Grand Island Research Natural Area

[photo:] Dukes RNA. Photo by Lucy Tyrrell, USDA Forest Service.

The RNA is primarily composed of northern hardwood forests with conifers located along Echo Lake Creek. The primary components of the overstory are American beech (Fagus grandifolia), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), red maple (Acer rubrum), hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis). Along the fringe of the forest, bordering the beach and cliff, is a narrow (< 20 m wide) zone of mountain-ash (Sorbus sp.), paper birch (Betula papyifera), mountain maple (Acer spicatum), white pine (Pinus strobus), red pine (Pinus resinosa), and other hardwoods common to the Island. The site has apparently never been in private ownership, and it indicates a lack of major disturbance in recent time.

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA:
The Munising weather station is located 9 miles (15 km) north of the RNA.
Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) :
Average annual precipitation is 33.5 inches (85.1 cm), with 9.6 inches (24.3 cm) falling from June through August. The site receives, on average, 135 inches (343 cm) of snowfall per year.
Maximum and minimum temperatures:
The mean annual temperature is 41.6 ºF, with mean daily maximums and minimums for January of 10.1 ºF and 26 ºF and for July of 52.2 ºF and 77.4 ºF.
Elevation ranges from 605 to 780 feet (184 to 238 m).
Geology and Soils:
Much of the shore is on a sand beach, with a sandstone cliff over 100 feet (30 m) high in the northwestern corner of the RNA. The cliffs and underlying bedrock are Jacobsville sandstone. Soils have not been mapped and classified. The northern hardwood soils are suspected to be Munising series.
Aquatic Features:
Echo Lake Creek flows north to Lake Superior through the eastern portion of the tract.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Lake Superior (212I)
Lake Superior and Islands (212Ia)
Plant Communities:
Quercus prinus, Quercus velutina, Sassafras albidum, Carya spp.
SAF Cover Types (list acres): Kuchler Types (list acres):
24 Hemlock-yellow birch (18)  
25 Sugar maple-beech-yellow birch (40)  

View or download Complete Plant List (pdf)

Common Shrub Species:
Juneberry (Amelanchier sp.), fly honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis), red-berried elder (Sambucus pubens) swamp red currant (Ribes trista), dwarf raspberry (Rubus pubescens), tall bilberry (Vaccinium ovalifolium).
Common Herbaceous Species:
Common Mammal Species:
Common Bird Species:

Related Reports and Publications

1977. Establishment Record of the Grand Island Research Natural Area within the Hiawatha National Forest. Unpublished report on file at the Northern Research Station, Rhinelander, 15 pages.

Vegetation of Grand Island Research Natural Area. Presented at the Lake Superior Biological Conference, Northern Michigan University Marquette, September 25, 1981.

Mroz, G., Gale, M., Jurgensen, M., and H. Liechty. 1996. Comparing forest floor conditions in three old-growth RNAs with managed forests in the Northern Great Lakes Section. Unpublished Project Report.

Last Modified: August 19, 2021