The Shiawassee County Parks and Recreation Commission has announced its forthcoming project to reforest the two-acre area of the Shiatown Dam removal deconstruction site in Shiatown County Park. Two planting days have been organized, the first on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon and the second in the spring when certain species of trees must await ground removal for transplanting.

   In all 90 trees and 90 shrubs will be planted streamside and within 200 feet of the Shiawassee River. Mr. Jeff Tuller, Registered Forester and Phil Hathaway, volunteer project coordinator, prepared the plan that will involve 18 different tree species that promotes diversity for the new forest and recognition of a variety of adaptable plant zones. Volunteers, parks commissioners and county staff will comprise the 40-person work crew. Equipment and operators are donated. A five-year watering plan, tree staking and fence guards are included in the long-term maintenance of the trees until they become established naturally. 

   Project funding at $32,000 is from three sources at nearly equal amounts:  Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network (WIN), the Friends of the Shiawassee River (FOSR) and the Shiawassee County Waste Management Fund. The Friends contribution is a result of the revenues earned from Michigan’s Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Department in its role as overseer of the dam removal.  All funds are from sources other than local tax dollars and recognize the need to plant trees especially in these times. Shiatown County Park offers a venue for leading the cause of applying natural climate solutions.

   John Plowman, county commissioner and parks commission member, states that, “The role of trees and selected shrubs greatly benefit habitat restoration, riverside erosion control, carbon neutrality, park-like shaded settings, wildlife benefits and air quality.” Larry Johnson, county health director and also a parks commissioner added, “There hasn’t been a forest here since the first dam was built in 1840. With trees averaging two-inch diameter trunk size at the outset, this woodlot will have a head start in restoring the barren construction zone riverside area to its natural state.” 

   Some volunteer positions for the projected 3-hour work session are still available for individuals who are capable and inclined to do landscaping work. All of the heavy lifting will be accomplished with mechanical equipment. Lunch and water will be provided to the volunteers. Interested persons may contact Phil Hathaway at

Shiawassee County Parks and Rec. Commission was last modified: October 5th, 2021 by Karen Elford