, but looked really nice with the warm colors of the turning leaves behind.