The Community Forest Model is based on a high degree of involvement from stakeholders in the future management of the property. The Yellow Dog River Community Forest will align with the model and implement a Public Participation Process that will gather the maximum amount of input from the community.
There are four sectors of community that will be involved during the Public Participation Process in the planning, establishment, and management of the proposed forest. These sectors include the Community Forest Committee, Community Forest Partners,the public, and future landowners.
Community Forest Committee
YDWP began reaching out in 2013 to potential stakeholders who could play a long term role in the planning and management of the project. A Community Forest Committee was assembled and built upon since then and is now composed of members including Trout Unlimited, Powell Township School, U.P. Whitetails, Ishpeming Township, Marquette County Conservation District, Upper Peninsula Land Conservancy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division, Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve, and Member at Large. The role of committee members will be to guide the process of gathering public input, provide their specific expertise, compile information, make informed decisions, and approve a Community Forest Plan.
Community Forest Partners
Several organizations have confirmed that they will partner with the committee during implementation of the Community Forest Plan. Those organizations include the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and the Cedar Tree Institute. The role of partners will be to provide assistance with on the ground efforts to effectively manage the forest. This could include restoration, trail building, and/or monitoring. It is anticipated that more partners will be added as the project progresses.
At the heart of a Community Forest is the community itself. The Community Forest Committee will gather input via surveys, public meetings, social media, as well as other methods. In addition, the public will be able to elect a Member at Large to sit on the Community Forest Committee. At this time, two Community Planning Sessions are scheduled for November 1st and December 6th from 6:30pm to 7:00pm in the Community Room of the Peter White Public Library. The November meeting will focus on informing the public about the project and the natural features. In addition, the Committee will provide a draft Vision Statement and list of Desired Community Uses that will be up for discussion. The public will be invited to engage with the Committee after a presentation using break out sessions. The December meeting will focus on developing implementation strategies for the Desired Community Uses. In addition, the public will be encouraged to provide input on long term stewardship activities. All information will be compiled and a final plan will be completed by February 2017.
The Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve is the legal landowner. Their role is to ensure the Community Forest Model is being followed and that all decisions made will comply with the intent of the project. They will have financial and legal responsibility for the forest.