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Looking for Forested, Lakefront Property? Land Auction Starts July 10

Several DNR-managed, forested land parcels go up for auction starting July 10

21JUN18-Interested in property in northern Michigan’s beautiful Presque Isle County? Don’t miss the DNR’s upcoming land sale, starting July 10, where parcels ranging in size from an acre to 32 acres will be available by sealed-bid auction. There are 41 land parcels available, all in Rogers Township.

Scott Goeman, manager of DNR Real Estate Services, said these properties are being offered to the public because they’re better suited for private ownership.

“The properties being offered in the July auction are isolated from other DNR-managed land, are difficult to manage, or provide limited outdoor recreation benefits to the public,” Goeman said. “Plus, all of these parcels are forested or have lake frontage – or both – making them attractive to a lot of potential buyers who are interested in a little land ‘up north.’”

Property listings will be available for bid once the auction starts. At that time, instructions for submitting a bid and printable bid forms will be provided at michigan.gov/landforsale. Information on the auction, including minimum bid prices, property descriptions and conditions of sale, is available on the website, too. Properties unsold from previous auctions also can be explored at this webpage.

Sealed bids must be postmarked by midnight July 20, and will be opened Aug. 1. Proceeds from the sale of these lands helps the DNR provide future outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the state.

Printed property information may be requested from the DNR Real Estate Services Section, P.O. Box 30448, Lansing, MI 48909-7948. For more information about the auction or other state-managed public land, contact Michael Michalek at 517-284-5950.

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Fish Survey Crews Heading to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Crews will use netting gear this summer to conduct fish survey work in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

21JUN18-Visitors this summer to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, on the south shore of Lake Superior, might see DNR staff surveying a number of waterbodies in the area. It’s all part of an effort to better understand what kind of fish make their home in these waters. 

“Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors every year, and many of those folks have questions about fish locally,” said Cory Kovacs, DNR fisheries biologist out of the DNR’s Newberry office. “We started sampling in 2017, and that information is important in helping us inform the public about what’s here, as well as in making decisions about managing those fish populations.”

In 2017, staff sampled Chapel Creek, Hurricane River, Miner’s River, Rhody Creek, Towes Creek and Mosquito River. This year, they’ll head to Grand Sable Lake, Chapel Lake, Beaver Lake, Sevenmile Creek and Lowney Creek. Crews will use netting gear in lakes and electrofishing gear in streams. Visitors should use caution if encountering those crews on the water. 

Additionally, the DNR has always worked with the National Park Service to sample water and take stream water temperatures, and will do that again this year, too. Five streams were selected for temperature monitoring in 2018.

For more information, contact Cory Kovacs, 906-293-5131, ext. 4071 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839 

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Wanted: Sightings of State's Largest Trees for Big Tree Hunt

Residents are asked to be on the lookout for Michigan's largest trees in this year's Big Tree Hunt

Whether you’re out in the woods or skateboarding through city streetscapes this summer, keep your eyes open – you may spot one of Michigan’s largest trees!

The 14th Big Tree Hunt runs through Sept. 3, 2019. Started by ReLeaf Michigan in 1993, it takes place every two years and helps catalog the state’s biggest trees. Your assignment: Seek out the most majestic trees in your area and report them, because tree-spotters can earn certificates and prizes.

“This is a really fun reason to get out and enjoy nature,” said Melinda Jones, executive director of ReLeaf Michigan. “It also helps raise awareness and enjoyment of the trees in our landscape.” 

The Big Tree Hunt is one way to discover candidates for the National Register of Big Trees, which so far includes 19 Michigan trees. The biggest tree spotted on the last hunt is a sycamore in Lenawee County with a 315-inch girth.

ReLeaf Michigan is a nonprofit that encourages planting trees. Additional Big Tree Hunt sponsors include the DNR, the Arboriculture Society of Michigan, the Consumers Energy Foundation, the DTE Energy Foundation and the Michigan Botanical Club. Learn more about the DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program at michigan.gov/ucf.

Entries, either online or hard copy, will be accepted until Sept. 3, 2019. Find out how to participate by visiting bigtreehunt.com, calling 800-642-7353 or emailing ledwards@ReLeafMichigan.org 

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DNR to Perform Major Construction in Houghton County

21JUN18-F.J. McLain State Park in Houghton County will be undergoing a major construction project, starting after Labor Day weekend 2018. Given a variety of safety concerns, we must close the day-use area and sections of the campground. Due to these closures there will be no new reservations made for Sept. 4 through the end of the camping season, which is Nov. 1, 2018. However, a limited number of sites will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. We appreciate the public's patience and understanding as we work to repair and prevent shoreline erosion damage and improve our infrastructure at this beautiful Michigan state park. For the latest on closures at DNR-managed state facilities visit www.michigan.gov/dnrclosures.

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DNR Has Started Work on Walkways At Laughing Whitefish Falls in UP

21JUN18-Construction work is under way at the Laughing Whitefish Falls Scenic Site, north of Sundell, in Alger County. Observation decks and a long wooden staircase, of more than 150 steps, are being improved over the summer months. While construction work continues, the viewing platform at the top of the falls will remain open. Additional viewing may be limited. The project is being funded through a $300,000 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant approved in 2015. For the latest updates on this and other closures, visit www.michigan.gov/dnrclosures.

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DNR Upper Peninsula Wolf Survey Shows Healthy Wolf Population

Two wolves on a winter trail from a previous DNR wolf survey in the Upper Peninsula.

20JUN18-Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division officials said today the state’s wolf population has remained relatively stable over the past four wolf surveys, the most recent of which occurred this past winter.
DNR wildlife biologists estimate there was a minimum of 662 wolves found among 139 packs across the Upper Peninsula this past winter. The 2016 minimum population estimate was 618 wolves.
“Based on our latest minimum population estimate, it is clear wolf numbers in Michigan remain viable and robust,” said Russ Mason, chief of the DNR’s wildlife division. “A similar trend is apparent in Wisconsin and Minnesota. The western Great Lakes states’ wolf population is thriving and has recovered.”
Fifteen more wolf packs were found during this past winter’s survey than in 2016, but pack size has decreased slightly and now averages less than five wolves.
The survey was conducted from December through April, before wolves had produced pups, and when the population is at its lowest point in the annual cycle.

“As the wolf population in the Upper Peninsula has grown and spread out across the region, packs are situated closer together,” said Dean Beyer, a DNR wildlife research biologist who organizes the sampling and generates the wolf population estimate for the biannual survey. “This makes it harder to determine which pack made the tracks that were observed in adjacent areas.
“Movement information we collect from GPS-collared wolves helps us interpret the track count results, because these data allow us to identify territorial boundaries. The minimum population estimate we generate is a conservative estimate, which takes these factors into account.”
The wolf survey is completed by DNR Wildlife Division and U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services staff who search specific survey areas for wolf tracks and other signs of wolf activity, such as territorial marking or indications of breeding.
In 2017-2018, approximately 63 percent of the Upper Peninsula was surveyed.
After wolves returned naturally to the U.P. through migration from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario in the 1980s, the population rebounded remarkably over time. The pronounced long-term increase in wolf abundance is evident, despite human cause-specific mortality, such as poaching.
However, over the past few years, Michigan’s minimum estimate has hovered between 600 and 700 wolves, which could be indicative of a stabilizing population.
“Research suggests prey availability and the geographical area of the U.P. are the key limiting factors of wolf population expansion,” said Kevin Swanson, a wildlife management specialist with the DNR’s Bear and Wolf Program in Marquette. “This is proving to be true.”
Since the winter of 1993-94, combined wolf numbers in Michigan and Wisconsin have surpassed 100, meeting federally established goals for population recovery.  The Michigan recovery goal of a minimum sustainable population of 200 wolves for five consecutive years was achieved in 2004.

Wolves in Michigan remain a federally-protected species which may only be killed legally in defense of human life.

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Black Buffalo State Record Broken by Angler on Grand River

Brandonn Kramer holding new state record Black Buffalo he caught

20JUN18-The Department of Natural Resources confirmed the catch of a new state record black buffalo on June 12th.
The fish, a member of the sucker family, was caught by Brandonn Kramer of Muskegon, Michigan at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25 on the Grand River in Ottawa County. Assistance was provided by Kramer’s friend and fishing cohort, Shawn Grawbarger also of Muskegon. The fish weighed 46.54 pounds and measured 39.75 inches. Kramer was bowfishing when he landed the record fish. 
The record was verified by Jay Wesley, a DNR fisheries manager for Lake Michigan. 

The previous state record black buffalo was caught by Sage Colegrove of Muskegon on the Grand River in Ottawa County on April 12, 2015. That fish weighed 44.54 pounds and measured 38.5 inches. 

State records in Michigan are recognized by weight only. To qualify for a state record, fish must exceed the current listed state record weight and identification must be verified by a DNR fisheries biologist. 

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/masterangler.  

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Arctic Grayling Reintroduction Gets Critical Support from Oleson Foundation

eyed Arctic Grayling eggs

20JUN18- Michigan’s historic effort to reintroduce Arctic grayling to the state’s waters will be supported by a $5,000 grant from the Oleson Foundation to the Department of Natural Resources. 
To develop Michigan’s broodstock – a group of mature fish used for breeding – the DNR plans to source wild Arctic grayling eggs from Alaska. However, a vital piece of equipment is needed first at Oden State Fish Hatchery in Emmet County where the broodstock will be developed. Support from the Oleson Foundation will help the DNR acquire this urgently needed piece equipment that will ensure no invasive disease or virus is inadvertently introduced to Michigan’s waters.  
“The Oleson Foundation’s Board of Directors is pleased to support this incredible project,” said Kathy Huschke, executive director of the Oleson Foundation. “It’s an amazing opportunity to recapture what was lost from northern Michigan’s environment more than 80 years ago due to overfishing and clear-cutting of our forests. This is truly a legacy project for all of Michigan.”
The DNR’s Fisheries Division and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians lead Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative. More than 45 partners – including state and tribal governments, nonprofits, businesses and universities – support reintroducing Arctic grayling to its historical range.

Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter said the cost to reintroduce Arctic grayling is expected at around $1.1 million, with virtually all of that amount being supplied through private and foundation support. To date, nearly $425,000 has been raised for the initiative.
“A diverse group of partners has invested themselves toward attaining a shared goal, and that says something about the nature of this project,” said Dexter. “Michigan's Arctic Grayling Initiative serves as a template for future efforts that include a variety of stakeholders.”
Other contributions from foundations include support from the Consumers Energy Foundation, the Henry E. and Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation, Rotary Charities of Traverse City and the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation. Plans are under way to recognize donors at Oden State Fish Hatchery.
“We encourage everyone to get involved so we can bring back this native fish,” said Huschke.  
The Oleson Foundation is a family foundation founded in Traverse City, Michigan, in 1962 to “help people help themselves.” The foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations in northwestern Michigan in all areas of grantmaking. They are very supportive of environmental work to preserve and steward the beautiful landscape that makes our area spectacular and unique.

For more information about Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative and answers to frequently asked questions, visit MiGrayling.org.  

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Federal Funding Boosts DNR’s Efforts to Improve Public Shooting Ranges Throughout Michigan

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves $1.25 million partner range grant

two women and a main target shooting at a shooting range 20JUN18-The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently approved a total of $1.25 million over a five-year period for the Department of Natural Resources to provide up to 75 percent of funding for improvements to partner shooting ranges throughout Michigan.
The DNR received these additional federal funds via the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (Pittman-Robertson Act), through which hunters and sport shooters who purchase firearms, ammunition, archery equipment or hunting licenses help fund wildlife management, habitat improvement, hunter education and shooting ranges in Michigan. The federal funds will be available to partner shooting ranges around the state to improve, expand or develop archery and firearm range facilities. Entities selected by the DNR for funding must provide the needed 25-percent matching funds for their project.
The initial phase includes a project in the western Upper Peninsula and one in the northern Lower Peninsula. Michigan Technological University in Houghton will upgrade the HVAC system at its existing indoor shooting range, improvements that will create a safe, fun indoor facility open to students and the public. The grant awarded to Ogemaw Hills Sportsmen Association will enable the club to develop an archery park in West Branch. Improvements will include upgrades to existing buildings to create an indoor archery range, classroom and clubhouse as well as outdoor archery opportunities.
young lady shooting bow and arrow

“We’re excited to have another tool to help partners expand and improve public range infrastructure throughout the state,” said Lori Burford, DNR shooting range specialist. “The first two projects funded through this grant will be fantastic resources for their communities. The work at the indoor range at Michigan Tech will provide year-round use to students, residents and visitors in the area, and the work planned by the Ogemaw Hills Sportsmen Association will offer an enjoyable and safe place for youth, adults and families to attend classes and hone their archery skills.”
For more information about the DNR’s statewide partner range grant and the selection process, contact Lori Burford at 989-600-9114.
There are more than 1.25 million target shooters in Michigan, according to a recent report on shooting sports participation, prepared for the National Shooting Sports Foundation by the National Sporting Goods Association.
In a report on the 15-year history of shooting sports participation, the foundation found that, nationally, participation in target shooting increased 28 percent – and 64 percent among women – from 2001 to 2015.

Archery continues to grow in popularity as well, the report shows. Total participation in archery target shooting increased by 77 from 2001-2015, female participation by 164 percent.
More than 300 Michigan schools currently offer the National Archery in the Schools Program for students in grades 4-12, and the program continues to expand. In 2016, the archery team from Michigan’s Hartland High School won first place in the National Archery in the Schools national tournament. In 2017, Hartland High School team won first place in the national IBO (International Bowhunter Organization) 3D Challenge.

To learn more about the DNR’s shooting ranges, other ranges around the state and the shooting sports, visit michigan.gov/shootingranges.

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Southern MI Landowners Can Help Restore Monarch, Pheasant Habitat

Landowners in 41 southern Michigan counties can help restore habitat for monarch butterflies, ring-necked pheasants and other grassland dwellers.

20JUN18-In case you missed it, rural landowners in 41 southern Michigan counties who are interested in helping to restore pollinator and wildlife habitat can now apply to enroll their property in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program, announced just last week.
The DNR will accept up to 40,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land for the program, and work closely with the USDA and other partners to improve wildlife habitat for species like the monarch butterfly, ring-necked pheasant, grasshopper sparrow, Henslow’s sparrow and mallard. 
Learn more by reading the full news release or contacting Mike Parker, DNR conservation partners program specialist, 517-898-2393. 

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Finding Answers About Lake Michigan’s Juvenile Lake Whitefish

DNR staff will be surveying several Lake Michigan sites now through late June to get a count of lake whitefish numbers.

20JUN18-Visitors to various sites off Lake Michigan between Charlevoix and Frankfort now through June 29 may see DNR crews conducting a survey to look for juvenile lake whitefish.  
Lake whitefish is the most important commercial fish species found in the Great Lakes, but populations have declined in recent years due to fewer numbers of juvenile fish surviving to adulthood. This survey will target whitefish younger than a year old to evaluate how many were produced each year.
The survey work is done from shore, often on public beaches. The public is welcome to observe this Great Lakes field work – a rarity, since most survey work is done offshore on boats or large vessels. Several agencies are partnering with the DNR on the survey to better understand and, hopefully, reverse the declines in this species.

“This survey will give us critical information about the variability in lake whitefish reproduction across the Great Lakes and help us with predictions about the future commercial fishery,” said Dave Caroffino, a DNR fisheries biologist based out of Charlevoix.

For more information on the survey, contact Dave Caroffino, 231-547-2914, ext. 232 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

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Add New 'Wildtalk' Podcast to Your Playlist

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources' new "Wildtalk" podcast will keep you current on woods, water and wildlife.

20JUN18-Are you a fan of podcasts? Whether you're mowing the lawn or driving to work, listening to an engaging podcast can make the time more fun and entertaining.
Tune in to the new "Wildtalk" podcast and hear DNR reps chew the fat and shoot the scat about all things habitat, feathers and fur. The premiere episode discusses how the different DNR divisions interact, includes some around-the-state updates and an interview with Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason; and lets you listen in on questions answered in the mailbag segment. Finally, we'll wrap things up with a look at the 100-year anniversary of the reintroduction of elk to Michigan. A new episode will be released the first day of each month.
The Wildtalk Podcast is available on the iTunes Store, Google Play Music, and other popular podcatchers. A transcript of the podcast is available for those with a hearing disability. 

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Dredging Work to Save Buffalo Reef Delayed

An aerial photo shows the stamp sand beach looking south toward the Grand Traverse Harbor. (Photo courtesy of Neil Harri) 19JUN18-Permit and contracting issues are delaying dredging work planned for this spring and summer off the Keweenaw Peninsula that will help save Buffalo Reef from being covered by drifting stamp sands.

“While the Grand Traverse Harbor will likely be dredged this fall, the project may be delayed until next year,” said Steve Casey, Upper Peninsula district supervisor for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Resources Division. “In the meantime, we are evaluating alternatives for long-term protection of the reef and associated juvenile fish habitat.”

The dark sands are the waste material created during the milling process for the century-old copper mining at the Wolverine and Mohawk mines. The sands were dumped into Lake Superior and on the shoreline.

Over the past roughly 80 years, the stamp sands have shifted south about 5 miles – moved by winds, waves and nearshore lake currents – to the Grand Traverse Harbor, covering about 1,500 acres of shoreline and lake bottom.

The farther south the sands move, the more they threaten Buffalo Reef, a natural underwater structure at the bottom of Lake Superior important for lake trout and lake whitefish spawning and rearing.

Last year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources dredged 9,000 cubic yards of stamp sands out of the Grand Traverse Harbor channel to re-open the waterway for recreational and commercial boating.

Previous dredging at the harbor was done by the DNR in 2015 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2009 and 2003.

However, a late October 2017 storm, which produced tremendous waves on Lake Superior, pushed stamp sands back into the harbor channel. Additional stamp sand material was blown or washed into the channel over the winter and eroded from the beaches nearby.

A map of the Buffalo Reef project area.Dredging of Buffalo Reef

In 2017, the EPA provided $3.1 million to the Army Corps to design and carry out dredging of the Buffalo Reef trough, a project which was scheduled to begin last month.

This project is expected to provide 5 to 7 years of protection for the reef, while a long-term solution for the stamp sands problem is developed.

The DNR was granted a permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, under the Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act (Part 325 of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act), to allow the Army Corps to remove these stamp sands from Lake Superior.

“Concerns involving real estate and dredging natural sands versus stamp sand from an underwater trough area have resulted in changes to the proposed project,” said Steven Check, a project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit. “These concerns have required the reworking of bid documents and potential modifications to the DNR permit, which has resulted in unexpected delays.”

Check said bid specifications for the project are anticipated to go out later this month, with a contractor awarded the project in late July or early August. Dredging would then be expected to start a couple of weeks later.

The trough area adjacent to the harbor may or may not be dredged late this year.

Officials are in the process of scheduling a public meeting, possibly for July, to gather input on the alternatives proposed for long-term protection of the reef and to update residents and others about the ongoing effort.

Meanwhile, the harbor is currently usable for recreational and commercial fishing vessels. However, it may plug up again over the summer, as river flows strong enough to flush sand from the river diminish.

“The purpose of this project, based on the funding and the permit, is to protect the reef and associated juvenile fish habitat,” Casey said. “Dredging the harbor using these funds would protect the down-drift juvenile habitat, while fortuitously improving the harbor channel for boaters at the same time.”

The stamp sands source pile at Gay – where the stamp mills were located – was originally estimated to contain 22 million cubic yards of material, with 2.3 million cubic yards of stamp sands remaining today.

"We’re now hoping construction can start on some type of control mechanism for the original pile of stamp sands by 2022, with completion two years after that,” Casey said. “We would then hope to put a long-term solution in place by 2026. The capital and annual costs would depend on which type of long-term remedy is selected.”

Efforts continue to find a beneficial use for the stamp sands removed from the beach and underwater.

The Buffalo Reef Task Force has met several times over the past months, working on a wide range of issues, including an alternatives analysis, stamp sand movement projections, various cost analyses and webpage development.

Evelyn Ravindran Last year, a task force steering committee was named, which included Lori Ann Sherman, natural resources director for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Tony Friona, Great Lakes liaison for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer, Research and Development Center and Steve Casey, U.P. district supervisor of the DEQ’s Water Resources Division.

Sherman recently accepted a job as the president of Keweenaw Bay Community College. She has been replaced on the task force steering committee by Evelyn Ravindran, who was recently promoted from managing the tribal fish hatchery to Sherman's previous job as natural resources director for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

For the latest on Buffalo Reef developments sign-up for email updates and learn more at the task force’s webpage at www.michigan.gov/buffaloreef

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Boating Michigan's 'Water Wonderland'

By CASEY WARNER - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Fayette Historic State Park is home to the beautiful Snail Shell Harbor, with its recently renovated boating access site.18JUN18-In Michigan – a state with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, more than 11,000 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of rivers and streams – you are never farther than 6 miles from a body of water or 85 miles from a Great Lake.

With such an abundance of water to enjoy, it’s no wonder Michigan is home to 4 million boaters. The state ranks third in the nation for both watercraft registrations and total expenditures for sale of new powerboats, trailers and accessories.

"Water is one of Michigan's greatest natural resources," said Ron Olson, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division. "We encourage residents and visitors to get out and explore all of the on-the-water opportunities the Great Lakes State affords. Michigan is truly a boater's paradise."

Making sure the state’s millions of boaters have ample opportunity to get their boats out on the water is the focus of the DNR’s Waterways Program.

“There are over 1,300 state-sponsored boating access sites throughout Michigan and 82 state-sponsored harbors along the Great Lakes – at a total value of over $1 billion,” said Jordan Byelich, DNR waterways development program manager.

With 4 million boating enthusiasts, Michigan ranks third in the nation for watercraft registrations.Byelich explained that funding for public recreational boating facilities – land acquisition, design, construction, operation and maintenance – comes from boat registrations, the Michigan marine fuel tax and user fees.  Projects also may be funded, on occasion, with federal dollars through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Coast Guard.

“We have a boating team made up of planning/development, grant management, operations and regulatory experts,” Byelich said. “Our 11 major maintenance crews and two construction crews perform various forms of specialized boating facility construction, including launch ramps, skid piers, vault toilets, parking lots, sidewalks and channel dredging.”

The DNR has renovated several boating access sites and harbors around the state.

One example is the recently constructed and expanded piers for mooring along Snail Shell Harbor at Fayette Historic State Park in Delta County, which offers a floating dock system with seven finger piers – one that is 38 feet long, two that are 45 feet long and four that are 60 feet long.

Recent improvements are visible at the East Tawas State Harbor. “This was a great improvement for visitors to Fayette Historic State Park,” said Olson. “The old dock was removed during the fall of 2015. The new pier system is quite beautiful.”

As part of a major reconstruction project at East Tawas State Harbor in Iosco County, boaters now can access modern amenities, improved safety features and a better connection to the local community.

The project helps the harbor respond to current trends in Great Lakes boating. The facility now features many enhancements, including new piers, a greater variety of slip sizes, compliance with the latest Americans with Disabilities Act standards, new electrical pedestals, as well as a new pump-out system. 

“The harbor currently has 160 slips, with all brand-new floating docks,” said Micah Jordan, lead ranger/supervisor at Tawas Point State Park and East Tawas State Harbor. “It is maintained by an all-new electrical system that detects and reports electrical current in the water, meeting the new federal codes for harbors and marinas.”

Connection to the downtown area, which is popular with boaters, also has been improved.

“East Tawas Harbor is unique due to its location in Tawas and location in the state. It’s perfectly located on the beautiful shore of Tawas Bay, only a few hours from many major towns, and therefore it draws large numbers of visitors each year looking to enjoy recreation on the water or as a transient stop on their way north or south,” Jordan said. “The harbor itself is located in the middle of town and provides amazing access to downtown East Tawas within walking distance to major shopping and dining.  It creates a perfect spot for tourism and is a major boost to the local businesses.”

The DNR recently relocated and improved the boat launch at Silver Lake State Park in Oceana County. Another DNR facility improved recently is the boating access site at Silver Lake State Park in Oceana County. The work was part of a redevelopment project that relocated the launching area, dredged a new channel, added parking for vehicles with trailers, improved circulation, and created separation of the day-use area from the launching area supporting improved safety and functionality within the park.

Boating access site improvements included adding a two-lane concrete launch ramp, dredging a 300-foot channel to deeper water, a vault toilet, and a maneuvering area for launching and retrieving boats.

A recent renovation project at the Jewell Road boating access site in Cheboygan County, which accesses Mullett Lake, addressed erosion issues at the site and included removal of an old concrete ramp, which was replaced with a new double-lane ramp. The site’s parking lot was also paved as part of the project.

State-funded boating facilities are quite popular with Michigan boaters. 

In the DNR's 2017 harbor survey, 93 percent of respondents said they would visit the harbor/marina again, and 90 percent said they would recommend the facility to a friend.

This support of public waterways facilities is evident. For example, just nine of the state harbors pump a total of more than 300,000 gallons of fuel to boats each year.

Straits State Harbor in Cheboygan County offers boaters an alternative to the heavily used harbor on Mackinac Island.And while many harbors see heavy use, others don’t get used as much as they could.

Straits State Harbor in Cheboygan County is among them.

“Straits State Harbor's boat launch is still fairly quiet overall for the summer,” said Megan Izzard, assistant harbor master there. “This is partly due to how new our facility is – we’re entering our ninth season – and people still not knowing that we are here.”

Straits State Harbor’s state-of-the-art, sustainable design has earned it certification as a Michigan Clean Marina, a designation given to sites that adopt marina and boating practices that reduce pollution and enhance fish and wildlife habitat.

The state harbor facility – the only one in Michigan using wind turbines for electrical generation – also gives boaters who want to go to Mackinac Island another option, as the very popular Mackinac Island State Harbor is often crowded.

“Straits State Harbor has capacity and is a great way to access Mackinac Island – it’s a good option by taking a ferry,” Olson said.

The location of the harbor’s boat launch also offers some unique benefits.

Cedar River State Harbor in Menominee County offers a quiet refuge and a variety of amenities for boaters. “You can launch here and be under the Mackinac Bridge in five to 10 minutes, and we are the closest state boat launch that someone can use to get to Mackinac Island,” Izzard said. “This boat launch is attached to a full-facility marina, so you can launch just for the day or you can launch and stay overnight while enjoying our wonderful facility.”

Cedar River State Harbor in Menominee County is what Ian Diffenderfer, unit supervisor at the harbor and at Wells State Park, calls a “very quiet and secluded harbor and boat launch.”

“It’s centered 30 miles between Menominee and Escanaba and is a quiet refuge for a trip to these locations or a stop over from Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula and Washington Island,” Diffenderfer said. “Amenities include pump-out services, gasoline/diesel, bicycles, boat launch, fire pit, restroom and shower facilities, horseshoe court, and local delivery for food.”

Boaters can find location and amenity information about boating access sites and harbors within the Michigan Recreational Boating Information System. Information on harbors also can be found in the Michigan Harbors Guide.

Many harbors accept reservations, which can be made at midnrreservations.com or by calling 800-44-PARKS.

June 9-16 marks Michigan Boating Week, when the DNR invites residents and visitors to celebrate the state’s unparalleled freshwater resources and boating opportunities.

While enjoying Michigan’s waters, it’s important that boaters protect themselves and others by following important safety tips.

“Michigan offers countless boating opportunities,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, boating law administrator for the state of Michigan. “But having fun on the water also means being safe. Taking simple precautions, always staying in control of the vessel and following the law will help ensure an enjoyable outing.”

Boaters born after June 30, 1996, and most personal watercraft operators must have a boater education safety certificate. The DNR also recommends a boating safety course for anyone who plans to use a boat or personal watercraft. Classes are offered at locations around the state and online, making it convenient and affordable.

Wanless encourages boaters to:

bullet Wear a life jacket.
bullet Avoid drinking alcohol.
bullet Make sure the boat is properly equipped and equipment is in good working order.
bullet File a float plan.
bullet Stay alert.
bullet Carry a cell phone or marine radio.

Watch a video on how boaters can help stop the spread of invasive species.

Find more information about Michigan boating – maps, safety, closures, rules and regulations, and more – at www.michigan.gov/boating.

Water is Michigan’s largest natural resource, and with so many opportunities to access our state’s freshwater paradise, it’s easy to find a facility that will float your boat.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories at www.michigan.gov/dnrstories. Subscribe to future stories at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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Pesky Tent Caterpillars Again are Munching Leaves on Michigan Trees

Forest tent caterpillar 18JUN18-Forest tent caterpillars are making a nuisance of themselves across Michigan, eating leaves from sugar maple, aspen and oak trees and leaving small strands of webbing as they go. 

The insects, which are native to Michigan, occur in widespread outbreaks every 10 to 15 years. The most recent outbreaks peaked in 2002 and 2010. They’ve been spotted across the Lower Peninsula and in the eastern Upper Peninsula. Outbreaks usually last two or three years; this is the second or third year for outbreaks in some areas. 

An infestation of forest tent caterpillars rarely is fatal unless a tree has other stresses, said Scott Lint, forest health specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Resources Division.

“The larvae begin feeding on new leaves in spring, and can strip the leaves from a tree,” Lint said. 

Many people also are seeing “tents” of web in trees, but don’t confuse the forest tent caterpillar with a similar pest, the eastern tent caterpillar. That one creates tents in black cherry, apple and other fruit trees. Eastern tent caterpillars are dark-colored with a light-colored stripe, rather than dots. They create localized silk tents that encase a portion of a tree, but never enclose leaves. 

“Its impact is minimal, but everybody sees the tents from alongside the road,” Lint said about eastern tent caterpillars. 

Forest tent caterpillars are dark-colored with pale spots. They spin silken threads but do not form an actual tent. They will gather in large colonies on the trunk of the tree when not feeding. Large caterpillars often will wander in search of more food as they completely strip a tree.

Caterpillars will spin a yellow cocoon in mid-June, and mass flights of moths can occur in late June and early July. Adult moths do not feed, but mate and die within a few weeks, after laying eggs. Eggs overwinter until spring, when they hatch. 

The forest tent caterpillar does have natural diseases, predators and parasites, including the large, slow-moving “friendly fly,” which lays its eggs on caterpillar cocoons, preventing them from developing into adult moths. These natural agents  eventually will respond and bring the outbreak under control.

Homeowners with trees that have been heavily defoliated should make sure those trees receive at least one inch of water per week during the growing season. Applying a slow-release tree fertilizer in the fall also will help trees recover quickly and prepare them for any defoliation that might occur next summer. 

Learn more about caterpillars and other insects that threaten Michigan’s trees at michigan.gov/foresthealth.

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Inland Waterway Survey Gives Insight on Muskie Numbers

Tagging is one way that DNR fisheries staff gets critical population data on Michigan's fish populations; anglers are asked to report tagged fish.

15JUN18-Fisheries staff in the northern Lower Peninsula have been busy tagging muskellunge in the Inland Waterway in an effort to gain better insight into the area’s populations. The Inland Waterway is a roughly 38-mile series of rivers and lakes connecting Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Anglers who catch any muskies in the area are encouraged to report it, particularly if a fish has an external tag or any evidence that a tag was on the fish at some point.

Tagging these fish allows the DNR to learn a lot about the area’s population: things like fish growth and densities, spawning locations, exploitation, and how recent fishing regulation changes are affecting them. 

“We’re trying to gather data to be better managers of our Inland Waterway muskie populations,” said Tim Cwalinski, a DNR fisheries biologist out of Gaylord. “This is hopefully a multiple-year project where we’ll have a better idea of what the population actually looks like and how we need to adapt our management over time.”

This is the third year that local muskies have received tags – one in the form of a button tag on the cheek, and the other located on the back dorsal fin. Some fish may be missing one or both of the tags due to tag shedding, which is another aspect of the study. If a tag is present, anglers will see a tag number and phone number to report the catch. Anglers are encouraged to report all Inland Waterway muskellunge catches to the DNR.

As a reminder, all muskie that are caught and kept (harvested) must be registered either at michigan.gov/registerfish, over the phone, or at a DNR customer service center

For more information, visit michigan.gov/muskie or contact Tim Cwalinski at 989-732-3541 or Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839. 

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Get Involved With State Forest Planning Via New, Interactive Map

A new interactive web map from the Michigan DNR will help people stay up to date on future plans for state forests.

15JUN18-The DNR has launched a new, interactive online map to help the public better understand plans for different areas of Michigan’s state forests. 
The map makes it easier to find information on timber sales, prescribed burns and other management activities. You can navigate on the map or simply type in an address to find out what activities are being planned or getting started in your area of interest. The current map highlights planned activities that will occur in 2020, the current “year of entry” – which means the department right now is discussing and planning for actions that will take place in 2020. Next year, in 2019, forestry staff will work on actions for the next year of entry, 2021. 
“This really makes it easier for people to learn well in advance about what we’re doing to manage the forest for timber production, creation of wildlife habitat, or removal of invasive species – actions that will keep our forest healthy,” said Brian Maki, the DNR’s geographic information systems support manager. 
The map is part of the DNR Forest Resources Division’s commitment to involving the public in proposed state forest management activities. People also may offer public comment at upcoming open houses in each of the 15 management units in the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula.

Find the map under Public Input on the michigan.gov/forestry webpage. The DNR welcomes feedback to improve users’ experience, so if you have suggestions on making interaction with the map better, please email dnr-gis@michigan.gov.  

The DNR manages 4 million acres of state forest and houses a crew of geographers and data managers who provide up-to-date information on forest health, wildlife populations and more. 

To explore the DNR’s maps and data that are available to you, visit michigan.gov/dnrmaps. Questions? Contact Brian Maki at 517-284-5846.

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Conservation Officers Complete Active Shooter Response Training

Michigan conservation officers recently have been trained in a number of special skills designed to handle active shooter scenarios.

15JUN18-DNR conservation officers now are federally certified in responding to active shooter attacks, enhancing their abilities to protect Michigan citizens.
The DNR is one of the few agencies in Michigan to earn this certification. All 232 conservation officers completed the intensive, 16-hour training at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center. The program, certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, instructs officers on the latest tactics for responding to attacks on places like schools, places of worship and employment centers.
“Conservation officers are fully certified peace officers who may be called upon to respond to active shooting situations,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “All too often we see these incidents of terrorism play out on our televisions across America. These are real, dangerous situations, and the need for a rapid, coordinated response is imperative to stopping the threat as soon as possible.” 
Hagler said the training gives officers the most relevant information and tactics that have proved successful in previous incidents. He said the decision to undergo training was made last year and is not a response to any recent threats. 

"DNR conservation officers are assigned to every county in Michigan," Hagler said. "This type of training will allow us to interact more effectively with other agencies." 
Cpl. Brad Dohm, the department’s lead firearms instructor, said the course addressed technical aspects of planning and implementing a rapid law enforcement deployment, highlighted by classroom presentations, hands-on, performance-based field training and scenario-based practical exercises.
Dohm and his team of instructors earned certification as active shooter response course trainers in 2017 by working with professionals from Louisiana State University’s renowned Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education. The instructors then rolled out the training to their conservation officer colleagues.
The entire 16-hour course also is being incorporated into the DNR Conservation Officer Recruit School curriculum.

For more on the federal training, contact Lt. Steve Burton at 517-284-5993. Learn more about Michigan conservation officers, including qualification requirements, training and responsibilities, at michigan.gov/conservationofficer 

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Fisheries Research Vessels Expand our Knowledge of Great Lakes

The research vessel Steelhead, one of four vessels that helps the Michigan DNR conduct important research on Michigan's fish populations and trends.

15JUN18-While at a Great Lakes port this summer and fall, you might see one of the DNR’s four large fisheries research vessels conducting annual surveys of Great Lakes fish populations. The vessels are based out of Marquette, Alpena, Charlevoix and Harrison Township harbors, and the DNR staff aboard these vessels do a variety of work to better understand the fish communities, population sizes and habitats in these waters. 

Fisheries assessment and evaluation work on Lake Huron is done by the research vessel (R/V) Tanner, launched in 2016. This vessel focuses on Lake Huron lake trout and walleye populations, and spends time in Saginaw Bay and the St. Marys River to evaluate their fish communities.

Work on lakes St. Clair and Erie is done by the R/V Channel Cat, now marking its 50th year of service! This vessel helps researchers learn about walleye, yellow perch and lake sturgeon in the waters that support some of Michigan’s busiest fishing activity.

Lake Superior work is conducted by the R/V Lake Char, launched in 2007. The Lake Char assesses the status of Lake Superior’s self-sustaining lake trout populations along with other members of the unique cold-water fish community found in that area. 
On Lake Michigan, the survey vessel Steelhead, launched in 1967, focuses on adult yellow perch, whitefish, lake trout and chinook salmon populations.  
When these unique vessels are in port, feel free to visit and talk with the crews about their work. Learn more by visiting michigan.gov/fishresearch or contacting Gary Whelan at 517-284-5830 or Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839. 

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Whether Terrifying or Totally Cool, Snakes are Best Left Alone

Learn more about snakes you can find here in Michigan in the DNR's 60-Second Snakes video series.

15JUN18-Wondering what kinds of snakes we have here in Michigan and how to tell the difference? Find out with our 60-Second Snakes video series on the DNR’s YouTube channel! 

Michigan is home to 18 different snake species, but there’s no need to worry, since most found here are harmless and tend to avoid people. If you do spot a snake, give it space to slither away, and you likely won’t see it again. Handling or harassing snakes is the most common reason people get bit.

Simply put, if left alone, Michigan snakes will leave people alone.  While most snakes in Michigan aren’t dangerous, there is one venomous species found here – the eastern Massasauga rattlesnake.

As the name implies, the Massasauga rattlesnake has a segmented rattle on its tail. But keep in mind that other Michigan snakes – even those without segmented rattles – also may buzz or vibrate their tails when approached or handled.  

“The Massasauga rattlesnake tends to be a very shy snake that will avoid humans whenever possible,” said Hannah Schauer, wildlife communications coordinator with the DNR. “They spend most of their time in wetlands hunting for small rodents and aren’t often encountered. In fact, this snake is listed as a threatened species.” 
Rattlesnake bites, while extremely rare in Michigan, can and do occur. Anyone who is bitten should seek immediate medical attention. 
Snakes play an important role in ecosystem health by keeping rodent numbers in check and, in turn, feeding larger predators, especially hawks and owls. Help monitor Michigan’s reptile and amphibian populations by reporting your sightings to our Herp Atlas database. Visit miherpatlas.org to get started. 

Learn more about snakes on the DNR website or contact Hannah Schauer at 517-388-9678.

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Learn More About Allegan State Game Area at June 26th Open House

14JUN18-Come learn about various planned management activities, including upcoming timber sales, at the Allegan State Game Area on Tuesday, June 26. The open house will run from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Allegan State Game Area headquarters, located at 4590 118th Ave. in Allegan, Michigan. Handouts and maps will be available for more information about the area. Have questions? Call Maria Albright at 269-673-2430.

Learn more about all of Michigan’s state game and wildlife areas.

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Take Your Grandkids on a Grand Adventure With New AARP Program

AARP Grand Adventures graphic

14JUN18-Pack up the grandkids and head to Sleepy Hollow State Park where together you can build outdoor skills and create lifelong memories. Just north of Lansing, the new AARP Grand Adventures program at the park will offer hands-on instruction in archery, fishing, birdwatching and geo-caching June 20 and 27 as well as July 17 and 25 and Aug. 1 and 8. The minimum age is 4 years old and there is a 20-person limit per class (registration is required).
Want to expand your experience in this 2,600-acre park while there? After the program, enjoy an afternoon exploring 16 miles of trails, pack a picnic or enjoy the swimming beach on Lake Ovid. Consider booking a spot in the modern campground if looking to extend your stay.

Find registration and event information.

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Wildlife Weekend Offers Family Fun and Learning Opportunities

DNR staffer showing group of adults and kids a butterfly

14JUN18-This year, we’ll be celebrating pollinators with a weekend of programming at a variety of state parks during Michigan’s Wildlife Weekend, June 22-24. Attend to learn more about how bees, moths, butterflies and other animals contribute to the food supply, ecosystems and habitats in our state.
Events will feature hikes, informative talks, identification programs and a variety of other activities that are fun, educational and enjoyable for the whole family.
Wildlife Weekend, an annual event with a different group of animals featured each year, is one of many summer outdoor education opportunities offered at many Michigan state parks. Find a Wildlife Weekend program near you.

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Check Out Nature Programs in State Parks This Summer

DNR staffer leading group of kids and adults on nature hike

14JUN18-More than 50 of Michigan’s state parks offer a variety of outdoor education opportunities throughout the summer, with enthusiastic, nature-minded staffers leading hikes, activities and interesting programs that shine a spotlight on each park’s unique resources. From mammals, birds and insects to dunes, wetlands and more, learn about the resources in and around the parks you visit while trying your hand at a variety of outdoor activities.
These programs are offered free of charge; however, a Recreation Passport is required for park entry. Check out our weekly nature program schedules and learn more about the programs in state parks at michigan.gov/natureprograms. Program schedules also will be posted in the parks and can be learned about more through campground hosts or other park staff. 

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Paws in the Parks

By KELLY SOMERO-Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A man out on an evening stroll with his dog at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Keweenaw County. 08JUN18-As travel trends change, recreational vehicles get larger and modern technologies come to campgrounds, one thing has not changed – love for family pets and including them in daily activities and even vacations.
However, traveling with pets can pose several questions.
Where do you go? What are the rules? How do you keep your pet safe and healthy while on vacation?
“Michigan state parks offer some pet-friendly solutions to get you and your pet into Michigan’s great outdoors together,” said Maia Turek, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources resource development specialist. “Pets are important in the lives of a lot of our park visitors. For many, having to leave a pet at home is like leaving a member of the family at home alone.”
Carol Dunstan of Negaunee knows all about this. She’s been a campground host at Van Riper State Park in Marquette County for more than a decade. Over those years, she’s enjoyed being able to bring her two black Labrador retrievers along to her host campsite at the park.

“I probably wouldn’t host if I couldn’t,” she said. “(I’m) like most pet owners, they are family.”
 While the majority of Michigan state parks, harbors, state forests and trails allow pets, there are a few exceptions, such as state buildings. However, there are lodging opportunities, campgrounds, beaches, trails and even events that are pet-friendly.

Pet Rules

First and foremost, any pet owner should be familiar with pet-friendly rules in state parks:
bullet Pets must be on a 6-foot leash and under your immediate control at all times.
bullet Always clean up after your pet.
bullet Keep pets from interacting with wildlife.
bullet Keep pets from disturbing visitors.
bullet With the exceptions of locations included in the pet-friendly lodging pilot program, pets are not allowed in state buildings, which includes cabins, yurts, offices, teepees and lodges.

Pet Friendly Lodging

In November 2017, a pilot program was launched to designate pet-friendly lodging at several state parks in Michigan. Up to two pets (cats and dogs only) are allowed in overnight lodging accommodations at the following locations:

bullet Harrisville State Park’s mini cabin no. 186
bullet Lime Island State Recreation Area’s mini cabin no. 4
bullet Leelanau State Park’s Hemlock and Cedar mini cabins
bullet Sleepy Hollow State Park’s rustic cabin
bullet Cheboygan State Park’s modern lodge
Check out a video of pets in Michigan state parks These cabins and lodges can be booked up to 12 months in advance by calling 800-447-2757 or visiting www.midnrreservations.com
The additional fee for your pet is $10 per night for each pet if you are staying in a cabin or $15 per night for each pet if you are staying in a lodge. The above pet-friendly rules still apply.
Dogs should not be left in campers or tied up unattended to prevent barking from negatively affecting the park experience of other visitors.
State Parks and State Forest Campgrounds: In general, pets are permitted in state parks, park campgrounds and state rustic (forest) campgrounds as long as they are on a leash not exceeding 6 feet in length at all times. Please become familiar with all the rules regarding pets and pay attention to signage.

Trails: 
Pets are welcome on 
state-designated trails and pathways located in state parks and state forests; however, there are some instances where pets are not allowed. Always check trailhead signage to make sure pets are allowed.

Boat Launches: The majority of boat launches allow pets, with the exception of certain boating access sites, during certain times of the year.

Pet Friendly Locations

A dog litter bag dispenser is shown at F.J. McLain State Park in Houghton County.Harbors: Pets are allowed in state harbors. Some harbors have a designated pet area, so please learn the rules at each harbor.

Pet-friendly shoreline: Pets are allowed in non-designated bathing beach areas within state parks. Pets are not permitted on designated swimming beach areas. Please note that pets must be kept on a 6-foot leash even if they are in the water.

The following parks offer sections of pet-friendly shorelines. Be sure to check with park staff to use pet-designated areas only. 

In the Upper Peninsula, visit Baraga State Park, McLain State Park, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and Twin Lakes State Park.

This dog is getting ready to perform in a talent show during the Dog Days of Summer at Baraga State Park in Baraga County. For the Lower Peninsula, there’s the Brighton Recreation Area, Burt Lake State Park, Dodge No. 4 State Park, Grand Mere State Park, Harrisville State Park, Holland State Park, Holly Recreation Area, Mears State Park, Otsego Lake State Park, Port Crescent State Park, Sleepy Hollow State Park, South Higgins Lake State Park, Tawas Point State Park, Warren Dunes State Park and Young State Park.

Pet Friendly Events

From parades and off-road vehicle rides to trick-or-treating, many parks allow pets to join in on the fun of special events – there are even pet-specific events.  Check with the park holding an event to see if your pet can participate, and find events at www.michigan.gov/dnrcalendar

A prime example of a pet-friendly event is the
Outdoor Adventure Center’s Dog Days of Summer in Detroit.

“Come to the Outdoor Adventure Center for a day of outdoor fun with your furry best friend,” said Linda Walter, the center’s director. “We'll have dog-friendly activities set up, including a guided walk along the Dequindre Cut, ‘doggie pools,’ and lots of tennis balls and Frisbees.”
Canine to Five will offer complimentary nail trimmings, and Detroit Dog Rescue will be on hand with information to help you find your next best friend. Friendly dogs with current vaccinations and licenses are welcome. Plus, visit the Outdoor Adventure Center Facebook page to enter a dog-owner photo contest.

Planning for Travel with Your Pet

Typically, travelers always plan what they need to do for their own travel. With a few extra steps, everyone can make sure their pets have a great trip too.
To begin, research pet-friendly locations to find places to stay along your travel route that allow pets. If your pets are not accustomed to traveling, get them ready for the trip by taking them for short rides, increasing the distance or duration to help them get used to the car, truck or recreation vehicle.
Talk with your veterinarian about vaccinations, medications and microchips.

Bringing a pet to a Michigan state park can enhance the experience for the whole family. “Certain vaccinations might be recommended, such a Bordetella if you are using a kennel service, vaccines for vector-borne illnesses from insects or preventative medications for fleas and ticks,” Turek said. “Microchips can help identify and get your pet home to you if you become separated. For this same reason, make sure your pet has a collar and an identification tag.”

Research veterinarians, kennels and boarding facilities in your travel areas. In case of a medical emergency, severe weather, vehicle issues or any other unforeseen problems, you will know who may be able to assist you and your pet ahead of time.

 

Get copies of medical and vaccination records from your veterinarian. Make reservations at the pet-friendly locations along your scheduled trip route.

What to Bring

Here are some helpful tips on items to always have when you travel with your pet:

bullet A current copy of your pet’s medical and vaccination records.
bullet If your pet takes medication, bring the medication and a copy of the prescription.
bullet Have a spare collar with ID tag and leash.
bullet Travel crate, car barrier or pet seat belt/harness to ensure safe vehicle transport.
bullet Extra food and water.
bullet A pet first aid kit with styptic powder, antibiotic ointment and tweezers (for thorn, burr and tick removal).
bullet Pet bed or blankets for cool weather.
bullet Towels.
bullet Pet waste bags.
bullet Phone number of your veterinarian, or one in the area you are travelling to, in case of an emergency.
bullet Toys and treats.

With a little extra planning and research, taking the family dog, cat, bird or even hamster or lizard to a Michigan state park this season can be easy and fun, while ensuring the whole family is present for those lifelong memorable moments.
Dunstan said dogs are the pets most commonly taken to Van Riper State Park, but other animals enjoy the park too.
“I’ve seen cats out on leashes, just like dogs,” she said. “Last year, someone even had a pot-bellied pig.”
She said kids staying at the park enjoy visiting with her dogs.
Dunstan hopes state parks will one day have a pet play area where animals can be off their leashes. For now, she’s happy to bring her dogs to the park to help her enjoy her role as a campground host, meeting lots of people from all over.
With so many locations to choose from, and so many types of activities, you are sure to find a spot that everyone in your family can agree on for some summertime fun.
Whether lounging by a campfire, running along a beach, taking a long hike on a secluded trail or a kayaking at sunset, your family pets will love that you brought them with you on your adventures.

For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/parkpets.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories in our archive at www.michigan.gov/dnrstories. To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing articles sign-up for free email delivery at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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Michigan State Parks’ 2019 Centennial Celebration Rich with Sponsorship and Partnership Opportunities

Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington State Park 07JUN18-Nearly 100 years ago, people in Michigan were rallying to protect the state’s most beautiful outdoor destinations, and on May 9, 1919, the Michigan State Park Commission was created to acquire and maintain public lands for state parks. Fast forward to today and you’ll find that generations of residents and visitors have fallen in love with these treasured natural places.

Next year marks the centennial anniversary of Michigan state parks, now more than 100 parks strong, ranging from Milliken State Park and Harbor in Detroit – Michigan’s first urban state park providing a green oasis in the heart of the city – to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, nestled in “the Porkies” and offering one of the few remaining large wild areas in the Midwest. 

As the Department of Natural Resources plans for Michigan state parks’ centennial celebration, it is opening up opportunities for partners and sponsors to join the fun and support the parks, while connecting with the more than 27 million visitors who trek to these parks every year. 

“Plans are under way for a May 2019 public kickoff and yearlong celebration of Michigan’s award-winning state parks," said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "Michigan state parks help to define our state and consistently power one of Michigan’s biggest economic drivers – outdoor recreation.”

For this reason, the DNR is seeking partnerships that will help tell the story of Michigan state parks. Some examples include:

bullet Sharing information about the centennial.
bullet Underwriting portions of the educational campaign, including a video series and “around the campfire” podcasts.
bullet Collaborating on creative product packaging.
bullet Hosting a corporate cleanup volunteer event or a centennial display in your store or facility.
bullet Partnering on a variety of events including s’mores and storytelling, geocaching challenges and vintage RV parades.

“The centennial offers a variety of ways for businesses and associations and others to get involved at the local, regional and state levels,” said Maia Turek, DNR resource development specialist.  

Depending on a partner or sponsor’s specific needs, Turek said the department can work individually with these partners and sponsors to acknowledge their involvement and/or highlight special campaigns. Partners and sponsors also will have the opportunity to direct their support toward needs like trail maintenance, green initiatives, invasive species removal landscape enhancement, facility preservation and more. 

Interested? Download the Michigan state parks centennial sponsorship opportunities at michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers or contact Maia Turek at turekm@michigan.gov or 989-225-8573 for more information. Find out how your support in 2019 can help carry Michigan state parks into the next hundred years.

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"Year in the Life of a Bear" Contest Winners Announced

Students from Holy Ghost Lutheran School in Monroe won first-place honors in the 2017-18 “Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear” program.

06JUN18-Three metro-Detroit classrooms created the winning presentations in the DNR’s 2017-18 Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear program, open to all interested sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade educators in Michigan.
Brandy Dixon’s class at Holy Ghost Lutheran School in Monroe earned top honors. You can view their winning entry here. Dixon and her students were awarded a $1,000 gift certificate to purchase science supplies for their classroom.
The program curriculum provides lessons and activities focused on Michigan black bears, including their life cycle, biology and behavior, as well as how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy black bear population. 
Over the school year, students also get to “follow” a bear by using actual data points from radio-collared Michigan black bears. 
Marceen Gasperoni’s students of the Home School Academy in Dearborn placed second with their presentation, A Campfire Visitor, winning a $500 gift certificate. 
Sierra Rodrigues, a sixth-grade student in Shawn Kassab’s Farmington STEAM Academy class, earned third-place honors. Kassab and his class in Farmington Hills were awarded a $250 gift certificate. 
View Sierra’s presentation.  

Registration for the 2018-19 school year’s program will open later this summer. Program prizes are provided by the Michigan Bear Hunters Association and the DNR. 

Educators can explore A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear and other available DNR education opportunities at michigan.gov/dnreducation or contact Hannah Schauer, 517-388-9678.

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Beech Trees that Resist Disease are Among the Year’s Highlights

Some of the volunteers who helped to plant 200-plus disease-resistant beech trees at Ludington State Park this past fall.

06JUN18-The battle against beech bark disease came full circle in fall 2017 at Ludington State Park, as volunteers planted more than 200 disease-resistant trees where the disease was discovered in 2000.
That planting effort is one of the success stories in Michigan’s Forest Health Highlights report, released annually by the DNR. The report summarizes the health of nearly 20 million acres of forest in the state, including about 4 million acres of state-managed forest land. 
“Invasive species like the beetle that spreads beech bark disease present challenges,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “We also are coordinating efforts to cope with other invasive species such as the hemlock woolly adelgid.” That tiny insect attaches itself to hemlock trees and eventually kills them. So far, it is known to be in four west Michigan counties. 
On other fronts, the department is working to stem the spread of oak wilt, a fungal disease that can kill red oak trees within weeks, and taking steps to prevent the spread of fungi, including Heterobasidion root disease that affects pine trees. New reporting tools, such as the Heterobasidion root disease reporting viewer on the DNR forest health website, make it easier for the public to share their observations of suspected forest health issues.

Learn more at the DNR's forest health webpage or contacting James Wieferich, 517 242-6300. 

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Remember to Report All Caught Muskellunge and Lake Sturgeon

Anglers who reel in muskellunge or lake sturgeon this year are reminded to register their fish within 24 hours

06JUN18-With the statewide muskellunge possession season opening Saturday, June 2, anglers are reminded that a new registration system is now in place for any fish you reel in.  

The muskellunge harvest tag is no longer required or available. If you do harvest a muskie (meaning you catch and keep the fish), you must report it within 24 hours, either:

>Online at michigan.gov/registerfish.

>By calling toll-free 844-345-FISH (3474).

>Or in person (with advance notice of your arrival) at any DNR customer service center during regular state business. Fish registrations won’t be accepted at any state fish hatcheries or DNR field offices, only at DNR customer service centers. 

The same process is now in place for lake sturgeon, too, although no fishing and/or possession seasons open for that species until July 16. The lake sturgeon fishing permit and harvest tags are no longer needed or available. 

Both of these changes went into effect at the start of the 2018 fishing season, April 1st. 

For more information on Michigan fishing licenses and regulation, check out the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide – available at license retailers or online at michigan.gov/dnrdigests, and the online version is always up to date and available to download – or contact Cory Kovacs, 906-293-5131, ext. 4071 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839. 

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Plenty To See, Do, and Enjoy at Michigan State Parks This Season

Riding the trails with friends and family is just one of the many fun things you can do at Michigan state parks.

06JUN18-With a beautiful Memorial Day holiday weekend – the unofficial start to summer – in the books, it’s a great time to get outdoors! In Michigan, you’re never more than a half-hour from a state park, state forest campground or a state trail system, meaning you can hike, bike, walk, ride or paddle just about anywhere. 

To ensure a fun, relaxing time wherever you go, keep these tips in mind: 

>State parks offer activities and events in day-use areas and campgrounds, including nature programs, trail races, yoga and crafts.

>Pets are welcome on a 6-foot leash in state parks, state forests, non-designated bathing beach areas, harbors, the majority of trails and boat launches and many other outdoor locations.

>Be cautious when purchasing or packing firewood. Invasive insects and diseases have killed millions of trees in Michigan – often after hitching a ride on firewood. The DNR recommends leaving firewood at home and/or purchasing certified heat-treated firewood sold in state parks.

>Don’t forget to check out the extensive mountain biking trails and connections to the ORV trail system offered at many state parks.

>Feel like fishing at a state park? It’s easy – just remember to purchase your 2018 Michigan fishing license beforehand and pack your fishing essentials.

>Save fuel with the DNR’s free camper storage program, which allows people to temporarily store campers in designated park areas between visits.

>Book your camping reservations early, up to six months in advance.

Learn more about planning your next state park, trail or forest campground adventure at michigan.gov/stateparks or contact Ami Van Antwerp at 517-284-6094. 

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Overnight Search for Ontonagon Man Ends Successfully

25MAY18-An overnight search for an Ontonagon County man ended successfully this afternoon when Carl Thomas Kettunen of Trout Creek was found alive, his off-road-vehicle on top of him.
Search teams from several entities were in Ontonagon County this afternoon, continuing efforts begun Thursday night to locate the 66-year-old man.
The last report of Kettunen's whereabouts had been about 6 p.m. EDT Thursday when, after finishing his dinner, caregivers heard him leave his home at 9183 M-28 on his orange Honda rancher off-road vehicle.
Kettunen reportedly suffers from serious health conditions. Caregivers reported him missing Thursday and a search got under way at about 10:30 p.m. with Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers, local firefighters and volunteers.
Search efforts continued throughout the night. Significant rainfall occurring after Kettunen left obscured tracks from his ORV.
This afternoon, more than a dozen search teams were looking for Kettunen, with DNR officers leading the effort.
 

Additional agencies involved in the search included Superior Search and Rescue, the Ontonagon County Sheriff's Office, Michigan State Police, MI-TRALE and local volunteers from Trout Creek and Kenton.

A Civil Air Patrol plane was in the air and two additional aircraft were on stand-by, including a DNR plane.

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Reel in a Marked or Tagged Fish? Let us know!

Illustration of a chinook salmon

22MAY18-If you fish the Great Lakes and catch a marked and tagged fish, please report it. You’re helping the DNR collect critical information about the state’s fish populations and trends. The department has used a coded-wire tag program to “mass mark” various fish species in Michigan since the 1980s. Mass marking provides data that helps fisheries biologists determine the value of naturally reproduced fish versus stocked fish, as well as the lake-wide movement of fish.
The program involves implanting a small, coded-wire tag, invisible to the naked eye, into the snout of a fish. A fish containing a coded-wire tag can be identified because its adipose fin (the small, fleshy fin between the dorsal and tail fins) has been removed. Anglers who catch these tagged fish can help by recording needed information about the fish, removing and freezing the fish’s snout, and taking it to one of the designated drop-off locations around the state
The DNR, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other state agencies, places coded-wire tags in the snout and removes the adipose fin from lake trout, rainbow trout (steelhead), and Chinook and Atlantic salmon stocked into lakes Huron and Michigan.

Beginning in 2018, all rainbow trout stocked in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan (including tributaries) will contain a coded-wire tag. All Chinook salmon stocked in Lake Huron will contain a coded-wire tag, while only a portion of those stocked in Lake Michigan will contain the tag. 

Get more details about the DNR’s mass marking efforts at michigan.gov/taggedfish or by contacting John Clevenger, 231-547-2914 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839. 

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Map Shows Where Firewood Can be Gathered on State-Managed Land

With a fuelwood permit, you can gather firewood from state-managed land, in order to help heat your home this winter.

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, interactive map 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 at michigan.gov/fuelwood. 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 Dec. 31, 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 Doug Heym, 517-284-5867.

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Ready To Go North? Don’t Forget Spring Bear Preparation

If you’re getting ready to head up north, remember to remove all bear attractants – like bird feeders – from your property.

08MAY18-When you head “Up North” for the first time this season, make sure that removing anything that might attract bears is high on your to-do list.

Many northern Michigan homes, cottages and cabins are sprinkled across the countryside and near inland lakes – beautiful locations that also are home to more than 12,000 adult black bears. That makes it extremely important to know how to co-exist with bears.  

“I know every year I need to make sure I have my bird feeder down before the bears are up and moving,” said Wexford County resident Joyce Oatley. “It’s something my husband and I are used to; it’s a trade-off to live where we do. I love bears, but I know what I need to do to be responsible.”

Bears are omnivores, meaning they eat a variety of plant and animal matter. Bears also have an excellent sense of smell, as well as the ability to remember where they’ve found meals in the past. That’s why it’s critical to remove attracting food sources before a bear finds them. There’s no better way for an animal to lose its natural fear of humans, than by receiving a food reward like bird seed or suet, pet food or garbage. 
“Michigan has plenty of natural food for bears, but they won’t pass by something easy like a garbage can or a bird feeder to get an easy meal,” said DNR bear specialist Kevin Swanson. “It’s very important that we don’t train a wild animal like a bear to get comfortable being near people. We need to keep bears at a distance.”
Bear populations and their distribution are controlled through regulated hunting. The 2018 bear hunting application period runs May 1 to June 1. Be sure to apply for a hunt or a point. Learn more in this DNR bear drawing video.

For more information about living with bears or the upcoming hunting application period, contact Katie Keen, 989-385-0336. 

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Fireworks-free Camping Available at Several State Parks

Michigan state parks Fireworks-Free Fourth of July promotion card

18APR18-For four straight years, the DNR and the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency have come together to highlight quieter camping options in a handful of Michigan state parks.

Fireworks-Free Fourth of July is geared toward veterans and other visitors, including pet owners, looking for a quieter camping experience. This year, 11 locations located farther away from traditional community firework displays are participating July 2nd - 6th.

Camping reservations can be made up to six months in advance, which means it's not too early to be thinking about those holiday dates. To check availability and make a reservation, visit www.midnrreservations.com.

Want to learn more? Visit  michigan.gov/FireworksFreeFourth. To learn more about services for Michigan veterans, visit michiganveterans.com.

Michigan parks that will not allow Fireworks* this year include:

>Bewabic State Park (Iron county)

>Brighton Rec. Area-Bishop Lake Campground (Livingston County)

>Cheboygan State Park (Cheboygan County)

>Craig Lake State Park (Baraga County)

>Hayes State Park (Lenawee County)

>Lake Hudson Rec. Area (Lenawee County)

>Sleepy Hollow State Park (Clinton County)

>Tippy Dam Rec. Area (Manistee County)

>Wells State Park (Menominee County)

*The DNR cannot guarantee that fireworks will not be set off near the state parks. Aerial fireworks such as Roman candles and bottle rockets are not allowed in Michigan state parks at any time. *Smaller novelty fireworks such as fountains, sparklers and ground spinners are still allowed.

Camping reservations can be made up to six months in advance. To make a reservation, visit midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757).

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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