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U-M Summer Camps: Forestry Students Learn First-Hand At Camp Roth

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Fisheries Laboratory

Examining a large bass caught in Golden Lake, near Camp Filibert Roth, the University of Michigan forestry and natural resources camp near Iron River in the Upper Peninsula, are Prof. Karl F. Lagler (left) and a student assistant, Paul Nichols of Webster Springs, W. Va.

U-M Summer Camps:

Forestry Students Learn First-Hand At Camp Roth

(Editor’s Note: An important but little known enterprise of the University of Michigan is the operation of six summer camps throughout the state. This is the fourth in a series of articles describing these camps.)

By Tom Dickinson

IRON RIVER — Standing as a memorial to a pioneer Michigan forester is Camp Filibert Roth, the University of Michigan summer installation for students in the field of natural resources and conservation.

Located about 15 miles west of Iron River in the western part of the Upper Peninsula, the camp is within the magnificant Ottawa National Forest and is ideally situated
with reference to forests, wildlife areas and lakes and streams—all of which form outdoor laboratories for the students.

“Attendance at Camp Filibert Roth is compulsory for all professional students enrolled in forestry, wildlife management and fisheries curriculums of the University’s School of Natural Resources,” explains Prof. John Carow, camp director.

35 Students Enrolled

About 35 students are enrolled in the 12-week course here this summer, 23 of whom are in the forestry division. Nine are in wildlife management and the balance are specializing in fisheries.

Actually these lines of specialty are not finely drawn, Prof. Carow says, since the entire concept of natural resources embraces the theories and principles of all three subject matters.
 In general, the students—-most of them undergraduates between their sophomore and junior years —are taught the conservation and wise use of natural resources, which exist so abundantly in Michigan.

The foresters, for example, learn the fundamentals of the multimillion dollar lumber and logging industry, which flourishes in the state, by actually being in a forest environment.

Lecture Starts Day

A five-man faculty group gives instruction to the students, usually starting the day with a classroom lecture on the day’s objectives. Then the groups proceed into the field to see and perform the techniques utilized in forestry, wildlife and fisheries management.

Specific courses taught include forest surveying and mapping, forest ecology, forest mensuration, field techniques in fish and wildlife management, and game fisheries.

Again with reference to forestry, Camp Filibert Roth has for some years cooperated with the United States Forest Service in a forest management project entailing a large region of well timbered land.

Certain areas are turned over to the camp and the students conduct the management procedures, such as markings for future cuttings, growth studies and plantation.

Other Trips Made

“In addition to the formal camp work, trips are made to nearby points of interest, such as logging operations, wood utilization plants,, public forest nurseries and experimental stations, game refuges, fish hatcheries and rearing ponds,” Prof. Carow points out.

Camp Filibert Roth has an interesting history.

It was established here on Golden Lake in 1935 with the few shoddy buildings that remained from a logging camp in the vicinity. Several of the original structures still stand as reminders of the zenith of the logging operations in this region.

Responsible for much of the camp’s development through the years is Prof.-Emeritus Robert Craig, jr., who worked tirelessly to transform the old logging camp into the complete installation that it is today.

Cabins Named For Alumni

Students live in cabins, four in each one, named for prominent Michigan forestry alumni. Faculty members live in family-sized buildings.

Several laboratories, a recreation hall, a large storehouse-garage, washhouse, caretaker’s home, classroom, office and instrument shop comprise the main camp plant.

This year a brand new dining hall is in operation and was formally dedicated at special ceremonies here July 12-13. 

Student life Is informal. They work hard physically and consume quantities of food. Many of them are sprouting beards in the true Paul Bunyan tradition.

Roth, for whom the camp was named, was a leader in the national conservation movement at the turn of the century. He came to the University of Michigan in about 1910 to head the then new department of forestry, which later became the School of Forestry and Conservation, and more recently the School of Natural Resources.