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 our District Forester 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 forest industry and environmental 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

The purpose of the Qualified Forest Program is to encourage private forestland owners to manage their land in an economically viable and environmentally sustainable manner. Landowners receive a tax exemption for developing and implementing a forest management plan. Private landowners with 20-640 acres of forested land are eligible. The annual deadline to apply is September 1st.   

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)           

The NRCS EQIP program is a voluntary program that 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.

Forest Stewardship Program

The Forest Stewardship Program connects landowners with a forester or wildlife biologist to develop a Forest Stewardship Plan for their forest. Participation in the program is voluntary, and cost share is available throughout the year. Since 1991, almost 6,000 people in Michigan have used their Forest Stewardship Plan to help them to manage, protect and enjoy their forest.

Commercial Forest  program       

The Commercial Forest (CF) Program provides a significant property tax reduction to private forestland owners who allow hunting and fishing on their property. 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 two weeks of the posting. You may include additional relevant information in your responses pertaining to the project. Our forester will then forward all responses 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.


Request Number: 64-19-10

Date Posted: 12-7-2018

Respond By: 12-21-2018

Location: Leavitt Twp., Oceana Co.

Acres: 270 total, 154 forest, 116 wooded-shrub wetlands.

Forest Types: White pine with mixed hardwoods, poplar with mixed hardwoods, and a couple of pure, small, natural red pine stands. Common trees include: white pine, paper birch, soft maples, sugar maple, poplar sp., American beech, red pine, red oak, white oak, and black cherry. Ash is also present, but most of it has been impacted by Emerald ash borer. Beech scale is present, but not beech bark disease.

Landowner Needs: The Michigan DNR, Forest Stewardship Program, will make available an Outreach and Education Grant to develop a Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) for the camp property. The camp is interested in having a timber sale in the future.

Need a Consultant to work with the Camp to develop the plan and administer any timber sale activity identified. Consultant will need to develop and submit the application for the grant. Need more details contact me.

Contact: Rod Denning, at (231) 861-5600 or (616) 920-9775 cell, or


Request Number: 64-19-05

Date Posted: 11-30-2018

Respond By: 12-14-2018

Location: Leavitt Twp, Oceana Co.

Acres: 33 forested

Forest Type: Hardwood swamp, floodplain forest. Common trees include, poplar sp., silver maple, and green ash. Scattered black cherry on drier patches of land. Largest trees are the multi-stemmed silver maples. An occasional elm and willow are also present. EAB is active.

Landowner Needs: Most interested in having a timber sale to improve access to the property. Does not want a management plan, and is not interested in the QFP.

Contact: Rod Denning, at (231) 861-5600 or (616) 920-9775 cell, or


Request Number: 62-19-04

Date Posted: 11-30-2018

Respond By: 12-14-2018

Location: Denver Twp., Newaygo Co.

Acres: 50

Forest Type: Oak-mixed hardwoods with some hardwood swamp-floodplain. Common trees include: red, black, and white oaks, red maple, sugar maple, A. beech, ash, E. hemlock, and some poplar sp.

Landowner Needs: Interested in the Qualified Forest Program and Forest Stewardship Program. Wants a management plan written.

Ownership consists of three parcels, 23, 19, and 8 acres. Only one of the parcels would qualify for QFP based on parcel size. Recommended to landowner to combine parcels into one so that the entire property could qualify. Floodplain is along the White River. No evidence of recent logging.

Contact: Rod Denning, at (231) 861-5600 or (616) 920-9775 cell, or


Request Number: 64-19-11

Date Posted: 11-30-2018

Respond By: 12-14-2018

Location: Benona Twp., Oceana Co.

Acres: 10 acres

Forest Type: Oak-mixed hardwoods. Common trees include, poplar sp., red oak, sugar maple, red maple, black cherry, and American beech.

Landowner Needs: Landowner recently obtained a new 10-acre parcel. Owner wants to manage it correctly to protect and improve forest health. Interested in harvesting the newly purchased 10 acres. Owner is not interested in the QFP due to parcel size, or in having a management plan written.

Contact: Rod Denning, at (231) 861-5600 or (616) 920-9775 cell, or


Request Number: 64-19-06

Date Posted: 11-30-2018

Respond By: 12-14-2018

Location: Elbridge Twp., Oceana Co.

Acres: 20

Forest Type: Maple-Beech, Scots pine plantation. Common trees include red maple, sugar maple, red oak, A. beech, black cherry, and E. hemlock.

Landowner Needs: Interested in the Forest Stewardship Program, having a management plan written, and a future timber sale.

Parcel does not qualify for QFP. Beech scale is present on the A. beech in the western portion of the stand. A one-acre mature Scots pine plantation is on the NE corner of parcel, owner would like it removed. Some past selective harvesting has occurred. Owner recently purchased property and wants to be a good steward of it. Interested in forest health and wildlife habitat.

Contact: Rod Denning, at (231) 861-5600 or (616) 920-9775 cell, or