The FS has taken the campgrounds back because we could not afford to remove the hazardous branches and trees.
The FS has taken the campgrounds back because we could not afford to remove the hazardous branches and trees.
The Forest Service has taken back the permit from S'more Memories LLC because we would not hire an arborist and remove the hazardous branches and trees at our expense if we wanted them removed. It will be interesting to see who they actually wanted the permit to go to next year. It very well could be someone willing to allow you to camp under dangerous trees in order to make money. It does not appear that they are willing to help the small business or provide safety to the visitors.
We will deeply miss all of our customers.
Please take from this situation to look up before you set up your campsite. Be sure that there are no dead branches or hazardous trees where you are camping, because the FS is not proving the requirements to ensure your safety. Your life may depend on it.
S'more Memories, LCC has taken a stand for your safety, so please do not allow our loss to go in vain.
We are heartbroken that it doesn't look like we will be making S'more Memories with you this year. Sadly this is the last year of my permit. It has become too dangerous for us to remain at the campgrounds, due to the recent event. I am offering the permit back to the Forest Service. I pray that they will do the right thing and make them safer for the next permit holder. I am wishing all of you happy and safe Memories in your campgrounds for generations to come. Thank you to all the Host that have been maids in your mansion. I will miss the staff and all the great visitors I have had the pleasure to know. God bless!!
The Forest Service has not come to Brevoort Lake to see the trees. Perhaps it is because the training was at Brevoort Lake and they themselves have identified hazardous trees. Do they expect S'more Memories LLC to risk the lives of the visitors of the Hiawatha National Forest so we can make money at the risk of the lives of the people we love?
The Forest Service has told us that they are coming to Brevoort Lake today and help get a plan to get some dead branches and trees removed so we can get some campsites opened. We are waiting for answers if those campsites will be afforded to the people who had reservations.
The good news is because we have not taken "legal control" of Bay View, Monocle Lake, and Soldier Lake; that allows the district Forest Service time to take care of those trees. With the new interpretation of the contract once they turn over the campgrounds to us they are not allowed to do it themselves and must pay someone to remove the trees. When we allowed them more time of "legal control" we gave them time to remove hazard trees. They have staff that are willing to do that but did not have the time. They turned 3 campgrounds over to us before the workshop and didn't know there were so many hazard trees in Brevoort Lake, Carp River and Lake Michigan campgrounds and now must pay someone to take care of the trees. Because they still have "legal control" for 3 of the campgrounds and they know what to look for, they are working in those campgrounds to make them meet the standards required by law to open. Then we will have to go in and do our tree inspection after they have done their tree inspection. But we can not remove any trees that we find or trim any branches, we must get their permission to take care of them and they are required to pay for them if they approve it.
The Forest Service did not come to look at the trees.
( 11 pm of 5/24/23 )
Ask us your questions so we can help people understand, it is very complex.
FAQ: I saw the Forest Service remove trees in the past years why are they not going into Brevoort Lake to remove them right away now?
Answer : Because of a lawsuit Regional District 9 which includes 20 US States changed the interpretation of the contract last year. They informed us that they would not go into the campgrounds for any inspections or tree removal at all. My $2000 hazard tree obligation would not change. We would have to hire someone and they would have to pay for it. I hired someone after they approved the trees I identified in Bay View and Monocle Lake and I paid for it, they could not get the funds to pay me back. I also had an estimate of $58, 250.00 for trees they had approved for removal but did not have the funds to remove in Brevoort Lake. We closed those sites near the end of last year in Brevoort Lake waiting for the funds to remove them. That is when they changed the interpretation again and said when they have "legal control" before they turn the campgrounds over to me, they could do tree inspections and do the tree removal themselves. This saves a lot of money because they have the fire crew who have down time, skills to do it and are willing to remove the trees. But they had given me "legal control" over Brevoort Lake, Carp River and Lake Michigan before they had the workshop and now understand there are more hazard trees in those campgrounds. I am guessing that they are asking the Regional Forester how they are going to get the funds to pay for it or if they can take "legal control" back. Of course this means that we will not be able to make any money until they return them back to my control, but your safety is my most important goal.
FAQ: Will I get my reservation back once the trees are removed or branches trimmed?
Answer: We are waiting for the Forest Service to see what campsites they can open and how they are going to handle reservations. We will do whatever the Forest Service decides.
FAQ: Who manages the forest in the campgrounds?
Answer: The Forest Service is the only one who can make a decision on the trees. They have the legal rights to all the trees. We only have a permit to operate the campgrounds and we must follow strict rules on how we can do that. They have many rules of use that we must do in order to keep our permit.
FAQ: Didn't you know this when you signed the contract?
Answer: Because the Forest Service had done inspections and removed trees before my permit, "past practice" and the first 8 years of my permit, I thought they would continue. This is the last year of my permit and the workshop was the first time they told us we were now responsible to do the type of inspection that will hold up in court, a much more complicated inspection. We need to record every tree, give each tree rating on the grading system, then remove the hazard before we can open the campgrounds. We are working on doing that now but could not complete it before our opening date. We also need them to allow us to remove the trees we have identified. That is why the campgrounds are not "closed" they just are not opened yet.
FAQ: I am a local and I see the Forest Service is in Monocle Lake working on trees right now, can I help haul the trees and help get these campgrounds opened?
Answer: This is one reason why I love our customers!! They want to be a part of the solution to get their campgrounds safe and ready for campers. But right now I do not have "legal control" over Monocle Lake, Bay View, or Soldier Lake. You would have to ask the local district Forest Service if they are accepting volunteer help to get the trees brought up to a safe standard so they can turn "legal control" over to S'more Memories LLC. Thank you for trying to help this unbelieveable situation.
Can you see the hole right through the tree?
Dennis, thank you for taking the time to ask some great questions in order to help me solve this situation. To answer your first question I would have to argue that in court if I want to know the answer to that legally, but my 17 years in law enforcement tells me that past practices will win in court. Also on my contract I said I would only take the permit if all hazardous trees were removed before the start of my permit. But the Forest Service Government agency has told me otherwise. Up until last year the Forest Service would come in a do their inspection and removed the trees they decided needed to be removed. Then region 9 which includes 20 US States, decided because of a lawsuit that they were no longer going to do inspections and are not responsible to do hazardous trees. This decision came from much higher up than my Area District. So last year I paid for more than my share of hazardous tree removal because this Forest Service thought I would be refunded. But I was not. I also got an estimate for 67 trees and that I had identified by a self taught method, for a total of $58,250. In Breevoort Lake Campground. I closed the individual campsites in question and my District Rangers went to work trying to figure out how it was to be paid. That is when they got the "policy" "changed" so they had some time of legal control before my pre- season and after my post season work. They came in with a large crew and removed around 100 trees. That is when I was invited to the workshop this year because my main complaint was that I didn't think the lives of my visitors should count on me, who was not educated in tree inspection or the laws that govern it. Imagine my shock when I realized at training in Breevoort Lake Campground that there were hundreds of trees that did not meet safely standards. I was ready to open that very day. I told my FS District that I would not do anything that put the lives of my visitors in danger and was against the law. The FS at this District had always worked very well will me in the past but my emails text and calls were going unanswered. I could only assume that it was working its way up the chain. But in the meantime I know that people from all over the world had plans to make memories in these campgrounds. And I knew something they did not, the wheels of the government move very slow, and they would assume I would do what everyone else was doing, make money. When they hired me they should have read my mission statement. Because I live by it. So to answer your 2nd question every campground in region 9 has the same "policy" I can only guess why they are not doing it , but maybe because it simply can not be done before operating season, would cost too much, are not educated, trained, or maybe understand the FS didn't do it to the letter of the law, so they don't do it. They would lose a great deal of money. And certainly everyone knows this is the end of my career. But I can tell you why I am doing it; because don't ask me to do a job even if you don't want me to do it , because if you give me a job, I will at least do my best. Don't ask me to make money at the risk of the lives of the people that I love. Don't ask me to break the law just because everyone else might be. Because we at S'more Memories LLC expect more of ourselves than we do of others. And because we care if someone dies under trees that we know are deemed unsafe by the standards of the law.
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We are waiting at the campground for them to come. We are doing our job, please ask them to do theirs.
We operate under a special use permit. The campgrounds are owned by the USDA and located in the Hiawatha National Forest. We are located in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Bay View Campground
Brevoort Lake Campground
Carp River Campground
Lake Michigan Recreation Area
Monocle Lake Campground, and
Soldier Lake Campground
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It is the law!!
Sunset at Brevoort Lake
We love our customers, so feel free to visit the Host at the campground.