Emmet County is at the top of the Michigan mitten and was originally covered entirely by forests, lakes, streams and swamps. Most of the County is rolling topography and spans the central portion of the County. This system of peaks and valleys is bisected by the Pleasantview wetland system. West Traverse, Friendship and Readmond Townships share the west half of this topographic system that contains some of the most valued locations for recreational and scenic opportunities.
The County is approximately 60% forest land with the deciduous forest land made up of northern hardwood, central hardwood, aspen, white birch, and lowland hardwoods. The coniferous forests are made up of pine, upland conifers, lowland conifers, and Christmas tree plantations. Woodlands and forested lands are beneficial to the public by modifying the affects of flooding, moderate micro climates, protect soils from erosion, buffer noise, moderates the effects of winds and storms, and clean some pollutants from the air.
Why Trees are essential
The goal of the M-119 Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route Management Plan is to preserve and enhance the scenic, cultural, natural, and historic characteristics of the M-119 Corridor in the Townships of Cross Village, Readmond, Friendship, and West Traverse. Trees play a vital role along the corridor, making it the “Tunnel of Trees”. They affect the quality of water and air, the cost of heating and cooling, and the value of property. They also provide attractive greenbelts to shield traffic.
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PREVENT EROSION AND REDUCE RUNOFF
Tree roots hold soil in place, especially along the ridgelines. Tree canopies reduce the force of falling raindrops on bare surfaces which helps reduce erosion. Trees also catch and hold rainfall that can delay stormwater runoff and reduce flooding. Root growth enables the ground to absorb more water, reduce flooding, and replenish ground water which feeds Lake Michigan.
CLEAN THE AIR
Trees remove pollutants from the air and store carbon dioxide. They absorb sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide which are major components of acid rain and ozone pollution. Trees intercept particulate matter. They also release oxygen into the air through photosynthesis.
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