New ‘Gold Mine’ Grouse Enhanced Management Site in Iron County

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Gov. Snyder and DNR Director Creagh planting tree

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce that the first Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS) developed on private land is available for hunters this fall — the “Gold Mine” GEMS in Iron County.

Since 2014, the DNR and various partners have now worked together to develop and maintain 10 GEMS in the Upper Peninsula and four in the Lower Peninsula. These intensively-managed, accessible, walk-in areas provide hunters outstanding places to grouse and American woodcock.

The “Gold Mine” GEMS is located on Plum Creek property in near Iron River, off Gold Mine Road. This new GEMS is over 550 acres with roughly 3 miles of hunter walking trails.

A dedication ceremony for this new GEMS will be held from 10 a.m. to noon CDT (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EDT) Thursday, Sept. 24 in the parking lot at the site. (Directions are provided below.)

“We are truly energized by this partnership and how it is making good hunting opportunities a centerpiece of the Plum Creek’s forest management,” said Terry Minzey, DNR U.P. regional supervisor. “We wanted to have a special dedication for this special Grouse Enhanced Management Site and thank Plum Creek and others for supporting this important project.”

At the dedication ceremony, presentations will be made by DNR staff, Plum Creek, Wildlife Unlimited, the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Wildlife Management Institute. There will be a short tour of the area, followed by a light lunch.

“Popular game, as well as non-game, species in Michigan rely on young forest habitat for nesting and breeding, and we are pleased that our forest management efforts can provide that habitat and support recreational trails for the community,” said Jeff Joseph, Plum Creek senior resource forester.

Those planning to attend the ceremony, please RSVP by Tuesday, Sept. 22 with an email to

People walking on GEMS trail, an old logging road

The “Gold Mine” GEMS project was made possible through a DNR Wildlife Habitat Grant in partnership with Plum Creek, Wildlife Unlimited and the Wildlife Management Institute.

Wildlife Habitat Grants provide funding to local, state, federal and tribal units of government, profit or non-profit groups and individuals to assist the DNR wildlife division with developing or improving wildlife habitat for game species. Hunting license dollars help to build the available pool of grant funds.

The DNR’s Grouse Enhanced Management Sites initially debuted in 2014 with seven sites. Seven more have been added for this fall.

Most GEMS are in located remote areas and vary in size from several hundred to several thousand acres. An intensive timber harvest schedule helps to provide great wildlife habitat, and old logging roads are converted to walking trails that offer minimal terrain challenges and provide comfort to hunters who may not be familiar with the area.

Information kiosks are located at all GEMS where hunters can find out where to park and access walking trails, learn about timber management, grouse and woodcock habitat, and discover great discounts from local businesses.

Iron River businesses participating with discounts linked to the “Gold Mine” GEMS area are the Outpost, Northland Super Service and Lakeshore Motel. Additional businesses also giving discounts at the kiosk are Wilderness Sports in Ishpeming and Jay Sporting Goods in Clare and Gaylord.

Michigan GEMS:

Upper Peninsula:
Blue Bill Creek (Gogebic County, Marenisco Township); Cedar River (Menominee County, Cedar River Township); Drummond Island (Chippewa County, Drummond Township); Gold Mine (Iron County, Iron River Township); Halifax (Luce County, McMillan Township); Hazel Swamp (Houghton County, North East Laird Township); Mosinee (Gogebic County, Bessemer Township); Ralph (Dickinson County, West Branch Township); South Marquette (Marquette County, Forsyth Township); Strickler (Mackinac County, Hudson Township)

Lower Peninsula:
Greasy Creek (Montmorency County, Loud Township); LeeGrande Ranch (Cheboygan County, Koehler Township); Lame Duck Foot Access Area (Gladwin County, Bourret Township); Little Betsie (Benzie County, Colfax Township)

Directions to the “Gold Mine” Grouse Enhanced Management Site:

Head west on U.S. 2 from Iron River. Turn right onto Gibb City Road. Continue north on Gibb City Road for 9.2 miles to a T-intersection at Ponozzo Road. Stay to the left on Gibb City Road for another 0.4 miles to U.S. Forest Service Road 3470, which is also known as the Gold Mine Road. Turn left onto Gold Mine Road and go 1.7 miles to the “Gold Mine” GEMS kiosk and parking lot area, which is on the left.

For more information on the DNR’s Grouse Enhanced Management Sites, visit the DNR website at

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