Public Meetings on
Proposed Deer Antler Point Restrictions
21SEP18-The Thumb Hunters for APRs organization will host two public
meetings to explain and answer questions about its proposal for new deer
antler point restrictions (APRs) for Huron, Lapeer, Sanilac, St. Clair and
The meetings will take
Monday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m. at Yale High
School, 247 School Drive in Yale
Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at Ubly Heights
Golf Course, 2409 East Atwater Road in Ubly
The proposal seeks to
require that all antlered deer harvested in those five counties have at
least four antler points on one side. The restriction will be considered
for implementation starting with the 2019 deer season. Antlerless deer
regulations within the proposed area would continue to be determined by
the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Under guidelines adopted
by the Natural Resources Commission, mandatory regulations proposed by
sponsoring organizations will be implemented only when a clear majority of
66 percent support among hunters in the proposed area is documented.
Support will be determined by a DNR survey mailed to a random sample of
hunters who indicated on the 2017 DNR deer harvest survey that they hunted
deer in one of the five counties.
“This group has brought
forward a proposal in line with our current APR initiation guidelines,”
said DNR deer biologist Chad Stewart. “These public meetings are one of
the final items to complete before a survey moves forward to gauge support
for the regulation.”
Landowners in the
proposed counties who would like to offer input about the proposal may
email their comments to
The survey will be mailed
starting in December 2018. Survey results will be available in the spring
of 2019 and will be presented to the NRC for consideration. While the NRC
retains full authority over decisions to implement APR and other harvest
regulations, the proposal review process provides valuable information to
inform those decisions.
By JOHN PEPIN -
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
after the early morning sunlight broke Monday over the gray-shingled
roofs at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, the dizzying sounds of a
swarm of activity began to fill the skies from behind the pointed
Hammers rang. Power drills whirred. There were also the soft, wispy
sounds of paint brushes being pushed and pulled over wood-plank
surfaces. There was activity everywhere.
Amid it all were the voices of the young and old – talking, sharing
instruction, support and laughs – because at the heart of all this
effort were people.
These individuals, from cities and towns across the state, passionate
and kind, made up a powerful all-volunteer workforce nearly 160
They assembled for a couple of days near the tip of the Keweenaw
Peninsula under a single banner proclaiming “Michigan Cares for
“We started the
program in 2012, partnering with the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources and Travel Michigan, Indian Trails, Grand Valley State
University, an organization called Tourism Cares that did similar
events on a national level and a marketing company by the name of
Driven,” said Patty Janes, volunteer coordinator for Michigan Cares
for Tourism and a professor of hospitality and tourism management at
Grand Valley State University.
“So, the six of us
came together and said, ‘Could we bring the tourism industry together
to donate time, resources and effort to help restore our historic
attractions in Michigan,’ knowing full well that the 260 (attractions)
that the state managed, for an example, had a maintenance deficit in
the millions of dollars?”
The answer was “yes.”
Over the past six years, the organization has empowered 2,365
volunteers over 10 projects, including seven multiple-day efforts.
This week’s work at Fort Wilkins was backed by the in-kind and
financial contributions of more than 60 businesses and organizations.
“It’s a zero-base budget project. We don’t have money,” Janes said.
“The only way the projects work is if the industry cares.”
A board of 20 organizes the group’s projects, taking on one each
autumn. The group has previously worked in the Upper Peninsula at
Fayette Historic State Park in Delta County.
At Fort Wilkins, some
of the volunteers drove 12 hours to get there. Seventy came on Indian
Trails buses from Grand Rapids and Detroit. The other 90 traveled on
their own. They averaged four nights spent in the region.
Ezra Swanson drove up to Copper Harbor with his dad and his sister
from Shelby in the western part of the Lower Peninsula. Swanson is 16
and his sister is 18.
“I think it’s pretty cool. It’s a pretty good thing to do. It’s pretty
neat,” Swanson said, who was participating in his first volunteer
effort with the organization. “Especially, I love history so it’s nice
to see that people are still taking care of that, trying to preserve
In the morning, he was involved in rebuilding the stockade fence.
Afternoon found him standing in a pile of wood shavings, helping to
strip bark from logs for new posts.
Swanson said he would recommend the organization to others.
“It’s nice to be working with your hands,” he said. “I grew up on a
farm, so I work with my hands a lot, but it’s nice to be doing more of
that, meeting other people, more Michiganders, more Wolverines, so
it’s nice to do that too.”
19, of Jackson is in her third year studying at Michigan Tech in
Houghton. She came to Fort Wilkins to volunteer with her dad.
“I just heard about
it through my dad, and he’s done it for multiple years and so I
figured I’d want to join,” she said. “And since coming up to Michigan
Tech, the U.P. has become my home. So, anything I can do to restore a
historic site in the area, that’s pretty awesome.”
Corrina’s dad, Mark Kostrzewa, works as a front desk manager at the
FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek.
“This is my fifth event with Michigan Cares,” he said.
He has helped pour concrete and paint at a picnic shelter at Belle
Isle Park, cleared brush and helped remove invasive plant species near
Roscommon, and shoveled and hauled limestone to help lay a pathway in
He first heard about Michigan Cares for Tourism years ago when one of
his work colleagues went to the governor’s conference on Mackinac
Island and heard about it.
“We signed up the first year, and we’ve been doing it ever since,” he
said. “This year, FireKeepers has four people here.
So, we’ve been slowly growing the group
that we bring because we think it’s a great effort.
“I think it’s great that we leave something behind.”
At Fort Wilkins, crew leaders were hoping a stockade fence would be
finished by the end of the day. Instead, the crew came within four or
five posts of finishing the work by lunchtime.
“Because it takes so much to take care of these facilities and the DNR
has a lot on their hands, I know myself, I think everybody else takes
pride in the ability to come and give back to areas that matter to
Michigan,” Kostrzewa said.
A third of the
volunteers had to take a day off work to come to Fort Wilkins.
More than half had to pay for housing or other items out of their own
pockets to volunteer. A $50 fee is paid to reserve a spot on the
volunteer roster, with that money used to buy T-shirts and other items
of appreciation given back to the workers.
“That’s been the fascinating model for me. People just give, and when
people are giving like that, how does that not become the perfect
world?” Janes asked, rhetorically. “They’re giving for something
bigger than themselves, and they are spending their time to come all
this way to give to others.”
cultural-historical impact is the mainstay of the Michigan Cares for
Tourism effort, there are additional benefits realized.
Volunteers have a fun and enriching experience, networking together
while they work, which can aid in development of other projects and
other efforts taking place with other organizations across the state.
They also gain first-hand knowledge about Michigan’s historic and
Kyle Loup, a park ranger at Van Riper State Park, was working as a
foreman in charge of a staining project, leading a crew of seven,
enjoying his first opportunity to volunteer with the group.
He started working
for the DNR as a summer ranger at Fayette Historic State Park. He
“With the history and the tourism, that sparked my interest,” he said.
“It was five summers at Fayette, so to come up here kind of brings
“In general, this is a great experience because, just for the fact
that you get to meet a lot of different people, (who) come from
different cultures, all different backgrounds and all areas of the
The group’s stay has an economic impact on the local community, and
the work to improve the park will help increase the number of annual
visitors, which feeds back into the community’s economic good fortune.
western U.P. district supervisor for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation
Division, said local business folks are
aware Fort Wilkins is the iconic attraction bringing visitors to
“If we improve this, it improves the entire business climate of
the community because it’s all connected,” Rich said. “It doesn’t
matter who you are, we’re all one big team.”
Proof in the pudding
Bob Wild, acting park
supervisor at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, said Monday’s work at the
fort was his first involvement with the organization. He called it a
“pretty amazing effort.”
“They’re accomplishing everything from redoing our ADA-accessible paths to
helping to paint some of the toilet-restroom buildings in the campground.
A lot of the focus is on the historic fort complex,” Wild said. “We’re
painting exterior walls, we’re painting interior, re-decking, replacing
stockage walls, we’ve got crews out doing trail restoration work, lots of
trimming work going on, there’s a lot of projects going, replacing picnic
tables and park bench boards, a lot of crews out there working various
Wild, who has worked as a park interpreter at Porcupine Mountains
Wilderness State Park – Michigan’s largest state park – said the volunteer
effort fills a distinct need, important to any park.
“It’s a lot of work
that’s really difficult for park staff to get to because a lot of this
kind of work requires a lengthy period of time where you can have
uninterrupted, focused work,” he said. “There’s going to be 1,000
hours with all these people working a full day’s shift of
uninterrupted, focused work.
“It’s a huge time saver for the park and a great benefit for the park
and the public who are going to come here and see the results of all
Barry James, a historian at Fort Wilkins, agreed.
“Through the (DNR) Parks and Recreation Division and the Michigan
History Center, we established a priority list of projects to be done
by Michigan Cares for Tourism here at Fort Wilkins, and we were able
to come up with 23 projects that we thought could be completed during
their six to seven volunteer hours in one day at the fort,” James
“They’ve been able to get to some projects that have been on a to-do
list for several years. So, to have this amount of volunteer labor and
to be able to get to some projects that probably wouldn’t have been
reached or gotten to in several years is great, not only for the site,
but for the preservation of the buildings and to prepare and move on
for the future.”
James said the work
involved “primarily routine maintenance projects, like painting and
clearing brush through view sheds, historic view sheds, to open those
up for the public to be able to see vistas that the soldiers and
miners saw almost 175 years ago.”
Rich said park staffers who may have initially been skeptical of what
the effort might produce, at the cost of a lot of preparation for the
visit, were converted, having seen the “proof is in the pudding.”
Rich said he had seen
it before and came to Fort Wilkins a supporter of the group.
“It’s just amazing how much work, how much excitement is involved with
it,” he said.
Janes said she got goosebumps when a ranger who has worked at the park
for 42 years told her staffers there never would have been able to
find the time to accomplish these projects.
“That’s what the industry wants to know, that we did something that
just wasn’t ‘you’re going to get it done next week and you’re just
having us do it,’” she said. “No, this is stuff that adds value and
visitors have a better experience (and) our industry is better
educated. I call it the perfect educational model.”
While the volunteers
worked, another effort was under way all around them, one that
benefitted the project from an environmental perspective.
Jessica Loding, director of events and strategic partnerships for
Schupan Events Recycling of Kalamazoo, was working to help the
volunteers reduce their environmental impact.
“We provide sustainability services for carbon off-setting, recycling,
food composting and waste diversion for Michigan Cares for Tourism,”
Her job is to help the group recycle, use and compost what they can
and then send the rest to the landfill.
“Last year, in
Roscommon, we had a 74 percent diversion rate, meaning 74 percent of
all the material generated from the event was diverted from the
landfill through recycling or reuse programs,” Loding said. “…We like
to minimize our environmental impact on the areas in which we travel
to restore for the DNR and the state and things like that, and so
we’re just trying to do our little part.”
Loding runs the sustainability division at her company, which has
about 80 clients in Michigan. She works with events, entertainment
venues, communities and within the tourism industry to make things
NASCAR events in Michigan and the Detroit International Jazz Festival
are two examples.
The Fort Wilkins work
bee resulted in a 63 percent diversion rate, with a 67 percent rate
over the past two Michigan Cares for Tourism events.
“We had about 70-75
people take the bus up here from Grand Rapids and Detroit, and as a
result of not having them bring their cars up here, it off-set about
36,000 pounds of CO2 (carbon dioxide),” she said.
Next fall, Michigan
Cares for Tourism will travel to Leelanau State Park and the Grand
Traverse Lighthouse to help make operations there run solely on solar
“People are working so hard,” Janes said, looking at volunteers
clearing brush along the shore of Lake Fanny Hooe at the fort. “These
people run their own businesses, they are hard-working,
super-passionate. We get the best of the best that come because
they’re willing to invest all that time.
“I am very proud of our industry, very proud of these folks and all
the people that have come before them – thousands now – to make a
difference. You can choose a lot of other ways to spend your day.”
To find out more about Michigan Cares for Tourism,
Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at
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seasonal salmon runs are a busy time for DNR fisheries staff. During
the runs, large numbers of chinook and coho salmon return to their
native streams to spawn, and afterward they die.
The DNR maintains several sites
(weirs) to block these fish and then collect their eggs and milt
(sperm) for use in
state fish hatcheries.
“Egg collection is
one of the most important things we do to support an ample, healthy
salmon population,” said Aaron Switzer, manager of the DNR’s northern
Lower Peninsula hatcheries. “But once our egg-take needs are met, the
salmon in prime physical condition are available for sale to the
When fall salmon runs are done and egg collection is completed,
Switzer said that people will be able to purchase the surplus salmon
from a small number of retailers in the northern Lower Peninsula.
These are fish that have been harvested by the DNR at weirs in the
The preparation and sale are handled by American-Canadian Fisheries, a
private vendor that assists the DNR with the salmon harvest.
ACF harvests the salmon for
human- and pet-food markets, as well as excess eggs for bait and
caviar markets. ACF pays the DNR a flat per-pound rate for the salmon
and eggs collected, and then makes suitable-quality fish available
wholesale to distributors who market the fish.
This year’s retailers are located
in the northern Lower Peninsula.
Interested in purchasing some of the surplus salmon? The DNR
recommends directly contacting individual retailers to confirm the
timing and pricing of a purchase.
For more information, contact
231-325-4611, ext. 15 or
18SEP18-When it comes to quality trails, many
Michigan residents already know there’s no place like home. With more
than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails that connect communities
and provide health and economic benefits, it’s easy for hikers,
bikers, equestrians, snowmobilers, off-roaders, mountain bikers and
even kayakers to find a trail just about anywhere in the state.
Michigan Trails Week (proclaimed
this year by Gov. Rick Snyder
as Sept. 22-29) is a perfect time for first-time trail users and
seasoned outdoor explorers to get out and enjoy the Trails State. Here
are just a few reasons why:
Michigan's Iron Belle Trail, the
longest designated state trail in the nation, is a 2,000-mile hiking
and biking journey from Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula to
Belle Isle Park in Detroit, connecting more than half of the state’s
A growing partner-based water trails
program, building on the popularity of paddle sports as one of the
fastest-growing recreation activities, as well as Michigan’s
thousands of miles of rivers and streams and more miles of Great
Lakes coastline than any other state.
Thousands of miles of ORV trails that
are continually upgraded through funding generated by the sale of
ORV licenses and trail permits.
More than 2,600 miles of rail-trail
(leading the nation), old railroad lines that have been converted
for recreational use.
Thousands of miles of equestrian,
snowmobile and water trail opportunities in some of the state’s most
The Pure Michigan Trail and Trail
Town designation program, announced earlier this year, highlighting
some of the state’s best trail resources.
“Michigan offers four full seasons of
opportunity to enjoy trails,” said DNR state trails coordinator Paul
Yauk. “Michigan Trails Week is a good time for people to start out
autumn on the right foot, celebrating the thousands of miles of scenic
Michigan Trails Week ends Saturday, Sept. 29,
which is National Public Lands Day – traditionally a day for
volunteer-led efforts to beautify and build awareness about the value
and extent of the country’s public lands.
Learn more about events and
18SEP18-Spotted lanternfly, a
leaf-hopper native to China and India, and Japanese chaff flower, a
plant from East Asia, have been added to the state’s
invasive species watch list
due to the threats they pose to agriculture and the environment.
Already found in Delaware, New
Jersey and Virginia,
is spreading through eastern Pennsylvania. Nymphs (immature insects)
and adults suck sap from stems and leaves of more than 70 plants and
crops including grapes, apples, hops, walnuts and other hardwood
Japanese chaff flower
displaces native plants by forming large, dense stands in floodplains,
forested wetlands and disturbed habitat. It currently is found along
the Ohio and Big Sandy rivers, reaching counties in nine states
including Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
nymphs are wingless and beetle-like, with black and white spots,
developing red patches as they mature. Adults are roughly 1 inch long.
Their folded wings are gray to brown with black spots. Open wings
reveal a yellow and black abdomen and hind wings that are bright red
with black spots transitioning to black and white bands at the edge.
Though spotted lanternflies cannot fly long distances, they lay eggs
on nearly any smooth surface, including cars, trailers and outdoor
furniture. Freshly laid eggs have a gray, waxy, putty-like coating,
while hatched eggs look like rows of brownish, seed-like deposits.
“If you’re visiting areas known to be infested with spotted lanternfly,
just be sure to thoroughly inspect vehicles or anything left outside
before returning to Michigan,” said Joanne Foreman, invasive species
communications coordinator with the DNR.
Japanese chaff flower grows up to 6 feet tall, with
opposite, simple leaves and a bottle brush-shaped green flower with no
petals. Deer heavily browse this plant, and seeds spread by attaching
to animals and clothing.
lanternfly and Japanese chaff flower aren’t known to be in Michigan,
but because they’re confirmed in nearby states and because of the
potential damage they can cause, early detection is vital,” Foreman
For more information on
identifying invasive species or to report sightings of spotted
lanternfly or Japanese chaff flower, visit
Aiding Houghton County Storm Recovery Effort
By DOUG DONNELLY and JOHN PEPIN -
Department of Natural Resources
state’s coordinated ongoing rebuilding and restoration efforts are
producing positive results in the wake of a 1,000-year flood that
ravaged Houghton County in June.
This week, the U.S. Small Business Administration approved a request
from Gov. Rick Snyder for a physical and economic disaster declaration
for Houghton County, clearing the way for affected residents and
businesses to apply for financial assistance, including low-interest
“Getting our communities and businesses back on their feet is
essential,” Snyder said. “The availability of these loans will bring
some relief as they work to recover and rebuild.”
Previously, Gov. Snyder had declared a “state of disaster” for
Houghton, Menominee and Gogebic counties, freeing up access to state
resources. In early August, President Donald Trump declared a “major
disaster” for the three counties, at the request of Lt. Gov. Brian
The Federal Emergency Management Administration agreed to provide
public assistance but denied Calley’s request for individual
assistance. Snyder appealed the decision, which was denied.
Michigan departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources
continue to work together to remove threats to health, safety and
welfare, while racing against the calendar to re-open trails before
the upcoming snowmobile season.
Ron Yesney, DNR Upper Peninsula trails coordinator, said the damage to
the trail network in the Copper Country was devastating.
“It’s by far the worst we have ever had,” Yesney said. “We have
counted 158 washouts in our trail system alone – some small, some
massive. Our focus now is identifying the places where we have
washouts and working to remediate those that have health and safety
implications. We’re moving forward in a positive way.”
The June 17 Father’s Day storm dumped 7 inches of rain on some parts
of Houghton County over a nine-hour period. Damage to state-managed
facilities in the area was assessed at just under $20 million.
Initially, the DNR was forced to close about 60 miles of state-managed
recreation trails in Houghton County.
Since that time, crews have been working diligently on assessment and
restoration efforts. An incident command center was set up and DNR
response crews from across the state have been working 12-hour shifts,
seven days a week to make area trails safe.
The DNR – including the Parks and Recreation, Fisheries and Forest
Resources divisions – has worked with the DEQ on clean-up and
restoration efforts. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management
and Budget also has contributed staff.
“We’ve had people here continuously to help on the project,” Yesney
said. “The response has been massive, and it’s been a tremendous
sharing of resources, expertise and efforts.”
Steve Casey, Upper Peninsula district coordinator for the DEQ’s Water
Resources Division, agreed.
“We have worked long and hard this summer,” Casey said. “Together, we
protected health and safety of Houghton County residents, and took
steps to prevent transportation disruptions and additional property
damage. It has been rewarding work.”
The steep topography in and around the Houghton-Hancock area worked
to enhance the damage produced by the rain and runoff during the June
storm and an estimated 100-year storm that followed on July 12th.
“Our focus now is
to stabilize the slopes as much as possible and to prevent further
erosion next spring,” Yesney said. “We want to get the trails improved
to the point where we can use them, but health and safety comes
Much of the trail damage occurred along old railroad grades that have
been converted to recreational trails. They run across the face of the
steep slopes. In many places, homes and businesses are situated below
Stabilizing damaged slopes will help ensure that when fall rains, or
the spring thaw occurs, the resulting runoff doesn’t further
deteriorate the trails and cause damage to communities.
Casey said 100-year-old storm sewers have deteriorated and are
partially filled with sand and debris and no longer have their
original hydraulic capacity to move water.
typically had relatively small culverts that backed up high flows
behind the grades during big storms,” Casey said. “This reduced peak
flows that went to municipal storm sewers. Where the grades have
washed out, peak flows in municipal sewers will increase.”
Casey said that until the materials that washed out from railroad
grades are stabilized, they will continue to wash into the storm
sewers and plug them.
“Municipalities (townships) have budgets as low as $200,000
a year,” he said. “They do not have the capacity to clean, let alone
replace, their storm sewers.”
Response crews have re-opened culverts and pulled back highly unstable
banks at washouts.
“The initial focus of these projects was health and safety. This was
accomplished by preventing additional grade washouts above towns,”
Casey said. “Now that we’ve been able to achieve that goal, or will
shortly achieve that goal, we’re looking to prevent future property
“This is done by
stopping the erosion of sand and rock from washing into municipal
storm sewers, so they don’t plug, flooding towns.”
About 20 of the trail
washouts have been repaired. DNR staffers estimate there are at least
15 washouts considered “massive,” meaning they are more than 30 feet
deep and will cost $550,000 or more to fix. Ten culverts have been
repaired in the aftermath of the storm, but dozens remain damaged.
Trail closures remaining in effect include the Freda Grade Route, the
Houghton to Chassell Trail and the Lake Linden Route south of Normand
The Hancock to Calumet Route is open with local reroutes. The Bill
Nicholls Trail is open from Old Mill Road in Houghton to Greenland in
“Some trails will likely not be open this winter, although every
effort is being made to safely get trails open for ORV and snowmobile
season in the Copper Country,” Yesney said. “Restoration and bank
stabilization work, as well as stabilizing damaged bridge sites, are
among the other priorities.”
Doug Rich, western
Upper Peninsula supervisor for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation
Division, said staff hopes to create spurs off the Hancock to Calumet
trail to Dollar Bay and Lake Linden in time for the snowmobile season.
“We’ve been making progress, day by day, moving forward to remedy the
situation,” Rich said.
Rich recently assumed the role of liaison officer within the Houghton
County incident command team, helping to process FEMA funding
applications and interacting cooperatively between the command team
and officials from local communities.
Franklin Township Supervisor Mary Sears characterized the response as
She said the DEQ has been “right on target” in its actions, with
staffers “at their best” reacting to the disaster.
“They have stepped up
and been a shining star through all of this,” Sears said. “You
couldn’t ask for a better response from these guys.”
Schoolcraft Township Supervisor Joel Keranen agreed the response has
been good, with DEQ and DNR staff staying put to help when they are
undoubtedly needed elsewhere.
“We’ve come a long way in a short time,” Keranen said. “People have
come to the area expecting a lot worse and I tell them, ‘Well, a lot
of that has been stabilized now.’”
The DNR recently
re-opened the Lily Pond boating access site, which had been damaged
severely during the storm.
DNR Parks and Recreation Division construction crews completed the
work. Materials for the repairs cost $50,000, funded by Michigan
boater registration and gas tax revenue from the DNR’s Waterways Fund.
The Boston Pond and
Boot Jack boating access sites closed in the aftermath of the storm
are now also open.
Boots on the ground
Elle Gulotty, a resource analyst with the DNR Fisheries Division’s
habitat management unit, said from her perspective, the DNR and DEQ
working together meant there were more staffers on the ground who know
how streams function, understand infrastructure, care about other
people and are prepared to help.
“It’s a special place. Neighbors were helping neighbors before we got
there,” she said. “DNR and DEQ had tools and expertise that allowed us
to tackle problems of greater magnitude and complexity.
“Working collaboratively, DNR and DEQ were able to protect health and
safety as circumstances on the ground rapidly changed.”
She said her experience as part of the response was very positive.
“We were all on the same team,” Gulotty
said. “There was a shared respect among DNR and DEQ staff, and for the
folks we interacted with throughout the response.”
Gulotty said it meant
a lot to her personally that people who had been through such hardship
were looking out for the needs of others first.
“That’s how I strive to be, and I was so thankful to be working with
such deserving and authentic people,” she said. “I admire their grit.
They might not live next door to me, but these folks are my
Gulotty said when heavy equipment was running, it didn’t matter much
to residents which agency was overseeing the work. The letters “DNR”
or “DEQ” were less important than being there.
the weeks following the initial storm, the DEQ entered into contracts
for $1 million of work to protect life, health and safety and prevent
future disruption of public transportation disruption and property
Crews on these DEQ-funded projects were primarily made up of 75
percent DEQ staff and 25 percent DNR.
The highlight of this work was the removal of a 100-foot abandoned
railroad grade that crossed a small creek above Ripley, a small
unincorporated community in Franklin Township, situated along M-26,
just east of Hancock.
After the Father’s Day flood, the embankment partially failed.
“It was made with watermelon-sized rocks,” Casey said. “The stone arch
culvert was broken and highly susceptible to plugging.”
If the culvert plugged, the embankment would wash out, sending
thousands of tons of rocks down a very steep stream channel into
Ripley. The ravine runs parallel to Michigan Tech’s Mont Ripley Ski
One house was situated directly in line and certainly would have been
hit by rocks.
“Removing that embankment was the best thing we did,” Casey said.
Additional notable projects in the DEQ portfolio include pulling back
banks and making a channel through debris on G Street in Lake Linden
and 8th Street in Hubbell.
With the number of
days until winter arrives winding down quickly, DNR and DEQ staff
members remain dedicated to making as much progress as possible on
restoration efforts before the snow flies.
“Like the people of Houghton County, we’ve pulled together to respond
to a disastrous set of circumstances presented by Mother Nature,” Rich
said. “We’re all doing the best we can. It will take time, but we’ll
For the latest
status updates on trails and other DNR facilities closures visit michigan.gov/dnrclosures.
about Michigan’s trails at michigan.gov/dnrtrails.
previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at
To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles sign-up for free email
Lake Superior Sportsman’s Club’s 9th Annual Trapping Workshop Set for
September 29th in Ontonagon County
Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the
Lake Superior Sportsman’s Club
will offer its ninth-annual Trappers' Workshop Saturday, September 29th at
the club’s facilities in Ontonagon County.
The workshop will begin
at 10 a.m. EDT (9 a.m. CDT) September 29th. Lunch will be provided. The
club is located 1.5 miles east of Silver City at 31433 W. M-64.
“This workshop is designed to give participants a basic understanding of
how to begin trapping or, for those seasoned trappers, to get updated on
new techniques and to rub elbows with other trappers,” said Don Harris,
workshop instructor and one of the club’s directors.
The workshop will cover
the ethics of trapping, safe trap handling and basic trap sets for water
and land animals including coyotes, raccoons and beavers. Additional
topics to be discussed include proper equipment, fur prices, lure use, fur
types and many aspects of how to start, or get back into, trapping.
The club will be drawing
winners for its five-gun fundraiser at 1 p.m.
Additional information to
Admission is free.
Workshop is open to the public.
Experienced and inexperienced trappers are
Children younger than 14 must be accompanied by
Participants will be given some trapping
“goodies” as well as an assortment of literature on trapping.
Camping and lodging are available nearby.
Pre-registration is suggested.
To learn more
about trapping in Michigan,
visit the DNR's website.
million acres of state forest land require a lot of careful planning
to keep them healthy and thriving. That’s why the DNR finalizes plans
for each forest management unit two years in advance of when any
management activities – prescribed burns, timber harvests or tree
thinning, for example – will take place.
summer and fall, forest management recommendations for 2020 are being
presented at open houses within those forest management units, giving
people the opportunity to speak with foresters, wildlife biologists
and other resource professionals. Upcoming
open houses include:
Marie Forest Management Unit – Sep.
18th in Naubinway and Sep. 19th in Kincheloe
Management Unit – Sep.
26th in Ishpeming
Falls Forest Management Unit – Oct.
3rd in Crystal Falls
Forest Management Unit – Oct.
4th in Shingleton
Forest Management Unit – Oct.
16th in Newberry
Forest Management Unit – Oct.
17th in Grayling
About a month
after each forest management unit’s open house, a public compartment
review meeting also will take place. That’s where the foresters will
present their final decisions on management activities for that unit. Compartment
review meetings coming up include:
Forest Management Unit – Sep.
27th in Roscommon
Marie Forest Management Unit – Oct.
2nd in Naubinway
Management Unit – Oct.
17th in Ishpeming
Forest Management Unit – Oct.
23rd in Shingleton
Falls Forest Management Unit – Oct.
25th in Crystal Falls
Forest Management Unit – Oct.
30th in Newberry
Forest Management Unit – Nov. 8th in Grayling
information – including a link to the interactive forest map showing
details of forest management activities, and the forest open house and
compartment review schedules – visit the public
input section of the DNR’s michigan.gov/forestry webpage.
passionate about Michigan’s waters?
Consider joining a
local public advisory council if you live near one of Michigan’s
“Areas of Concern” – waterways that are recovering from historic
pollution and environmental effects. Each area’s recovery is supported
by a group of community members who provide local expertise and
participate in volunteer activities.
In 1987, 14 Michigan
sites were designated as Areas of Concern under the Great Lakes Water
Quality Agreement. Since then, federal, state and local partners have
restored two of the areas and are making progress on the others. Local
public advisory councils are key to restoring these waters, and anyone
efforts to restore these places on the
Areas of Concern webpage
and connect with a local group through your
11SEP18-Many aquatic invasive species – non-native plants and animals
that can disrupt the natural ecosystem, tourism and the economy – are
easily spread by boaters and anglers who use their equipment in
multiple bodies of water without properly cleaning it.
As part of efforts to manage
aquatic invasive species,
a habitat enhancement project at
Fort Custer Recreation Area
in Augusta, Michigan, recently kicked off. The DNR is working with
Kieser & Associates, an environmental science and engineering firm in
Kalamazoo, on a plan to enhance the recreation area’s habitat by
managing aquatic invasive species in its lakes. The project is funded
through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment as part of the
settlement levied against Enbridge Energy in connection with the July
2010 oil release on Line 6B into the Kalamazoo River.
In addition to
aquatic plant surveys, which have found invasive species in all of
Fort Custer’s lakes, the three-year project will include several
different treatments to control these species. This will help
determine the best long-term, cost-effective options for invasive
species management in the lakes. The project also involves a public
outreach and educational component to help park visitors understand
their role in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
You can help by following these simple steps:
Clean boats, trailers and
Drain live wells, bilges and
all water from boats.
Dry boats and equipment.
Dispose of unwanted bait in
Learn more about preventing the spread of invasive species at
11SEP18-DNR staff again will use trawling and gillnetting on
Saginaw Bay to survey the area's fish community, marking the 48th
consecutive year the department has surveyed the bay to determine the
abundance and health of fish populations including walleye and yellow
perch and and those they forage.
“The timing of
late summer or early fall allows us to assess how much reproduction
has taken place for the year, as well as the overall abundance of
older age groups of fish,” said Dave Fielder, DNR fisheries research
biologist out of Alpena. “The use of the same methods each year allows
us to detect population changes in each species.”
This survey annually produces data to gauge the effects of fisheries
management actions and invasive species on fish populations found in
the bay. While the DNR does other work in Saginaw Bay – such as
walleye tagging projects, creel surveys and habitat work – this fish
community study is the department’s primary look at the status of the
Long-term surveys such as this one are critical to understanding fish
communities and how they are changing. It takes about two to three
weeks and two research vessels (the R/V Tanner out of Alpena and the
R/V Channel Cat out of Harrison Township) to complete.
The collected data
will be analyzed and shared with fisheries managers and others before
the 2019 fishing season, in order to make any needed adjustments to
For more information on DNR fish management,
Dave Fielder, 989-356-3232,
ext. 2572 or
586-465-4771, ext. 22.
year, the DNR and the Natural Resources Commission created the Outdoor
Recreation Advisory Council, a group geared toward increasing
awareness of the many manufacturing, retail and service companies that
support outdoor recreation, as well as building more connections
within that statewide community.
“The Michigan businesses in this sector have great stories
to tell,” said Marc Miller, DNR deputy for regional initiatives and
the outdoor recreation industry. “We’re committed to finding new ways
to strengthen the industry, build relationships and work together to
discover opportunities for growth – all of which will mean better
outdoor recreation experiences and more fun for the public.”
A new DNR interactive map, available at
allows users to navigate the state to find outdoor recreation
businesses, as well as explore industry research. The site also offers
a signup option for those interested in receiving email updates on the
work of the council and industry developments.
Public listening sessions – opportunities to
talk with consumers, retailers and other outdoor enthusiasts about
industry relevance and challenges – also are under way. Set dates
include Sept. 14 in Escanaba at Bay College and Jan. 9 at a meeting of
the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance in Houghton. More dates and
locations will be shared as they’re finalized. For more details or to
showcases fishing on Two Hearted River
Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Becoming an Outdoors-Woman
Program is offering a Beyond BOW steelhead fishing workshop for women.
This event is designed to introduce or further enhance steelhead fishing
skills in a wild, remote river setting. Beginners are welcome, but some
sort of prior basic fishing experience is preferred.
Steelhead are rainbow trout that spend a few years growing in Lake
Superior before returning to streams, like the Two-Hearted River, to
spawn. The river was made famous in the fishing tales of Ernest Hemingway.
“There are new skills to be learned, great fun to be had, all amongst the
beautiful outdoors of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” said Michelle Zellar,
The workshop is scheduled
for October 26th - 28th, 2018 and is open to up to 12 participants.
Overnight accommodations will be provided at the Rainbow Lodge’s Two
Hearted Cabins, which are situated at the mouth of the Two Hearted River
in northern Luce County.
Instruction will start promptly at 12:30 p.m. Friday, October 26th in the
beautiful Chapel of the Two Hearted River, located near the river mouth.
“We will cover history, identification, equipment set-up, regulations,
casting practice and first-hand experience of fishing for steelhead on the
Two Hearted River with our passionate and experienced instructors,” Zellar
Saturday, while spending the day fishing along the river, we will also
cook lunch over an open fire at the Two Hearted State Forest Campground.
Participants must be 18 or older and responsible for their own Recreation
Passport, which is required for entry into state parks and recreation
areas, as well as a Michigan fishing license.
The registration deadline
is September 24th, when a random lottery
selection will be held to determine class participants.
information and registration materials are available online at
This will be a rain, shine or snow event.
Exploring ‘States of
Incarceration’ at the Michigan History Museum
By SUZANNE FISCHER - Museum Director, Michigan
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
history of incarceration is full of contradictions.
When Michigan became
a state in 1837, one of the first institutions proposed by the new
governor was a prison. A decade later, Michigan became the world’s
first English- speaking government to ban the death penalty. By the
early 20th century, Michigan State Prison in Jackson was the largest
walled prison in the world.
From Sept. 8, 2018,
through May 19, 2019, the Michigan History Center, a division of the
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is hosting a national
traveling exhibition called States of Incarceration at the Michigan
History Museum in Lansing.
The exhibit uses
history and culture to tackle today’s urgent questions about
incarceration – the act of confining someone against his or her will –
in prisons, jails, detention centers, and some kinds of schools and
The huge rise in the
number of incarcerated people in the U.S. over the past 40 years is
called mass incarceration. According to the American Civil Liberties
Union website, the U.S. incarcerated population has increased by 700
percent, with 2.3 million people in jail and prison, far outpacing
population growth and crime.
“This exhibit is a
great opportunity to think through some of the questions and
contradictions surrounding incarceration in Michigan and the United
States,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center.
than 700 university students and formerly incarcerated individuals
from 30 communities, spearheaded by the Humanities Action Lab at
Rutgers University in New Jersey, created the States of Incarceration
The individuals grew
up in a United States that incarcerates more of its people, including
immigrants, than any country in the world – and at any point in its
Recently, a new
bipartisan consensus concedes the criminal justice system is broken.
There is intense conflict over how to fix it.
In 2015, the students
and former inmates came together to ask: How did this happen? What new
questions does the past challenge us to ask about what is happening
now? To find answers, they examined their own communities’ histories.
Through courses at 30
universities, local teams shared stories, searched archives and
visited correctional facilities. Each team created one piece of the
exhibition, which was launched in New York City in April 2016.
The project’s run at
the Michigan History Museum is a collaborative partnership between the
museum and Michigan State University.
the fall 2018 semester, MSU history professor Dr. LaShawn Harris and
her students will explore various ways Michigan prisons served as
possible sites of creativity, pleasure and leisure during the early
20th century. They will contribute a piece to the exhibition, which
will be installed in early 2019.
research the formal and informal rehabilitation programs, including
education, art, music and sports, that Michigan prisons offered
(during that time),” Harris said. “Students will also look for
inmates’ experiences within creative rehabilitative prison programs.”
Museum staff also supplemented the exhibition with information and
artifacts about the history of incarceration in Michigan.
The exhibit includes
exceptional historical artifacts from the Michigan History Center’s
collections, including rare prisoner photographs; elaborate furniture
made at the Jackson prison; interactive experiences and exhibit
components developed specifically for children.
To help the 65,000
school children who visit the history museum every year connect with
these complicated histories, the museum developed a section on the
history of youth incarceration in Michigan’s reform schools.
1856, the State House of Correction for Juvenile Offenders opened in
Lansing. Boys and girls under 18 were sent there for offenses ranging
from larceny and vagrancy to foul language.
Girls were sent to
their own institutions beginning in the 1860s. In 1893, the Lansing
school became the Industrial School for Boys, where residents learned
trades they could use upon their release.
worked at the schools, in the fields or in furniture workshops. At
other times, they were indentured to work in private homes for a set
amount of time,” said Rachel Clark, Michigan History Center education
specialist. “County agents investigated ‘host’ families and did
periodic welfare checks on the indentured children.”
Today's foster care
and juvenile-justice programs learned both positive and negative
lessons from Michigan's reform schools. Elementary-age visitors to the
exhibit can follow a boy and a girl through the schools and are
encouraged to ask, “what is fair?”
The exhibition opens
to the public on Saturday, Sept. 8 with special free admission and
light refreshments beginning at 11 a.m. and a talk by Dr. Heather Ann
Thompson at 1 p.m.
is a historian at the University of Michigan and the Pulitzer Prize
and Bancroft Prize-winning author of Blood in the Water: The Attica
Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. She writes extensively on the
history of policing, mass incarceration and the current criminal
justice system and served as an advisor on the States of Incarceration
During her talk,
which is free and open to the public, Thompson will speak about her
book, as well as the history of mass incarceration in the United
programs scheduled during the exhibition’s run will include film
screenings, panel discussions, and presentations that explore the
history of incarceration in Michigan and the United States, as well as
current bipartisan efforts to reform the state’s criminal justice
supported by the Michigan Humanities Council. Admission to the
exhibition is free with regular museum admission. The Michigan History
Museum is open seven days a week. For museum hours and information on
the exhibition and its programs, visit the museum’s website at
previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at
To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles sign-up for free email
06SEP18-Whether you’re looking to get started in a new outdoor
activity or get some pointers from the pros, the DNR Outdoor Skills
Academy can help. Upcoming classes include:
Waterfowl Hunting Clinic
in Cadillac). This class will cover everything you need to know to
get started, including how to find a location, scouting, calling and
Learn more about the Outdoor Skills Academy
and see other upcoming classes at
you know that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula played an important role in
the Civil War? While no battles were fought in the state, the U.P.’s
iron ore was critically important to wartime manufacturing. Tools,
equipment and other supplies made from U.P. iron helped meet the needs
of the Union Army.
can learn all about “Iron
Ore and the Civil War” at the Michigan
Iron Industry Museum’s annual
Civil War encampment September 29th. The free, family-friendly event runs
from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Activities include a recreated Civil War
camp, live historical music, live cannon and artillery demonstrations,
and popular 19th-century children’s games.
than 30 Michigan state parks host fall harvest festivals in September and
October. Hay rides, pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, costume contests
and haunted trails are just some of the fun activities taking place. Learn
05SEP18-With more than 1,000 miles of the national North Country
Scenic Trail, continuing development along the Detroit-to-Ironwood
Iron Belle Trail, and a 12,500-mile system of state-designated trails
enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts of all types, Michigan is cementing its
reputation as the nation’s Trails State.
boosting our trails resumé on the water, too, as
stand-up paddle boarding and other paddlesports,
including kayaking, are among the fastest growing forms of outdoor
A newly opened water trail – the Beaver Island water trail in northern
Michigan – offers the unique experience of paddling around an island.
The water trail wraps 42 miles around the island in Lake Michigan,
sitting about 30 miles off the coast near Charlevoix.
island contains an extensive system of hiking, biking and birding
trails, making it a great destination for adventurous visitors,” said
Jon Allan, Office of the Great Lakes director.
Allan said the water trail plan was developed by Traverse City-based
LIAA and the local community, with the support of Michigan’s Coastal
Management Program and the DNR.
“Safe landing points
were identified in 18 places for paddlers circumnavigating the island,
and local officials are working with the DNR to add rustic campsites
at some of them,” he said.
The local community formed the Beaver Island Archipelago Trails
Association to increase paddling opportunities, create promotional
materials, perform maintenance and add signage. Interpretive signage
and programming along the water trail will highlight Beaver Island’s
unique history, natural resources and connection to the Great Lakes.
Plan your trip with the Beaver Island water
trail paddling guide.
Michigan’s Coastal Management Program has invested nearly $2 million
in its water trails initiative since 2012.
Connect with the Coastal Management Program
or contact program manager
Celebrating 40 years
in 2018, Michigan’s Coastal Management Program works in partnership
with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which
supports a network of state-federal partnerships protecting America’s
05SEP18-Just in time for hunters preparing for the upcoming
seasons, a new public shooting range in Grand Traverse County is now
Located in Union
Township, just south of the intersection of Fife Lake and Supply
roads, the range offers 12 lanes for target shooting, with three lanes
each at 10, 25, 50 and 100 yards.
Accessible parking and pathways to the shooting stations, target
retrievals and vault toilet are available at the site, too.
Range hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through the end of September,
then 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily beginning Oct. 1. Shooting outside of
open hours is not allowed. The range will remain open through Nov. 30
or until snowfall, whichever comes first, and then will reopen in
spring 2019 when snow is no longer a factor.
“We’re excited to offer a new range for residents and visitors in
northern Michigan. The opening of this range is a result of years of
work by DNR staff, community members and many other cooperators,” said
DNR shooting range specialist Lori Burford. “I am very thankful to all
our partners, including Ware Construction, Elmer’s, Dunn Rite
Construction, National Rifle Association, the United States Fish and
Wildlife Service, Union Township officials and the Michigan Department
of Technology, Management and Budget.
“I trust that the
users of this unique facility will use it safely and take the
opportunity to introduce new folks to shooting sports at this
Other target shooting opportunities offered by the DNR include seven
staffed shooting ranges in southern Michigan that feature amenities
like handgun, rifle, shotgun and archery ranges and restroom
about the DNR’s shooting ranges and other ranges around the state at
more information about the Grand Traverse range,
bear hunting seasons
are almost here, with the first opening Sept. 10 in the Upper
Peninsula, the Lower Peninsula’s first season starting Sept. 14 in
select areas, and Sept. 16 for remaining locations below the bridge.
Bear seasons have staggered openers with various locations and hunt
periods. For each of the 2017 and 2018 hunting seasons, 7,140 bear
licenses were available.
“Over half of the
state is open to regulated bear hunting,” said Kevin Swanson, wildlife
management specialist with the DNR’s bear and wolf program. “Hunters
are an important part of managing the number of bear and where they
are located, and they have been part of bear management in Michigan
Regulations governing how and when bear can be harvested are in place
to sustainably manage the bear populations. “Regulations are how we
control the take of bear, ensuring Michigan has a heathy population
within suitable habitat. They are adjusted, if needed, every two
“We have the ability to influence the growth of bear populations in
remote areas of Michigan. Habitat is not a limiting factor, but social
tolerance has been reached in portions of the Lower Peninsula,”
Swanson said. “We are discussing another increase in harvest in the
northern Lower Peninsula.”
Watch a video on bear habitat.
The state’s current
population is estimated at 14,000 adult black bear – almost 11,000 in
the Upper Peninsula and nearly 3,000 in the northern Lower Peninsula.
Several different scientific indicators, as well as public input, are
used to determine harvest recommendations.
Hunters who were successful in drawing a bear license for the bear
management unit they chose will have a good chance at harvesting a
bear, with success rates generally from 25 percent to 60 percent.
Millions of acres of public land are accessible to bear hunters,
though many choose to hunt on private land. A bear license can be used
on either land type within a particular bear management unit.
bear preference point system and how to get a
license or contact
Showcasing The DNR:
Getting Wild in The Classroom
By HANNAH SCHAUER -
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
children to wildlife and other natural resources can be one of the
most exciting, rewarding and fulfilling endeavors for educators and
With another school year beginning, some people may not know the
Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides numerous
opportunities to help teachers make those valuable connections between
the state’s natural and cultural resources and students of all ages.
Elementary students get wild
Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife
curriculum, elementary school educators can introduce young learners
to Michigan’s wildlife species and their habitats.
Wild for Michigan's Wildlife brought an excitement into my class that
I wasn't anticipating,” said Charlotte Simpson of Shettler Elementary,
part of Fruitport
Schools in Muskegon. “My youngest of learners – kindergartners – were
engaged in the lessons and materials and were making connections to
their beautiful home state.”
Included with the lesson plans and activities, are “critter cards,”
featuring 19 different Michigan wildlife species.
While each educator receives a PDF version of the cards, the DNR also
prints a limited supply of the cards, so students can have a set to
keep. The available card sets are distributed to Michigan teachers on
a first-come, first-served basis.
“Throughout many lessons, I would hear, ‘I've seen that animal before’
or ‘I'm going to look for that animal tonight when I get home,’"
During the 2017-2018 school year, over 800 kindergarten through
fifth-grade educators registered to receive this free curriculum.
school is for the bears (and ducks)
Using actual location data from radio-collared Michigan black bears,
middle school students can find out what bears are up to throughout
A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear
provides lessons, videos, activities and bear location data to help
students learn more about bear behaviors and habits at various times
of the year. Like other DNR wildlife classroom curricula, this program
is offered free of charge.
through eighth-graders will learn all about bear biology, as well as
the DNR’s role in managing bear populations in Michigan. This year,
additional bear location data have been added to the curriculum and
educators can choose which bear, or bears, they want their class to
Educator Brandy Dixon, from Holy Ghost Lutheran School in Monroe, said
she uses the curriculum in her classroom and she loves the program.
was a great way to show my students how there are people in the state
of Michigan whose job it is to protect our natural resources. It
encouraged them to think about how to maintain our environment, and it
taught them about bears,” Dixon said. “They gained in-depth knowledge
about these creatures, and I think that knowledge – because it was
spread through an entire school year – will stick with them for the
rest of their lives.”
With knowledge and experience comes greater understanding.
“I had some students who started in my class dead set against
hunting,” Dixon said. “I think they now have more of an understanding
as to why hunting, in particular, is an effective management practice
for our Michigan wildlife.”
participate in the curriculum also have the option to enter a Year in
the Life of a Michigan Black Bear contest.
After learning all about black bears in Michigan, students can create
a way to share the story of a black bear’s journey throughout the
year. Educators representing the top three projects are awarded gift
certificates to purchase science supplies for their classroom.
for the contest are provided by the Michigan Bear Hunters Association
and the DNR.
Learn about last school year's winners.
DNR also offers middle-schoolers curriculum centering on wetlands and
some of the birds that live there.
Michigan’s Wondrous Wetlands and Waterfowl
offers an opportunity to learn about the ducks, geese, and swans found in
Michigan, as well as the critical importance of wetland habitats.
Lessons include several activities. Students can become a bird in a
migration simulation that illustrates the perils that waterfowl encounter
during their bi-annual flights. Students also will engage in land-use
planning, and analyze Michigan waterfowl population data.
become elk managers
Michigan once had elk
across the state, but by the late 1800s, all the native elk had
disappeared due to unregulated hunting and drastic landscape changes
that led to a lack of habitat.
In 1918, seven elk were brought from the western United States to
Wolverine, Michigan to re-establish our state’s elk population.
Now, 100 years later, Michigan has a healthy and abundant elk
resulting from intentional land management and increased law
Students can learn more about this conservation success story and
celebrate elk in the classroom with
program gives high school students to chance to step into the role of
a wildlife manager,” said Katie Keen, DNR wildlife communications
Students will learn about elk, their habitat needs, Michigan history,
wildlife disease and forest management. They also will explore social
considerations for wildlife management.
“I was really impressed with the way Elk University uses real data,
video and photos to teach biology concepts, but doesn't ‘preach’ or
‘tell’ information to the kids,” said Chad Miller of Hamilton High
School in Hamilton. “Instead, it was clear that whoever designed the
lessons understood inquiry learning and the art of getting kids to
‘uncover’ concepts. It is so rare to find – especially in free,
pre-written programs – this approach used so well.”
Elk University is offered free of charge to ninth through 12th-grade
“Forests are critical
habitat for many species, such as bear and elk, and a field trip is a
great way to have students experience these resources first-hand after
learning about them in class,” Keen said.
For those teachers hoping to get their students out for some forest
exploration there is funding available to schools for field trips
through a program called “Wheels to Woods.”
Any pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school in Michigan is eligible
to apply for funds to go on a field trip to a school forest, private
forest, public forest or forest products company.
“Wheels to Woods pays
for the bus so that students, teachers and parents can go on an
educational field trip to explore a nearby forest,” said Mike
Smalligan, DNR forest stewardship coordinator. “Teachers are free to
use any topic about forests that fits in with their lessons and
more information and an application form, visit
Applications are accepted throughout the year.
a field trip is not feasible, educators can incorporate trees, forests
and more into the classroom with Project Learning Tree.
With this award-winning outdoor curriculum that meets both state and
national standards, educators can find lessons and activities for
learners of all ages to incorporate into classrooms and other
more about Michigan Project Learning Tree at
More ways to
bring natural resources to the classroom
Project WILD workshops offer professional
development for bringing hands-on natural resources-related
activities to classrooms. Several Project WILD guide books for
kindergarten through grade 12 are available. Find out more at
Get salmon in the classroom.
young salmon encourages third- through 12th-grade students to think
and care about conservation and creates a connection between caring
for their fish and caring for their local environment. Learn more
about the Salmon in the Classroom program at
The DNR’s Academy of Natural Resources, a
week-long program offered in two locations during the summer months,
gives teachers the opportunity to learn about Michigan’s diverse
natural resources and how to bring that knowledge to the classroom.
Learn more at
for wildlife classroom curricula and learn about additional
opportunities the DNR has to offer educators, visit
To get the latest education updates from the DNR, sign up for DNR
and choose “Education and Outreach” to subscribe to the Essential
The Michigan DNR
offers numerous opportunities for the state’s schoolchildren to learn
about wildlife and natural resources in closer, more involved and more
These opportunities offered for today’s youth may cultivate a bumper
crop of wildlife and natural resources stewards for tomorrow.
That’s what the DNR is aiming for.
Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at
To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles sign-up for free email
04SEP18-More than 200 entries vied for the
honor of being the DNR's winning design in the 2018 Deer Management
Cooperator Patch contest.
See all of the submissions in this short video.
In the end, Matt MacDonald of Toronto, Ontario, submitted a design
that captured DNR staff's attention. Thanks to everyone who
participated in this year’s contest.
patches are used as an incentive for successful hunters to bring their
deer to DNR check stations. A deer head (antlers must still be
attached on bucks) or an entire carcass must be presented to receive a
patch. Patches are not available by mail. Hunters are urged to call
ahead whenever possible to confirm hours and days of operation.
Deer check station
locations and hours for 2018 should be posted by September 1st.
For more information, contact the
DNR Wildlife Division
at 517-284-WILD (9453).
04SEP18-The first hunt period of the 2018 elk season starts
tomorrow, Aug. 28, and 100 Michigan hunters will have 12 days to fill
30 any-elk and 70 antlerless-only licenses issued in the northern
third of the Lower Peninsula.
“In general, elk
hunters have a remarkable success rate during this first hunt period,”
said Brian Mastenbrook, DNR wildlife field operations manager working
out of the Gaylord office. “With only 100 hunters, we can really work
closely with hunters and landowners to find elk.”
first hunt – also known as Michigan’s early elk hunt – allows hunters
to harvest an elk in any location in the
elk management unit
except within the core elk range; this approach helps to target
animals that have moved outside the core elk range. Regulated hunting
is a management tool used to influence how many elk are present and
where they are located. The goal is to keep the majority of elk within
the core elk range.
Michigan’s elk population has been hunted annually since 1984 and at
this time has an estimated population of more than 1,200 animals –
above the state’s current population goal of 500-900 elk. That goal
was set by the Elk Management Advisory Team and outlined in the 2012
Elk Management Plan.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the
reintroduction of elk to Michigan. In 1918, seven elk from the western
United States were brought to Michigan and released near Wolverine, in
Cheboygan County, to help re-establish the state’s elk population.
Check out this brief video, tracing Michigan's elk
Several activities and
opportunities are available throughout this year to help mark the
The wildlife habitat license plate currently
spotlights Michigan elk.
A contest was held to design a new elk poster.
education program for high school educators is offered.
The DNR has hosted outreach programs in several
If you’re in the Gaylord
area Saturday, Sept. 8, stop by the downtown pavilion at 5 p.m. to join in
a special celebration. Enjoy snacks from Gourmet Gone Wild and hear
conservation leaders talk about the importance of wildlife management.
While in town, make a trip out to the Pigeon River Country State Forest to
view elk, but make sure to download the viewing brochure before you go.
Freshwater ‘Smart Ships’ Launched in Lake Superior
By RACHEL COALE - Michigan Department of
Michael Beaulac of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes and Dr. Guy
Meadows of Michigan Technological University contributed to this story.
spectacular rugged scenery, isolated Lake Superior shore, and quaint
mining towns of northern Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula can make
visitors feel like they’ve taken a step back in time.
However, with a recent dedication at the Great Lakes Research Center
in Houghton, something new is on the way – a hub for the development
of futuristic, state-of-the-art ‘Smart ship’ technologies.
Marine Autonomy Research Site (MARS)
serve as the world’s first freshwater location for testing unmanned
(autonomous) surface and underwater vessels for operation in Great
Lakes and U.S. coastal waters.
The dedication drew representatives from Gov. Rick Snyder’s office,
Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers,
Great Lakes shipping companies, legislators, the U.S. Coast Guard and
Transport Canada, and local dignitaries interested in learning how the
site is expected to benefit Great Lakes science, research and
Michigan Office of the Great Lakes – an office within the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources that supports efforts to protect,
restore and sustain Michigan’s waters and Great Lakes communities –
assisted with development of the testing site.
“This innovative technology will help researchers develop integrated
systems to collect data and inform Great Lakes management decisions,”
said Jon Allan, director of the Office of the Great Lakes.
The launch ceremony
featured a demonstration highlighting advanced autonomous technology
on the Portage Canal. A small surface vessel captured the contours of
the bottom of the canal (bathymetric profile), and an autonomous buoy
was demonstrated capable of maintaining position and moving itself
Additional unmanned surface and subsurface vehicles were on display.
The MARS project test site will be managed by Michigan Technological
University, which plays an integral role in Great Lakes research on
lake ecology, fish biology and ecosystem change.
testing area extends within a 30-mile radius of the university’s
waterfront campus, where the Great Lakes Research Center is located.
“Shipping will look different in 25 years, largely because of the work
done here,” said David Naftzger, executive director of the Conference
of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.
The area already is served by the university’s high-accuracy,
real-time, GPS survey system, its fleet of crewed research vessels and
a licensed mariner, along with all U.S. Coast Guard testing
requirements for monitoring and verifying vehicle location and
The Coast Guard’s Duluth-based Marine Safety Unit is working with
Michigan Tech MARS researchers on developing interim guidelines and
protocols for the unmanned vehicle deployment and testing.
Testing will include the viability of vehicle sensors, anti-collision
capabilities, shore monitoring, and vehicle-to-base-station
to the future
researchers envision unmanned surface and underwater vessels being
used to augment manned research ships to transport remote-sensing
technology, collect sonar and video imagery, deploy under frozen Great
Lakes waters to gather winter samples and venture to sites unsafe for
While the types of autonomous vessels
to be tested at the MARS site could include larger vessels, they will
initially be research- and survey-grade boats and underwater drones
less than 33 feet in length overall. Examples of typical, unmanned,
survey-grade surface vessels include the ASV
Global “Co-Worker” and the Liquid
Robotics “Wave Glider.”
Other testing could involve autonomous underwater vehicles monitoring
structures such as pipeline for their integrity, identifying
shipwrecks, like those found at the Thunder Bay National Marine
Sanctuary and the Keweenaw Underwater Preserve, or mapping bottom
substrate and recovering evidence when working with the Michigan State
Police. An example of a typical unmanned underwater vehicle is the OceanServer,
Regardless of the vessel size or type tested, much of the
autonomous technology, such as anti-collision software, sensors and
sensor fusion is expected to be similar and applicable to a wide
spectrum of unmanned vessels and vehicles.
Therefore, the lessons learned will be transferrable to others who
want the knowledge.
“This center put us on the cutting edge,” said U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman.
“And if you’re not on the cutting edge, you’re behind.”
In its 2017
Michigan State of the Great Lakes Report,
the Office of the Great Lakes published an article noting that,
“scientists in the upper Great Lakes, and Lake Superior in particular,
currently lack the capabilities for real-time science observations
during early- and late-winter periods, a large and critical portion of
the annual thermal cycle.”
Samples usually are collected by scientists in small watercraft,
but Lake Superior’s harsh winters and ice can make research both
difficult and dangerous. Unmanned vehicles can help close a
significant gap in knowledge and reduce the costs of human-led
is a key victory for the newly-formed
Smart Ships Coalition
of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. The coalition, established by
resolution of the governors and premiers of the Great Lakes St.
Lawrence in October 2017, is the region’s group for those involved in
research, commercialization activities, workforce development, and
regulatory matters pertaining to maritime autonomy and related
The coalition unites
scientists, policy makers, resource managers, innovators, navigators
and educators who share a common interest in the advancement and
application of autonomous technologies operated in marine
The organization’s web page notes that “in marine applications … the
state of adoption for autonomous technologies is lagging that of air
and ground operations.”
The Smart ships
Coalition plans to bring marine technology up to speed.
The waters near the
Keweenaw Peninsula, including seasonally “Arctic-like conditions,”
make the new Marine Autonomy Research Site an ideal testing ground for
developing expertise, platforms and equipment that can withstand
extreme Great Lakes and oceanic conditions.
This area also allows the technology to be tested where it will not
interfere with commercial shipping or recreational boating.
Michigan’s manufacturing expertise and abundance of working
waterfronts also position the state for success at the forefront of
this new arena. Autonomous technologies have the potential to
accelerate new developments in many industries.
The Great Lakes Commission reports that the shipping industry in the
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system supports about 120,000 jobs. Science
and engineering account for about 40,000 jobs, and manufacturing
employs nearly one million people.
have many potential applications to accelerate progress and create new
jobs for Great Lakes scientific research and in shipping,
manufacturing and maritime industries.
with the MARS test bed launch, the region’s governors and premiers
Smart Ships Action Plan. The
plan includes policy actions for the federal governments, states and
provinces and industry to help the region become a leader in this
rapidly growing sector.
Smart ships represent
a major leap forward in maritime technology. The regional Smart Ships
Coalition will be working to implement the action plan and further
establish the region as a global center of excellence for smart-ship
“The opening of the Marine Autonomy Research Site at Michigan Tech is
another important step for our region and will help accelerate our
work to create the needed policies and regulations for smart ships,”
Learn more about work to support healthy Great Lakes waters and
communities from the
Office of the Great Lakes,
and explore Michigan Technological University’s role in Great Lakes
science with its
Great Lakes Research Center.
Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at
To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles sign-up for free email
Share Your Thoughts With the DNR at September Meetings
04SEP18-The Department of
Natural Resources is committed to providing Michigan citizens the
opportunity to share input and ideas on policy decisions, programs and
other aspects of natural resource management and outdoor recreation
opportunities. One important avenue for this input is at meetings of the
public bodies that advise the DNR and, in some cases, also set policies
for natural resource management.
boards, commissions, committees and councils will hold public meetings in September 2018. The
public is encouraged to attend. The links below will take you to the
webpage for each group, where you will find specific meeting locations
and, when finalized, meeting agendas.
Please check these pages
frequently, as meeting details and agendas may change and sometimes
meetings are canceled.
By JOANNE FOREMAN -
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
you travel past Michigan’s cities, past the farms, there’s a point
where the billboards give way to forest land as far as the eye can
This is the home of eastern hemlock –
spanning from West Michigan’s dunes, across the northern Lower
Peninsula, into all but two counties in the Upper Peninsula. (Click
here to check out a sidebar column on hemlock in the U.P.)
Though not a
standout, hemlock is an important part of the mesic northern forest,
providing shelter for deer and nesting birds, and keeping forest
streams cool and clean.
Now, the state’s
hemlock resource, estimated at 170 million trees, is threatened by a
tiny invasive insect – the hemlock woolly adelgid.
Nearly invisible to
the naked eye, the black, aphid-like bug pierces branches and feeds on
sap, slowly sucking the life from the tree.
To protect its eggs,
the adelgid spins a cotton-like, waxy white ball. These “ovisacs,”
resembling the tips of cotton swabs, are visible on the underside of
hemlock branches, near the base of the needles. It is the woolly
appearance of these ovisacs that help give the hemlock woolly adelgid
native of Asia, the adelgid probably arrived in the U.S. on a shipment
of hemlock from Japan. It was first identified in Richmond, Virginia
in 1951 and by the 1980s had spread to large tracts of forest in the
On the move
2001 external quarantine
restricting the shipment of hemlock to Michigan from states infested
with the adelgid, the insect was detected in Emmet County, just south
of the Mackinac Bridge, in 2006.
Reports were then
later confirmed in Macomb and Ottawa counties in 2010, in Berrien
County in 2012 and in Allegan County in 2013.
localized infestations were managed by surveying and removing infested
trees and treating nearby trees with insecticides. By 2015, just when
these sites were receiving an “all-clear” designation, reports of
hemlock woolly adelgid were confirmed in new areas of Ottawa County
and in southern Muskegon County.
reports from the public, revealed infestations in northern Muskegon
County in 2016, and in Ottawa, Allegan and Oceana counties in 2017.
Not only private lands were affected, but also state parks in these
four western Lower Peninsula counties were found to have severe
the checkerboard pattern of hemlock woolly adelgid across the western
counties, it is likely that multiple introductions of infested tree
stock are responsible,” said Scott Lint, a forest health specialist
with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Once it is
introduced, the adelgids can be spread by wind, wildlife and vehicles
that brush against infested trees.
As the map of new
infestations grew, the need for a coordinated plan of action to battle
this invasive species was clear.
Staff from the
Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural
Development, Michigan State University, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s Forest Service, and the Ottawa County Parks and
Recreation Department formed the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Coordinating
Committee, which cooperatively completed a statewide strategy document
in August 2017.
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development spearheads the first
line of defense – prevention.
Along with the
2001 external quarantine, the department issued an
in 2017, restricting the movement of hemlock tree nursery stock and
unprocessed hemlock products from, or within, Allegan, Muskegon,
Ottawa and Oceana counties.
provide education, certification and inspection services to nurseries
and producers handling hemlock in the quarantined counties, and they
train certified pesticide applicators on the proper use of
insecticides to treat hemlock wooly adelgids. The agriculture
department staff also verifies reports of adelgids detected in new
The DNR’s Forest
Resources and Parks and Recreation divisions are finding and treating
hemlock woolly adelgid infestations on state lands, including at
Silver Lake, Duck Lake, Muskegon, P. J. Hoffmaster and Grand Haven
state parks – spanning the shoreline along these four affected
southwestern Michigan counties.
A recent grant from
the U.S. Forest Service’s Landscape Scale Restoration Program will
expand outreach to local units of government in affected areas and
provide training to their staff.
private and municipal lands in the four-county area are being surveyed
by the Ottawa Conservation District, supported by funding from the
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Michigan Invasive Species
Grant Program and Ottawa County.
To keep information
organized and efforts coordinated, all partners use the same software
for data collection.
All survey and
treatment information is housed in one database managed by the DNR
that can be used by partners to inform decision-making and work flow.
When invasive species
arrive, they don’t come with a set of instructions.
Knowing how they will
respond to a newly encountered environment, what they need to survive
and whether they develop new behaviors are important considerations in
determining how best to control them.
Deborah McCullough, a
professor in Michigan State University’s departments of Forestry and
Entomology, is at the center of a multifaceted effort to understand
the hemlock woolly adelgid’s life cycle in Michigan, its response to
insecticide treatments and the effects of Michigan’s winter
temperatures on its survival.
and her colleagues have already completed an adelgid risk map,
layering hemlock stands identified by satellite imagery over climate
data indicating temperatures favorable for adelgid survival.
The map directs
survey crews to the most likely places hemlock woolly adelgids might
be found. Preliminary findings from treatment studies are communicated
with partners and contractors to improve results in the field.
“There are so many
parts to managing an infestation – research, funding, partnerships,
survey, treatment,” McCullough said. “Working together means we’re
sharing information and moving each other forward, but at the same
time each of us is able to focus on our part of the task.”
Silver Lake State
Park, in Mears, along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Oceana County, is
the most-northerly-known location of hemlock woolly adelgid in
Emma Fojtik and Katie
Knapp, crew members with Ottawa Conservation District’s adelgid
project, perch halfway up the slope of a forested dune on private
property just south of the park.
They are mapping the
location of every hemlock on the property, recording each tree’s
diameter and attaching a numbered tag to the trunk. This prepares the
site for chemical treatment to be applied by contractors in the fall
we find an infested tree, every hemlock within 800 feet of the tree
will be treated,” Knapp explains, as she gestures toward a seedling
full of white masses. “Basically, all of the hemlocks on this property
have hemlock woolly adelgids.”
Nearly identical work
is happening at Silver Lake State Park, where DNR staff is surveying
and preparing for hemlock treatments.
“Our current strategy
is based on the knowledge we have now,” said James Wieferich, a
technician with DNR Forest Resources Division. “If adelgid
infestations are limited to the areas we have surveyed, we can create
a barrier to sever the infestation from areas farther north that are
not infested and then stair-step treatment down to the southern limits
(of the infestation).”
North of the
designated barrier, the Nature Conservancy – in partnership with the
Michigan Dune Alliance – will soon begin detection surveys in coastal
areas not known to be infested with adelgids.
Detection surveys are
broadscale and quick, examining no more than 30 trees per acre on
selected plots to determine whether hemlock woolly adelgids are
present. These surveys will be conducted by Cooperative Invasive
Species Management Area staff – local partners who also assist by
providing outreach to communities affected by invasive species.
Signs of hope
At a campground in
Norton Shores in Muskegon County, an early infestation site and ground
zero for McCullough’s research, stands of hemlock look gray and thin
against the background of maples in full summer flourish.
A closer look reveals
a bright, vibrant hemlock trees among the maples, tied with assorted
colors of plastic marking tape. Another hemlock has fresh, green
growth at its tips. These trees are part of a study, funded by MSU’s
Project GREEEN, to improve treatment success for the insecticides
Imidacloprid and Dinotefuran.
fast-acting but short-lived, protecting trees from adelgids for one to
two years. Imidacloprid takes up to one year to show results but
provides protection for at least four years.
Armed with effective treatments and a coordinated management strategy,
Michigan hopes to be able to contain its hemlock woolly adelgid
Nature Conservancy’s Shaun Howard, project manager for Eastern Lake
Michigan, is cautiously optimistic.
“(Working together) we have more data to make decisions on a broader
scale,” Howard said. “Treatments are available and effective. Once trees
are infested, tree mortality could take four to 10 years, so we have time
to save the trees – but I can’t say whether this will be eradication (of
the infestations) or just the beginning of a long-term effort.”
McCullough is investigating the effects of temperature on the adelgids –
another factor that may improve the odds of success in the battle against
these invasive insects.
After an extremely cold night in Muskegon in January 2018, 80 percent of
the hemlock woolly adelgids on a sample tree at the campground in Norton
Shores had died. Warmer temperatures on the same night at a site in Ottawa
county showed far less adelgid mortality.
“Michigan’s known infestations are along the lakeshore, which has its own
micro-climate,” McCullough said. “The lake effect means more snow and
generally warmer winter temperatures than our inland areas, which may have
an effect on the adelgids’ ability to survive and spread.”
Knowing what’s at stake – the significant environmental, recreational and
economic costs of losing Michigan’s hemlock trees – keeps the team
committed to working together to protect this valuable resource.
about hemlock, hemlock quarantines and identifying and treating hemlock
woolly adelgid is available at
Check out previous
Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming
21MAY18-Willing to work for your warmth this winter? Apply now for
a fuel wood permit from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Where can you cut? A new,
highlights state forest areas in the northern Lower Peninsula where
Michigan residents are allowed to collect up to five standard cords of
wood from downed, dead trees. Upper Peninsula residents also may get
fuel wood permits from their
local state forest management unit offices.
“The new map will help people who want to cut wood decide where to
go,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.
“Then we encourage people to visit potential collection areas to
determine what wood is down and available.”
You can obtain a permit in two
ways: Visit a DNR office in person or download a mail-in permit order
The site also includes the interactive map and a map of DNR offices
that offer fuel wood permits.
Permits cost $20 each and are good for 90 days. All permits expire
December 31st, 2018. The department issues as many as 3,500 fuel wood
permits each year. Wood cut on a fuel wood permit is intended for
personal use and cannot be sold.
To help prevent the spread of
invasive species such as the emerald ash borer or oak wilt, the DNR
advises against moving firewood around the state. Learn more about
firewood rules and recommendations on the
Michigan Department of Agriculture’s website.
For more information, contact