McCormick Research Natural Area

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

This RNA features mature stands dominated by sugar maple (Acer saccharum). The topography and soils are distinctly varied. No cutting has occurred in the RNA for more than 80 years. Several state Listed species are present within the RNA: including the state threatened sandwort (Arenaria macrophylla), and three state special concern species male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas), blue wild rye (Elymus glaucus), and rock-bracke (Cryptogramma stelleri).

Ecological Information

Physical and Climatic Conditions

Nearest weather station, with distance and direction from RNA:
The nearest station is located at Herman, Michigan, 19 miles (30.4 km) west of the RNA and on the same divide. This station should provide the best available record of the climate in the RNA. Three other stations within the general area which might also provide information are the Champion, Alberta Park and Big Bay stations.
Annual precipitation (type, seasonal distribution) :
During the months of June through August, precipitation averages 4 inches (10.1 cm) per month. From December through February, average monthly precipitation is 2 inches (5.08 cm). Yearly snowfalls up to 300 inches (762 cm) have been reported.
Maximum and minimum temperatures:
Mean monthly temperatures range from 12-14 ºF during the months of January and February, and from 60-65 ºF during June-August. The recorded minimum temperature is -40 ºF, and the recorded maximum temperature has not exceeded 100 ºF.
The elevation ranges from 1,860 feet (567 m), located on the divide between the Yellow Dog River and Lake Marquette, to 1,480 feet (451 m) at the exit of the Yellow Dog River at the northeast corner.
Geology and Soils:
The western and northeastern portions of the site contain relatively flat, sandy outwash plains separated by a rugged escarpment approximately 3/8 mile wide. Surface features and soils are derived from deposits of glacial till and outwash. Much of the bedrock is gneiss. Podzolic soils dominate the area. The soil series found on this RNA include: Michigamme (Bedrock), Champion (weakly developed fragipan), Karlin (Textural bands), and Kalkaska and Pence (no obstruction).
Aquatic Features:
The main and west branch of the Yellow Dog River pass through the site. The site also contains 5 1/2 miles of stream, a small lake (5 acres) and Lake Margaret (120 acres). Streamflow through part of the RNA is regulated by a dam at the outlet of Bulldog Lake.

Ecological Classification & Inventory

Southern Superior Uplands (212J)
Michigamme Highland (212Jr)
SAF Cover Types (list acres): Kuchler Types (list acres):
12 Black spruce (173) 107 Vegetative type
15 Red pine (11)  
18 Paper birch (117)  
21 Eastern white pine (219)  
22 White pine - hemlock (33)  
23 Eastern hemlock (5)  
24 Hemlock-yellowbirch (95)  
25 Sugar maple-beech-yellow birch (1515) 25a Xeric variant (25)  
25b Disturbed variant (249)
25c Hydric variant (152)
27 Sugar maple (466)  
36 White spruce-balsam fir-paper birch (18)  
37 Northern white-cedar ( Michigan mixed conifer variant) (185)  

View Complete Plant List

Common Shrub Species:
Fly honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis), beaked hazel-nut (Corylus cornuta), mountain maple (Acer spicatrum), bush honeysuckle (Diervella lonicera).
Common Herbaceous Species:
Fancy wood-fern (Dryopteris intermedia), star flower (Trientalis borealis), twisted stalk (Streptopus roseus), bead-lily (Clintonia borealis), shining clubmoss (Lycopodium lucidulum).
Common Mammal Species:
White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), black bear (Ursus americanus), bobcat (Felis rufus), snowshoe rabbit (Lepus americanus), beaver (Castor canadensis), American mink (Mustela vison), North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum).
Common Bird Species:
Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus spp.).

Related Reports and Publications

1971. Establishment Record of the McCormick Research Natural Area within the Ottawa National Forest. Unpublished report on file at the Northern Research Station, Rhinelander, 17 pages.

Barnes, B.V., Pregitzer, K.S., Spies, T.A., and V. Spooner. 1982. Ecological forest site classification. J. Forestry. 80: 493-498.

Brubaker, L.B. 1973. Ancient and modern forest patterns associated with glacial till and outwash in northcentral upper Michigan. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Pregitzer, K.S. 1981. Relationships among physiography, soils and vegetation in the McCormick Experimental Forest, Upper Michigan. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Pregitzer, K.S., and B.V. Barnes. 1982. The use of groundflora to indicate edaphic factors in the McCormick Experimental Forest, Upper Michigan. Can. J. For. Res. 12: 661-672.

Pregitzer, K.S., and B.V. Barnes. 1984. Classification and comparison of the upland ecosystems of the Cyrus McCormick Experimental Forest, Upper Peninsula, Michigan. Can. J. For. Res. 14: 362-375.

Raisanen, R.A. 1976. A survey of the fishes of the McCormick Forest. M.A. Thesis. Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI.

Raisanen, R.A., and J.K. Werner. 1977. A survey of fishes of the McCormick Forest. USDA Forest Service Research Paper NC-147. 10 p.

Robinson, W.L. 1973. McCormick Forest Wildlife: her today and here tomorrow? Naturalist 24: 12-20.

Robinson, W.L. 1975. Vertebrate animal populations of the McCormick Forest. I. Birds and Mammals. USDA Forest Service Research Paper NC-118. 25 p.

Spooner, V.H. 1984. Site mapping the Cyrus H. McCormick Experimental Forest, Marquette and Baraga Counties, Michigan. M.S. Thesis, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Thomasma, L.E. 1996. Winter Habitat Selection and Interspecific interactions of American Martens (Martes americana) and Fishers (Martes pennanti) in the McCormick Wilderness and Surrounding Area. PhD Dissertation, Michigan Technological University.

Werner, J.K. 1973. The reptiles and amphibians of the McCormick Forest. Naturalist 24: 21-27.

Werner, J.K. 1975. Vertebrate animal populations of the McCormick Forest. II. Amphibians and reptiles. USDA Forest Service Research Paper NC-118. 25 p.

Last Modified: August 19, 2021