Fred Russ Forest Visitor Information
Fred Russ Forest has a unique quality that combines forestry research and in a setting that is also conducive to forest recreation.
Visitors to the Forest range from researchers who come to work in the old growth forest stands or the 50+ research planting and plots, college students doing independent research projects, or the casual visitors whose interests range from enjoying the natural area's old growth trees and wildflowers or are enthused about forest management to those searching for a shady spot enjoy a picnic lunch.
Popular Forest Visitor Activities: hiking, picnicking, jogging, biking, horseback riding (bring your own horse), walking your dog on a leash, bow hunting, cross country skiing, and trout fishing.
There are no alcoholic beverages allowed within the forest.
The forest is accessed by the public on foot or by non-motor vehicles via the 12 acre Cass County Roadside park that is open daylight to dusk.
Cass County Park
The 12-acre roadside park is leased to the Cass County Parks Department and is open to the public daylight to dusk. Facilities include: parking, bathrooms, picnic tables and grills and several shelters that can be rented for special events by calling the Cass County Parks Department at 269- 445-8611. The Parks Department also maintains forest trails that are accessible to the public for use on foot or with non-motored vehicles.
Maple Syrup Production
The Marcellus School system leases forest property on which it maintains school buildings that house over 90 high school age students attending the Volinia Outreach School. In the year 2000, the school will construct a maple syrup production building and tap 10 acres of forest trees in the making of maple syrup. Plans are to conduct sugar bush tours during school hours. For more information call the Volinia Outreach School at 269-782-9716.
Bow hunting during deer season is allowed. There is hunting information at the forest office kiosk. Hunters are to sign in and out at the kiosk daily. Maps of the forest that indicate where hunting is permitted are displayed at the kiosk.
The forest has 280 acres of MSU designated areas. Designations range from the strictest, where only walking on the paths is permitted, to areas where downed and damaged trees may be salvaged. Large, healthy mature trees are left to grow in all areas. Wildflowers are abundant in these areas. Picking or digging wildflowers is not permitted.
Of this 280 acres, 40 acres is designated as "National Nature Area" representing a virtually undisturbed mature oak-hickory forest. Another 160 acres was acquired with funds from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant program preserving large tracts of land for public use. The entire forest is open to the public with forest rules applying to all the forest land.
If you have questions, please call: 269-731-4597.