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Ottawa National Forest celebrates National Public Lands Day and fee-free day on Sept. 24

IRONWOOD—National Public Lands Day takes place on Sept. 24 and is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. The Ottawa National Forest will to be a participant in this national effort and will be sponsoring a work day removing non-native invasive honeysuckle bushes from National Forest lands near Moosehead Lake in Gogebic County.
    Moosehead Lake is a scenic 50-acre lake located 16 miles southeast of Marenisco and 10 miles east of Presque Isle, Wis. The lake includes a public boat ramp and a National Forest campground.
    The work day will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. Volunteers will cut down non-native invasive honeysuckle bushes and apply herbicide to the cut stems to prevent re-sprouting. The Ottawa will supply water, gloves, tools and safety equipment. They ask that all volunteers bring their own lunch and plenty of water, as well as good work boots and long pants.
    Exotic honeysuckle (Lonicera X bella) is a non-native invasive plant. Left unchecked, it becomes overabundant and replaces native trees, shrubs and flowers, particularly along lakeshores, river edges and roadsides. The Ottawa National Forest has been working on the honeysuckle infestation at Moosehead Lake for several years.
    In conjunction with National Public Lands Day, Sept. 24 is a Forest Service fee-free day. The Ottawa National Forest and campground concessionaires will be offering free camping at all of campgrounds and free entrance into Sylvania Wilderness Recreation Area on this day. Camping in Sylvania Wilderness backcountry campsites will still require the nightly camping fee, due to the reservation permit system.
    “Late September is a great time to enjoy the Ottawa National Forest,” said Linda Jackson, forest supervisor for the Ottawa National Forest.  “Fall colors are beginning, temperatures are pleasant, and flies and mosquitos are few. I hope you consider helping out in the morning as part of the National Public Lands Day volunteer event.
    “I encourage people to come enjoy their public lands; stay for free at one of the 22 Ottawa National Forest campgrounds on Sept. 24.”

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