Thursday, 11 May 2017
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Castle rutsThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking for the public’s help in finding answers about recent damage to the Mason Tract Pathway, a special management area along the Au Sable River in southeast Crawford County.

In late April, gates and barriers were removed or otherwise vandalized near the Chapel and Castle sites – popular stopping points for hikers, canoers and others using the river. A truck also was driven across a newly seeded and stabilized pathway, leaving deep ruts. At this time, it is unclear if both incidents are related.

Susan Thiel, the DNR’s Grayling Forest Unit manager, said these types of incidents have been on the rise.

“Michigan’s natural resources are here for everyone to enjoy,” Thiel said. “To see intentional damage in special places like the Mason Tract Pathway is disheartening.”

Chris Jones, president of Friends of the Mason Tract, a volunteer group that works to improve and maintain the area, said the vandalism is disappointing.

Repairs already have begun; Friends of the Mason Tract and AmeriCorps members serving with the DNR have filled in the ruts and reseeded the area. There also are plans to install a new gate.

To report information on the damage, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at 989-348-6371 ext. 7440, or call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) line at 1-800-292-7800. The RAP line is a convenient, effective way for residents to report the illegal taking of fish or game or damage to Michigan's natural resources. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and callers can remain anonymous.

To join Friends of the Mason Tract, contact Chris Jones at 989-275-6247 or visit the group’s Facebook page for more information.

John Stewart Managing Editor - 4x4Voice - 4x4Wire - Natural Resources Consultant - California Four Wheel Drive Association - Board of Directors - BlueRibbon Coalition

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