5 Best Places to Visit in Michigan

My Journeys To Old Growth For This Blog Have Ended, But In Some Ways My Relationship With Old Growth Has Just Begun. I Now Know What It Is Like To Be In The Heart Of A Forest Unmanaged By Humans. Time After Time, In The Depths Of The Forest, I Was Surprised By The Experience Of Beauty. Author And Poet Frederick Turner Said, “The Experience Of Beauty Is A Recognition Of The Deepest Tendency Or Theme Of The Universe As A Whole.”

5 Best Places to Visit in Michigan Photo Gallery



If The Universe Has A Direction, I Can Think Of None Better Than Toward The Beautiful. Nature Writer Susan Zwinger, Who Also Traveled Alone In Her Truck, Wrote, “I Believe That Our Salvation As A Species Will Come Through The Revival Of The Sense Of Beauty, Our Wanting It Above All Else; Through It A Vital Need To Preserve Nature Arrives.” As We Develop Our Sense Of Beauty, I Believe We Will Come To Prefer Old Growth To Gross Income.

Some People I Have Met Feel Threatened By That Idea. They Say I Am Unrealistic. “Don’T You Live In A Wood-Framed House, Burn Wood For Heat, And Print Your Words On Tree Fiber?” Well, Yes, I Do, And I Plan To Continue Doing So. I Can Accept That Some Percentage Of Our Forests Will Be Cleared And Developed, Whether For Farming Or For Building, And That Some Percentage Will Be Managed For Timber Resources. But I Cannot Accept That Those Uses Should Add Up To 99 Percent, As They Do Now In Most Eastern States. I Am Just Asking For Some Balance, For Some Places Where Forests Can Grow Old.

Now That I Have Been To At Least One Old-Growth Forest In Every State East Of The Mississippi River (Perhaps A Record Of Some Sort), I Am Frequently Asked What My Favorites Are. Choosing An Order Would Be Impossible, But My Top Four Are Cook Forest In Pennsylvania, The Porcupine Mountains In

Michigan, Sipsey Wilderness In Alabama, And Congaree National Park In South Carolina. These Are The Places I Keep Urging Others To Visit So They, Too, Will See And Understand What Our Land Aspires To Be, And What It Can Perhaps Be Again In More Places, Given Enough Time. When I Think About What These Four Hold In Common, Besides Their Old-Growth Status, I See That They Each Cover Vast Acreage. In These Expanses, Many Tree Communities Can Exist, And Many Animal Communities Can Find The Food And Shelter They Require And Of Course, The Two Are Related. Although The Smaller Bits Of Old Growth Are Just As Lovely When One Is Sitting In Their Midst, They Do Not Cannot Function Ecologically In The Same Way As A Large Expanse Of Forest.

The Struggle To Preserve Our Oldest Forests Is Far From Over, But There Is Good News Along With The Bad. The Land Trust Movement Is Growing As More And More Landowners Decide To Protect Their Property For The Benefit Of Future Generations And To Preserve Habitat For The Many Other Life Forms That Live With Us. Foresters Are Waking Up To What Is Happening. The Nature Conservancy Continues To Bid On Any Old-Growth Remnants That Come Up For Sale, Thanks To The Generosity Of Its Donors.

Many People Do Care. I Meet Them Every Day. They Give Me Hope That What I Dream Really Is Possible: We Will So Love And Appreciate Old-Growth Forests That We Will Not Only Stop The Cutting Of Those That Remain, But Also Be Moved To Create Future Old-Growth Forests Places That Have Been Cut Over In The Past, But Where We Have The Foresight To Say, “No, Not Again.” This Could Be Our Generation’S Unique Legacy: More Old Growth Instead Of Less. If We Could Do It, We Would Be The First Generation In Recorded History To Do So.

I Was Encouraged When I Learned Recently That A Proposal Had Been Put Forward To Create An Old-Growth National Park, Which Would Link Many Existing Old-Growth Forests In California, Oregon, And Washington And Bring Them Under Federal Protection.

I Have Started Working Toward My Dream Of An Old-Growth Forest Network. I Invite You To Be A Part Of That Quest. Please Contact Me Via Www. Amongtheancient.Com, And We’Ll See What We Can Do Together.

Recently, I Was Invited To See A Massive Tree Just Ten Miles From My Office. I Was Thrilled To Recognize The Patterns Of An Old-Growth Forest: Large Trees Of Many Different Species, Standing Snags, Downed Logs In Varying Stages Of Decomposition, An Undulating Forest Floor, A Deep Layer Of Litter And Duff, The Songs Of Forest Birds, The Feeling Of Joy, The Presence Of Beauty.

The Absentee Landowner Was Convinced To Sell The Forest To The Nature Conservancy, And They Awarded Me A Grant To Study It; My Science Calls Me Back. Since My Travels Ended, I Have Been Spending My Days In The Local Forests With Students From The University. Together We Are Recording Tree Species, Sizes, And Spacing. We Are Using Statistics, Measurements In Centimeters, And Computer Spreadsheets To Describe These Special Places Of Dappled Light. Satellites Help Us Keep Track Of Our Plot Locations. The Students Have Learned The Latin Names Of The Trees.

But I Haven’T Forgotten What I Learned About Beauty; That, Too, I Have Subjected To Scientific Examination. After Testing Hundreds Of University Students, I Learned That Knowledge Makes Little Difference In What We Perceive As “Beautiful” In A Forest. What Seems To Matter Most Is The Age Of The Trees: The Older They Are, The More Beautiful They Are. Well, How About That?

These Lines By Poet T. S. Eliot Are Familiar, But Now I Hear Them In A New Way:

We Shall Not Cease From Exploration And The End Of All Our Exploring Will Be To Arrive Where We Started And Know The Place For The First Time.

Through The Unknown, Unremembered Gate When The Last Of The Earth Left To Discover Is That Which Was The Beginning;

To Know This Place, Our Planetary Home, Entirely Is An Impossible Task. But There Are Some Places We Can Go And Some Things We Can Learn During Our Time Here That Will Make Our Experience Of Life Richer. These Places And This Knowledge Bring A Sense Of Connection Often Lacking In Our Everyday Lives. We Can Go There. We Can Put Our Brief Lives In Perspective. We Can Be Surrounded By Beauty And Mystery. We Can Get To Old Growth. I’Ll See You There.

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Michigan Bucket List: Best Stops on a Winter UP Road Trip

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