Helping 1,000 Michigan landowners create plans to use and enjoy their forests

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State Forester Deb Begalle, presents aplaque to Jerry Grossman and a new Stihl chainsaw to Amber and Mike Koteskey.

Mike and Amber Koteskey recently bought 20 acres in Mackinac County because they wanted their own place to have fun in the woods. Now, they enjoy all four of Michigan’s seasons in their forest. When they realized they could use some help taking care of their woods, they called Grossman Forestry in Newberry.

Jerry Grossman started his forestry business in 1990. Grossman Forestry now has seven foresters on staff who provide services for landowners large and small in the eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula. Grossman and his staff are active members in the Society of American Foresters and the Association of Consulting Foresters. The Koteskeys’ plan is the 1,000th forest stewardship plan Grossman Forestry has developed.

Grossman recommended a forest stewardship plan for the Koteskeys to help the couple identify their goals and guide their management decisions. Grossman said a written plan is a necessary tool and great investment to help landowners accomplish all sorts of things – wildlife habitat, recreation, ecosystem services, timber harvests and more. Grossman Forestry requires its clients to develop a custom plan before helping them work towards their forest management goals.

“Foresters are key partners with landowners in Michigan to develop plans that ensure our forests are sustainable for generations to come,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division and Michigan’s state forester.

About 6,500 forest stewardship plans have been created statewide since the program started in 1991. No other forestry company in Michigan has developed more than 350 plans.

The Koteskeys joined the Grossman Forestry Tree Farm Group to connect with other landowners and to certify their forest management with the American Tree Farm System. Tree Farm recognizes landowners who and exemplify its standards of sustainability. 

“Completing 1,000 stewardship plans for family forest owners in Michigan is an amazing accomplishment. Jerry Grossman has been a tireless advocate for family forest owners and stewardship of their land,” said Paul DeLong of the American Forest Foundation. “By helping landowners enter the American Tree Farm System, Jerry and his staff have provided them access to third-party forest certification, which helps tell the world about the great work these landowners do on their land.”

Grossman is a strong advocate for his profession and the landowners he serves, said Shannon McCabe of the Association of Consulting Foresters. 

“Jerry Grossman epitomizes ACF’s core values of professional and ethical excellence,” McCabe said. “This milestone is a testament to Jerry and his staff’s dedication to helping forest landowners meet their objectives.”

Landowners have many reasons to develop forest stewardship plans. Many people need a plan to enroll in the Qualified Forest or Commercial Forest programs, which lower their property taxes for making a commitment to manage their forests. Plans help landowners certify their exemplary stewardship through forest certification programs such as the American Tree Farm System or the Forest Stewardship Council. Some landowners use their plans to obtain financial assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to plant trees, treat forest health problems, build stream crossings or complete other projects. Many landowners want plans to prepare for a timber sale, improve wildlife habitat, protect nature or enhance recreation in their woods.

“The DNR relies on private sector foresters to help our 400,000 forest landowners in Michigan. Jerry Grossman is a very good partner who provides great service to many landowners and leadership among foresters,” said Mike Smalligan, the DNR’s forest stewardship coordinator.

Dennis McDougall of the U.S. Forest Service said the agency is pleased to partner with Grossman Forestry and the DNR to help landowners.

“Conserving woodlands and sustainable management of private forests benefits everyone in Michigan,” he said.

The Forest Stewardship Program was established in the 1990 Farm Bill and is a partnership between the USFS, the DNR and private-sector foresters to help landowners manage, protect and enjoy their woods. With annual funding from Congress and the USFS, the DNR provides a small cost-share to help the landowner with the cost to develop a Forest Stewardship Plan.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/ForestStewardship.

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