Forestry Assistance 

Through the Forestry Assistance Program we are able to provide, as a public service, forest management consultation to private landowners of Oceana, Newaygo, and Muskegon Counties.  Whether you use your forested property for hunting, fishing, bird watching, timber production, outdoor recreation, or to assure future generations can enjoy the land - we can help you better plan, understand, manage, protect and utilize your forest resources.

When you make an appointment for a free assessment, your conservation district forester will provide customized information about your property like aerial photographs and soil survey information. During the assessment they will ask questions about your goals, objectives, and previous management history while completing a quick inventory of your land. They will also provide you with information about state and federal assistance programs for private landowners, and help connect you to local professionals who can provide you with the services you need.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development partner to fund conservation districts across the state to support quality forestry assistance delivered at the local level. Private landowners with forested property in Oceana, Newaygo and Muskegon counties who are interested in the Forestry Assistance Program should contact Michael Paling, at (231) 861-5600 Ex. 3005.

Why Forestry?

Since the first settlers arrived in North America, forests around the continent have felt their impact.  After decades of over utilization, the focus of the forestry industry and envrionmental groups shifted to a more conservation oriented mind-set.  However, increased conservation efforts without forestry had unintended consequences.  The above photo series illustrates the transition for a natural ponderosa pine ecosystem to a forest free of management and natural disturbance.  The end result is a stand with poor productivity, too many trees per acre, and vulnerability to disease.  Modern day forestry practices seek to emulate natural disturbance regimes and simulate the natural processes that maintain stand health, productivity, and value.


For Landowners

Qualified Forest Program 

This years deadline for submitting QFP applications is September 1st.  

Private landowner's holding between 20-640 acres of forested land may be eligible for the Qualified Forest Program. This program provides tax benefits for landowners who have a management plan written by a Certified Forester in place for their property. If you wish to pursue more information for registering your property under the Qualified Forest Program, you can find more info by following this link.

USDA-NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)           

The NRCS EQIP program is a voluntary programthat provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers and forest landowners. To see if your forested property is eligible for participation in the EQIP program, please visit the website below.

A step by step guide for registration for EQIP:

Forest Stewardship Program

The Forest Stewardship Program is a service offered by the US Forest Service, administered by the Michigan DNR.  The program helps to provide cost-sharing grants for landowners to have a management plan written.  Additionally, the FSP provides grants for activities that promote forest managment education for non-industrial private landowners.  You can visit the website below for more information.

CFA Land in Michigan       

Are you looking for a new area to hunt or fish this summer?  Are you looking for potential tax programs to benefit your property?  The Commercial Forest Program may be what you're looking for.  CFA land pays reduced taxes on their land in exchange for allowing hunting and fishing on their property.  If you're interested in registering your property in CFA and would like more information, contact the conservation district at (231) 861-5600 Ex. 105.  Additionally, check out the DNR web page below for more information, including where CFA land is located in your county:

CFA Land by county


For Professionals

The Forestry Assistance Program works to provide an initial professional contact with landowners who are interested in forest management on their property. Our role is to provide general guidance and information and facilitate referrals to other public and private resource professionals.

Qualified foresters interested in pursuing the project(s) described below should respond to the District Forester for Oceana, Newaygo and Muskegon counties within four weeks of the posting. You may include additional relevant information in your responses pertaining to the project. Forester Michael Paling will then forward all emails received to the landowner. Landowners are encouraged to contact all of the consultants who reply in a timely fashion, but the choice remains with the individual landowner. Our office will follow up with landowners to ensure they get the assistance they need.

Please contact us if you would like more information on any project. We may have other information such as notes, maps, or digital photographs.

Service Request

Request Number: 62-17-20

Date Posted: June 22, 2017
Location: Ensley Township
Acres: 20
Forest Type: Pine and aspen

Respond by: July 6, 2017
Contact: Michael Paling at (231) 861-5600 ext 3005 or michael.paling@macd.org

Landowner Needs:

This landowner is interested in having his property harvested to improve the wildlife habitat. The property is mostly planted red pine with black oak mixed within and an aspen stand at the end of the property. The aspen stand is about 3 acres in size and is at about 110 ft2/acre of basal area. 

Service Request

Request Number: 62-17-18

Date Posted: 6/14/17
Location: Sheridan Township, Newaygo County
Acres: 15
Forest Type: Northern Hardwoods

Respond by: 6/28/17
Contact: Michael Paling at (231) 861-5600 ext 3005 or michael.paling@macd.org

 Landowner Needs:

This landowner is interested in having a timber harvest. Their goals are to maintain forest health and create some income from a harvest. The forest contains a mix of red oak, hard and soft maple, hickory, and beech. The current basal area of the forest is sitting at about 100 ft2/acre. Average DBH is at about 16 inches, with many trees over 20 inches.