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DNR Encourages Boaters to Follow Safety Tips

National Safe Boating Week set for May 20-26

Michigan boating17MAY17-With boating season around the corner, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers encourage boaters to make their pastime more enjoyable by following important safety tips. Saturday, May 20, marks the start of National Safe Boating Week and the DNR wants all Michigan residents and visitors to have fun while exercising caution and obeying the law.
“Michigan is made for boating,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, state boating law administrator with the DNR. “But being on the water carries responsibilities. Following the law and taking simple precautions will help ensure that your boating experience goes as planned. You have a responsibility to yourself, your passengers and fellow boaters to be as safe as possible.”

The DNR encourages boaters to:

Wear a life jacket. About 85 percent of drownings resulting from boating accidents in the U.S. are due to people not wearing life jackets. In Michigan, anyone under the age of 6 must wear a life jacket when on the open deck of any vessel, but wearing a personal flotation device is recommended for everyone.

Avoid drinking alcohol. Nationally, alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents where the primary cause was known.

Make sure the boat is properly equipped and equipment is in good working order. In addition to legally required equipment, such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, always carry a first-aid kit, nautical charts and an anchor. Make sure navigation lights work properly.

File a float plan. Always inform family or friends about the details of your trip. Let them know when to expect you back. Give them phone numbers for the local emergency dispatch center and U.S. Coast Guard in case you don’t return on time.

Stay alert. Watch for other boats, swimmers, skiers and objects in the water. This is especially true when operating in crowded waterways, at night and when visibility is restricted.

Carry a marine radio or cell phone. Be prepared to call for help if you are involved in or witness an accident, your boat or the boat of another becomes disabled or you need medical assistance. Program the numbers for the local emergency dispatch center and U.S. Coast Guard in your cell phone. Make sure your phone is fully charged but be aware that there often are coverage gaps on the water.

The DNR also recommends a boating safety course for anyone who plans to use a boat or personal watercraft. Classes are offered at different locations around the state and online, making it convenient and affordable.

Visit for more information on boating safety and who is required to take a safety class.

For more information on safe boating go to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Resource Center at

Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace officers with authority to enforce the state’s criminal laws. Learn more at


Anglers Report Marked & Tagged Fish - Provide Critical Information

Chinook salmon with adipose fin pointed out17MAY17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources again this year is encouraging Great Lakes anglers who catch marked and tagged fish to report them. The DNR has used the coded-wire tag program to mass mark various fish species in Michigan since the 1980s. Mass marking provides critical data as fisheries biologists look to determine the value of naturally reproduced fish versus stocked fish, and lake-wide movement of fish.

The coded-wire tag program involves implanting a small, coded-wire tag, which is 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. An angler who catch a tagged fish then can record needed information about the fish, remove and freeze the fish’s snout, and drop it off at a designated location. 
A statewide list of dropoff locations can be found on the DNR website.
For years the DNR primarily tagged Chinook salmon and lake trout as part of its mass marking effort in Lake Huron. Tagging these fish has helped biologists understand more about lakewide natural reproduction and how many wild fish are available in the Great Lakes. It also has helped determine if the percentage of wild fish varies from year to year and how fish stocking locations contribute to lake and river fisheries. Additionally, it provides insight into fish movement and where fish are stocked compared to where they are caught.
Because of the value of the information the mass marking effort brings, the DNR, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has continued to coded-wire tag all lake trout, Chinook and Atlantic salmon stocked into lakes Huron and Michigan, as well as a sub-sample of rainbow trout (steelhead) from the Au Sable River.
“We rely heavily on Michigan’s anglers to return tagged fish and are appreciative of their cooperation,” said Randy Claramunt, the DNR's Lake Huron Basin coordinator. “Participating in the DNR’s mass marking effort allows us to learn more about the state’s fish species so we may manage them more effectively in the future.”
Because of the vast number of fish marked by this method (millions annually), there are no longer rewards given to anglers for returning tagged fish. Any angler returning a coded-wire tagged fish to the DNR now will receive a letter describing the history of the fish caught (such as stocking location and age).

To learn more about the DNR’s mass marking efforts, visit


Audubon Great Lakes Unveils MI Birds Facebook Page

MI Birds with illustration of a duck's head12MAY17-Did you know that the ruffed grouse, which inhabits Michigan’s northern forests, drums so deeply that people often feel its sound rather than hear it? Or that great horned owls begin laying eggs during January’s subzero temperatures – often incubating while snow accumulates on their backs? Or how about the 12,000 individual tundra swans that spend each spring and fall in the Saginaw Bay region while en route between the Arctic and the Carolina coast? Learn about these species and many more by joining the new MI Birds Facebook page. 
In an effort to bring together hunters, birders and wildlife enthusiasts of all persuasions, several conservation organizations in Michigan have partnered to elevate the importance of birds, public lands and bird conservation. As part of this partnership, Audubon Great Lakes has launched the
MI Birds Facebook page – a one-stop shop for everything birds in the Great Lakes State.
"Like" the MI Birds Facebook page, and learn about interesting events occurring in the lives of Michigan’s wild birds each week of the year, where to find birds, exciting partner events and the important ways in which birds and other wildlife depend on public lands. 

MI Birds is the product of a cooperative partnership between Audubon Great Lakes, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Audubon, Detroit Audubon, Pheasants Forever, the Ruffed Grouse Society, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, the Kalamazoo Nature Center and the Michigan Natural Features Inventory.

Now in its second century, Audubon’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. Audubon has two state chapters in Michigan: Michigan Audubon and Detroit Audubon Society.


Michigan Iron Industry Museum Open House May 21st

Special temporary exhibit 'Inventing the Outdoors' tells about legendary outfitter, inventor Webster Marble

members of musical group White Water performing12MAY17-The Michigan Iron Industry Museum will welcome the musical group White Water at its annual open house Sunday, May 21. The event will feature two afternoon concerts by White Water at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Between concert sets, visitors will be able to view the temporary exhibit on Marble Arms and new stories in the museum’s “mine tunnel.” 
Light refreshments, sponsored by Irontown Pasties, will be served; seating is limited. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
The special temporary exhibit “Inventing the Outdoors” explores the life and work of Webster Marble, who started the company that would become an outdoor powerhouse, outfitting legions of hunters, anglers, campers and hikers. The exhibit explores Marble’s genius for innovation, experimentation and consistent improvement of products that didn’t meet his practical needs as an outdoorsman. 

“Inventing the Outdoors” also illustrates the effective marketing campaign that carried the Marble message across the globe. Marble eventually would own more than 60 patents for outdoor products. His designs for knives, compasses, matchboxes, axes and gunsights set the standard for the 20th century in the outdoor goods market and still are influential today. The exhibit will be on display at the museum throughout the summer.
In addition, new stories of the dangers of underground mining and how miners protected themselves are showcased in the museum’s simulated mine tunnel. 
“Underground mining was very dangerous work, and this addition to the mine tunnel gives visitors a look at some of the protective wear that miners used underground,” said Michigan History Center historian Troy Henderson. 
White Water has become an annual attraction at the museum. 
“Dean and Bette Premo formed the band White Water in 1984, and continue their welcoming style – ranging from ballads to breakneck fiddle tunes. The band invites every audience member to richly experience folk and traditional music,” said Henderson. 
This year’s White Water ensemble also will include the talented Atlantic Mine sisters, Carrie and Susan Dlutkowski.
The open house and concerts mark the start of a summerlong series of special events and programs at the museum. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is located 8 miles west of Marquette; enter off of U.S. 41.
The Michigan Iron Industry Museum is one of 11 nationally accredited museums administered by the Michigan History Center. For more information, call 906-475-7857 or visit

The Michigan History Center is part of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Its museum and archival programs foster curiosity, enjoyment and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories. It includes the Michigan History Museum, 10 regional museums, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, and the Archives of Michigan.  Learn more at


Experience #MiFreeFishingWeekend June 10th - 11th

2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend promo with young girl holding fish in boat12MAR17-Grab a fishing rod and enjoy some of the finest fishing Michigan has to offer during the 2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend, June 10-11. That Saturday and Sunday, everyone – residents and non-residents alike – can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.
Additionally, during #MiFreeFishingWeekend the DNR will waive the regular Recreation Passport entry fee for vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks and recreation areas. Several of these locations will host official 2017 Summer Free Fishing Weekend events perfect for the whole family.
Michigan celebrated summer’s #MiFreeFishingWeekend every year since 1986 as a way to promote awareness of the state's vast aquatic resources. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams and 11,000 inland lakes – Michigan and fishing are a perfect match.

“Being outdoors and enjoying Michigan’s world-class fisheries never gets old,” said Jim Dexter, DNR Fisheries Division chief. “We encourage avid anglers to consider inviting a new angler out for this year’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend to show them how simple and fun it can be.”

Official summer #MiFreeFishingWeekend activities are being scheduled in communities across the state to assist with public participation. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations including constituent groups, schools, local and state parks, businesses and others. A full list of these events can be found online at


Multiple Openers in UP Kick Fishing Season Into High Gear

Man holding walleye while on a boat12MAY17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers to get ready for the fishing seasons opening Monday, May 15, in the Upper Peninsula. Seasons for walleye, northern pike and muskellunge for all Upper Peninsula waters including the Great Lakes, inland waters, and St. Marys River open that day.
Anglers currently can catch-and-immediate-release largemouth and smallmouth bass on most waters statewide. The possession season for bass opens statewide Saturday, May 27, except for Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River and the Detroit River, which open Saturday, June 17.
Please note, anglers fishing the Michigan/Wisconsin boundary waters, Big Island Lakes Complex, Sylvania Wilderness Area and Seney National Wildlife Refuge should check the 2016-2017 Fishing Guide for specific regulations governing those areas.

The new license season began April 1, so anglers need to be sure they have purchased a new fishing license for this fishing season. The 2017 fishing licenses are valid through March 31, 2018.

Michigan’s current Fishing Guide (2016-2017) always is available online, as are the Inland Trout & Salmon Maps. View or download it at


Biking Trails Offer Options to Get Outside and Explore 'The Trails State'

12MAY17-If you’re seeking a cure for cabin fever, with warmer weather finally returning after months of torpor-inducing cold and gray, a bicycle and a trail just might be the perfect prescription.
May is
National Bike Month, a great time to discover both the benefits of bicycling – among them, improving your physical and mental health, cutting down on pollution, saving money on gas and getting outdoors – and the many beautiful places you can explore in Michigan on a bike.

Bikers enjoy a stretch of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail, along Lake Superior, in Marquette County."Bicycling is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors, while taking advantage of all the health and environmental benefits,” said Elissa Buck, a recreation programmer for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “It's also an opportunity to explore your community and state, such as the extensive statewide trail system, many scenic roads, state parks and much more."
Whether it's bicycling along a former railroad track or alongside a local county road or mountain biking across rugged terrain, Michigan has unique opportunities for bicyclists of all ages, types and skill levels.
Nationally recognized as “The Trails State,” Michigan has more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails and 2,600 miles of rail trails, more than any other state in nation.

There are generally two types of bike trails, linear trails and mountain bike trails.
Linear trails, also called rail trails, run from one point to another and usually follow an old railroad track, river or land feature. They typically cover long distances and can be either improved or unimproved, with various surfaces including asphalt, limestone or natural dirt.
“The improved linear trails are built to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ standards, meaning they are 10 feet wide and meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance,” said Emily Meyerson, the DNR’s northern Lower Peninsula trail coordinator. “Typically we call these bike trails or multi-use trails.”
In addition to a number of
linear trails managed by the DNR, many rail trails are managed locally – more information about these linear trails is available at
Mountain bike trails are narrower than linear trails. Usually they consist of a natural soil surface with changing slopes and gradients and are often open to other uses, such as hiking, as well.
“Mountain bike trails are typically a single track-type trail, usually built in a system, and have multiple loops in varying degrees of difficulty,” said Meyerson. “They often have obstacles there on purpose, such as log or rock jumping.”
Mountain bikers have some options when it comes to what type of riding experience they’re looking for.William Field Memorial Hart-Montague Trail, running through Muskegon and Oceana counties in western Michigan, was one of Michigan's first rail trails.

“Mountain biking trails can be very cross-country – with hard-packed trails and smooth, fast flow – or more technical, with lots of obstacles and jumps,” said Kristen Bennett, Iron Belle Trail coordinator for the DNR.
The DNR allows mountain biking on many of the state pathways and state park trails found across the state. To search for a list of Michigan state parks, recreation areas or rustic state forest campgrounds with designated mountain bike trails, visit
Michigan is also home to some of the best road bicycling in the nation. Low-traffic backroads with incredible scenic vistas connect small towns and state parks. Bikes are allowed on all paved and non-paved roads in all 103 state parks and recreation areas. The
Michigan Department of Transportation has regional maps showing the best roads for biking, and those to avoid.

One great way to start your biking adventure is to jump on the Michigan's Iron Belle Trail, the longest state-designated trail in the nation at more than 2,000 miles long. Running from Belle Isle Park in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula, the trail goes through 48 counties and 240 townships in the state.
The Iron Belle Trail features two routes, one for biking and one for hiking. The 791-mile bicycle route, now 64 percent complete, utilizes existing multi-use trails and follows U.S. 2, a designated national bicycling route in the Upper Peninsula.
The Iron Belle Trail continues to expand, thanks in part to fundraising efforts that are enabling development of new trail segments.
The Michigan Fitness Foundation – in partnership with the DNR, MDOT, the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance and local community groups – is spearheading the Iron Belle Trails Campaign to raise $168 million in private funding to leverage the investment state, federal and local government agencies and other partners have already made in building the trail.

The DTE Energy Foundation Trail, running through Waterloo State Recreation Area north of Chelsea in Washtenaw County is shown.“The goal is to create a trail system where both residents and visitors can enjoy the scenic views, cultural heritage, vibrant communities and natural resources that Michigan has to offer,” said Michigan Fitness Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer J.J. Tighe.
“Trail systems have proven to be a boon to both rural and urban areas – they improve health, the economy and communities by promoting physical activity, tourism and community connections.”
Tighe pointed to Karen’s Trail – named in honor of Karen McKeachie, who was struck by a car and killed while biking on the road in 2016 – as an example of projects the Iron Belle Trails Campaign will support.
Karen’s Trail is an effort, kicked off a few weeks ago, to help fund completion of the Border-to-Border Trail in southeastern Michigan and connect it to the Iron Belle Trail. Organizers aim to provide safe, non-motorized pathways for bikers and other outdoor recreationists to enjoy.
When completed, the Border-to-Border Trail will run 70 miles, following the Huron River from Washtenaw County to Wayne County, and will include an extra 44-mile continuous loop connecting the cities of Dexter and Chelsea, the Waterloo and Pinckney state recreation areas and the Lakelands State Trail system.

According to the Karen’s Trail website: “We hope to have the entire project finished by 2021 — and when we do, it will instantly become one of the largest continuous, traffic-free trails in the Midwest!”
Tighe said Karen's Trail is just one example.
“We are seeing the same momentum from Detroit to Kent County to the more rural areas of the northern Lower Peninsula,” Tighe said. “This type of resource is great all across our state.”
While the Iron Belle Trail and other biking trails around the state offer many opportunities to explore pristine forests, pass along cool rivers and visit charming towns, some trails also give you the chance to learn more about Michigan’s history.
The multi-use, year-round Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Marquette County, for example, shares the story of the area’s iron-mining past – and how it changed the landscape of Marquette County and the United States – through educational interpretive panels, sculptures and a connection to the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee Township. In July each summer, Iron Industry Museum staff leads popular
Iron Ore Heritage Trail bike tours.
The Native American Cultural History Trail on Mackinac Island helps visitors learn more about the history and impact of Native Americans on the Great Lakes through a series of interpretive stations, with bicycle parking, along the road around the perimeter of the island.A map shows bikepacking opportunities in the northern Lower Peninsula.

For those who want to make a weekend, or a whole vacation, of their biking adventure, there’s something called “bikepacking.”
“Bikepacking is riding a bicycle longer distances, staying overnight along the way at either hotels or campsites,” said Meyerson. “Bring minimal gear with you and stay in a hotel or pack up your panniers or trailer and camp out under the stars.”
Meyerson said the northern Lower Peninsula is Michigan’s premier bikepacking destination, with a network of more than 200 miles of bicycle trails crisscrossing the area and expanding every year.
“Bikepacking the northern Lower Peninsula you can stay entirely on easy, developed bicycle trails or combine trails and rural roads, creating an endless number of opportunities,” said Meyerson. “There are plenty of hotels and various types of camping opportunities. Small-town charm, historic sites and beautiful vistas are around every corner.”

For more details, see the attached bikepacking map and stay tuned to the DNR biking webpage for information about potential itineraries, overnight accommodations and more.
You don’t have to stop biking even when winter rolls around again.
Trails for fat-tire bikes, which are off-road bicycles with oversized tires designed to allow riding on soft, unstable terrain like snow, are becoming more common.
“Fat-tire bike trails offer a winter version of bicycling,” Bennett said. “This is the latest trend in cycling and is not available everywhere yet, but more and more trails of this type are being put in.”
Earlier this year, the DNR designated 10.7 miles of winter fat tire bike trail at the Little Presque Isle tract, situated a few miles north of Marquette in Marquette County.
“Little Presque Isle is increasingly becoming a popular place for biking, in addition to its attractions for anglers, campers, hikers and swimmers,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “These trails are just one example of the numerous biking opportunities available here in the Upper Peninsula.”
Check out a
Pure Michigan Summer video on biking.
Learn about Michigan biking trails, and a variety of other trails, and find trail maps on the DNR website at
“Michigan trails offer so many opportunities for residents and visitors of all ages – whether it’s families or individuals – to enjoy the outdoors,” said Paul Yauk, state trails coordinator for the DNR. “Some of these trails might be in your own backyard, so get out and explore.”

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming articles.


DNR Temporarily Closes Boardwalk at Tahquamenon Falls State Park

: A map shows the Lower Falls day use area, including the area to be closed temporarily for construction.10MAY17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has closed temporarily a nearly half-mile-long boardwalk for construction at the Lower Tahquamenon Falls day use area in Chippewa County.
Closure of the boardwalk trail, between markers 13 and 14, is scheduled to remain in effect until June 15, while workers realign and level a .4-mile section of the walkway.
“Park visitors can still experience beautiful views of the Lower Tahquamenon Falls during construction,” said Craig Krepps, park manager. “Visitors can see the falls from the paved walkway, or up close, by renting a rowboat to access the Lower Falls Island.”
A newly-renovated observation deck is opening this week, located across the from the gift shop. This deck and other viewing sites offer fantastic places to see the Lower Falls.

The Lower Falls gift shop and rowboat rental open May 12th.
For those hiking the River Trail, between the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls, a reroute in place during the boardwalk closure will require walkers to hike for an additional 1.5 miles.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park, situated along M-123 in Luce and Chippewa counties, encompasses close to 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles. Most of this is undeveloped woodland without roads, buildings or power lines.
The centerpiece of the park, and the very reason for its existence, is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls. The Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over these falls.
Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Although not as dramatic as the Upper Falls, they are equally magnificent. The falls can be viewed from the river bank or from the island, which can be reached by rowboat rented from a park concession. The island walk affords a view of the falls in the south channel.

For more information, visit the DNR’s webpage at:


DNR Encourages Bass Tournament Directors to Register Events Online

Individual holding a smallmouth bass10MAY17-As temperatures continue to warm, many anglers are looking forward to fishing the open water season. With this in mind, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers coordinating bass fishing tournaments in 2017 to register those tournaments online via the Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System.
The system was initiated in January 2016 after the Michigan Natural Resources Commission issued Fisheries Order 215.15A in 2015, requiring all bass fishing tournaments to be registered online.
“This is the second year of Michigan’s requirement to register and report all bass fishing tournaments,” said Tom Goniea, DNR fisheries biologist and tournament fishing liaison. “The results we received in 2016 were very encouraging, with just under 2,100 tournaments registered on 271 lakes and rivers in the state. The reports submitted following these tournaments provide valuable data on Michigan’s bass fisheries.”

The data collected via the Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System is used to understand the impact bass tournaments have on the local economy. The information also will inform future management discussions regarding seasons and angling opportunities. In 2018, this registration requirement will be expanded to all fishing tournaments regardless of species.
“If they haven’t already done so, bass fishing tournament directors should get online and register their 2017 tournaments,” Goniea said. “So far in 2017, more than 1,650 tournaments have already been registered and more are coming in every day.”

To register, tournament directors must go to the DNR’s Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System, which can be found online at or Instructions on how to access the system, add tournaments and report catch data also are available online. 


DNR Seeks to Learn More About Muskellunge Through Online Survey

Angler holding up a muskellunge10MAY17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Michigan Muskie Alliance, is investigating the muskellunge fisheries of the state again this year by distributing an online angler survey.
The 2017 Muskellunge Angler Survey will gather information about muskellunge angler demographics and catch data. Muskellunge anglers have been surveyed since 2014, but only online since 2016. Traditional methods, including creel and postcards, have not been as successful as collecting information through electronic means. The current survey can be found on the DNR website at and the Michigan Muskie Alliance website at
By completing this survey, anglers assist fisheries managers in their evaluations, assessments and trend monitoring of Michigan’s muskellunge fisheries. Information collected includes fishing location, method used, catch preferences, catch-and-release data, and how frequently the individual fishes for muskellunge.

The information collected via the 2017 Muskellunge Angler Survey plays a key role in proper fisheries management. Anglers may fill out one survey per person per trip and they may complete a survey for each angling trip they make.
Anglers must obtain a muskellunge harvest tag when deciding to harvest a fish. These tags are obtained when purchasing a Michigan fishing license or any date thereafter, as long as the angler has a fishing license and a valid driver’s license. Those interested in registering a harvested muskellunge (optional) can visit


DNR Releases Deer Hunter Study Report

08MAY17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in collaboration with DJ Case & Associates, recently released a report on a nearly yearlong study of Michigan deer hunters. Following up on recent DNR research into deer hunting participation trends, the project was designed to be completed before the 2017-2019 deer hunting regulations are established.
Report findings were presented at the April 13 Natural Resources Commission meeting. The
full written report, which includes more than 100 pages of detailed information on the study process and results, is available online at, under "MI Deer Resources."

A few key findings included:

bullet Most respondents (79 percent) did not think the current deer hunting regulations are too complex.
bullet Differences of opinions across age categories were greater than differences between males and females.
bullet Regulations changes did not receive a majority of support among any group of hunters, though younger hunters generally were more supportive of changes than older hunters.
bullet As the hunter population ages, differences of opinions across age categories indicate the DNR should re-examine future support for regulations changes.
bullet Among options for possible discounts and prize drawings, a majority of younger hunters did believe they would be likely to purchase a multiyear license bundle at a discounted rate.

The study was conducted in two stages. The first included small group discussions to learn about opportunities and challenges for continued participation in deer hunting. A facilitator from DJ Case & Associates posed questions and directed participants to discuss their own deer hunting experiences and opinions as a group. Groups included hunters that are of particular interest due to prior research, including females and young adult males. Female participation has been on the rise, while young adult males are participating at lower rates than men of the same age during past decades.
“Group participants reported that as they grow older, their hunting partners continue to be those that first taught them to hunt – most often close family members,” said Brent Rudolph, DNR Wildlife Division social science coordinator.
As hunters get older and move away from those traditional partners and hunting places, they can find it challenging to continue to find the time to hunt, which is one threat to sustaining hunting traditions.
“We all want to protect our favorite deer hunting spots, but hunters should think beyond only mentoring youth and consider inviting adult hunters that might be struggling to find a place to hunt to join them from time to time,” Rudolph said.
The second stage of the study involved sending 188,000 hunters an email invitation to complete a survey over the internet.
The survey evaluated hunting habits, determined opinions about possible changes to deer hunting regulations and measured interest in potential discounts or prize drawings for those who purchase deer licenses.
Anyone who had purchased a deer license over the past five years and who previously provided an email address to the DNR received an email invitation. The online survey was an efficient way to get much more input than was possible during the first stage of the study, from hunters of all ages and genders across the state.
Phil Seng, vice president of DJ Case & Associates, said he was a bit surprised at the low percentage of hunters who felt that current deer regulations are a barrier to hunting.

“It’s common for  hunters to take any opportunity to complain about regulations, but 86 percent of survey responses indicated regulations are not a barrier,” said Seng. “Michigan should be cautious about changing regulations unless there is strong evidence to support the change. The DNR should continue to track these attitudes of hunters closely over time.”
DJ Case & Associates ( is a team of communication specialists in natural resources conservation. They specialize in helping natural resources agencies and organizations better achieve their goals by conducting baseline research and program assessments, to strategic and operational planning, to implementation of communication strategies and tactics.

For more information about hunting opportunities or deer management in Michigan, go to or


Monarch Butterflies Winging Their Way North to Michigan

Several efforts under way to bolster declining populations

A monarch butterfly is shown.05MAY17-With spring now sprung in Michigan, soon we’ll be welcoming back to the state one of the most distinctive signs that summer is on its way – the brightly colored monarch butterfly.
Monarchs are on their way north from Mexico, where they spend the winter months. While National Start Seeing Monarchs Day is observed annually on the first Saturday in May, it may be a
few more weeks before they make their way across Michigan.
One of the most well-known and beloved butterfly species in North America, with their easily recognized orange and black wing pattern, monarchs have become a much less common sight in recent decades.
The eastern monarch butterfly population has declined by 90 percent over the last 20 years due mainly to habitat loss, both in their summer range – including Michigan – and in Mexico, where they overwinter.

“Because of the tremendous migration they make, monarchs need a variety of habitats,” said Dan Kennedy, Michigan Department of Natural Resources endangered species coordinator. “In the early summer, they lay their eggs on milkweed because that’s the only plant their caterpillars will eat.
“Monarchs also need habitat to overwinter in, not to mention habitat where they can stop and refuel along the way. They are very active insects and require a wide variety of flowering plants to provide the food they need to survive and make their long journey.”

Monarch butterfly larvae feeding on milkweed. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)Scientists monitor the eastern overwintering population of monarch butterflies in Mexico. This year’s population reports indicate that monarch butterflies continue to decline, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The forest area the eastern monarch population occupied decreased 27 percent from winter 2015-2016, due to a series of severe storms.
“This year’s population numbers accentuate how imperative it is for our countries to continue working together to protect and conserve this amazing species – as well as the role every person plays in ensuring a future filled with monarchs,” said Tom Melius, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest regional director and the service’s lead for the Monarch Butterfly Conservation Initiative.
“It will take all of us working together in city backyards and across vast agricultural acres, to reverse this population decline.”

Common milkweed plants growing in the field. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)Monarchs are pollinating insects that travel to flowering plants, drinking nectar and transporting pollen.
They’re not the only pollinators on the decline – bee populations worldwide also have decreased dramatically in recent decades, and the rusty patched bumble bee recently was listed as an endangered species.
“Pollinators, like butterflies and bees, are responsible for approximately one-third of the world’s food source,” said Kennedy. “Because of the important role pollinators play in people’s lives, it is up to us to help keep these pollinator populations abundant and healthy.”
The alarming declines in monarchs and other pollinators have sparked conservation programs across the nation.

Kennedy said the DNR has been working with the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to develop a regional monarch conservation strategy that will cover key breeding and migration habitat across 16 states.
In addition, the DNR and more than 25 partners in the state have been working to develop Michigan’s Monarch and Wild Pollinator Strategy.

A sign marks a Monarch Waystation.The Michigan Farm Bureau, the state’s largest general farm organization, is one of the key partners in the strategy to conserve monarch butterflies.
“Michigan’s farmers recognize the importance of both native and managed pollinators to support our state’s incredible diversity of crop production,” said Laura Campbell, manager of Michigan Farm Bureau’s Ag Ecology Department. “We help support farmers in this interest.”
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has developed a
Protection Plan for Managed Pollinators in Michigan, which is our state’s response to the national strategy to protect managed pollinators from pesticide risk.
In addition to partnering with other agencies on both a pollinator protection plan for pesticide management and a monarch and native pollinator habitat plan, the Michigan Farm Bureau also encourages farmers to take advantage of technical assistance and cost-share programs available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
These programs have helped farmers establish almost 10,000 acres of pollinator habitat across nearly 500 farms, according to the USDA.
“We look forward to continuing our support of farmers’ efforts to implement smart, strategic and effective pollinator protection practices across the state,” Campbell said. “These efforts will help both pollinator populations and the success of Michigan’s farms.”

The DNR also is undertaking projects to enhance habitat for monarchs and other pollinators on land it manages.
Sleepy Hollow State Park in Clinton County, for example, has had a Monarch Waystation – a place, officially designated by Monarch Watch, that provides resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration – in place since 2011.
About an acre in size, the waystation was planted through a cooperative effort of the Friends of Sleepy Hollow, the Clinton County Soil Conservation District and the DNR.
Sleepy Hollow also is planning a larger pollinator habitat improvement effort of more than 20 acres. Still in its infancy, this project will use the gas line right-of-way that bisects the northern part of the park property.
Tim Machowicz, unit supervisor at Sleepy Hollow State Park, said of the planned habitat improvement, “The win is on multiple levels – more pollinator habitat, better use of what is presently land with limited wildlife value, and less work for Consumers Energy to maintain the right-of-way.”

A monarch butterfly is shown on a flower. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)There are many ways that Michigan residents can contribute to ongoing monarch conservation efforts as well. Creating habitat for monarchs and other pollinators, whether it’s in your backyard or a large field, is a great place to start.
“Monarch habitat includes several species of milkweed and multiple flowering plants that bloom throughout the spring, summer and fall,” Kennedy said. “Milkweed is important as a food source for monarch caterpillars, and flowering plants provide food for adults during migration and breeding.”
Kennedy stressed that it’s important to use plants that are native to Michigan so invasive species are not introduced into the state. More information about native plants is available from the
Michigan Native Plant Producers Association.
Ten milkweed species are native to Michigan – the most widespread are common milkweed, butterfly milkweed and swamp milkweed.

According to Duke Elsner of Michigan State University Extension, milkweeds can be started from seeds – which can be collected from existing plants or purchased from commercial suppliers – or as young container plants.
Older milkweed plants are very difficult to transplant, so that approach isn’t recommended. Seeds need a three-month period of exposure to cold, so it is a good practice to plant seeds in autumn.
Container plants can be planted in spring, but it is advisable to wait until the threat of spring frosts has passed. Elsner provides more helpful tips in “
Growing milkweeds for monarch butterflies.”
In an excerpt from “
Smart gardening to support monarchs,” Elsner writes: “The adult monarch butterfly can feed on the nectar of many species of flowering plants. As they travel throughout Michigan from May through October, select flowers with a wide range of blooming times to support monarchs. You should have something blooming throughout the growing season. A series of blooming plants will also benefit many species of pollinating bees and natural enemies of pests.

A mother and daughter enjoy looking at a monarch butterfly on a flower. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)“Some of the trees, shrubs and other plants monarch butterflies visit for nectar include wild cherry, lilac, Labrador tea, blazing star, red clover, dogbane, goldenrods, ironweeds, joe-pye weed, marigolds, asters, rattlesnake-master, sunflowers, thistles, vetches and milkweeds.”
Other resources include the
Create Habitat for Monarchs web page from Monarch Joint Venture and “How to build a butterfly and pollinator garden in seven steps” from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Another way you can contribute to monarch butterfly conservation efforts is to monitor monarch populations by reporting any sightings at
Journey North or getting involved in other monarch citizen science opportunities.
“Much of what we know about monarch biology, migration, and conservation is informed by data collected by citizen scientists throughout North America” said Karen Oberhauser, founder of the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project and co-chair of the Monarch Joint Venture.
The Monarch Conservation Science Partnership is looking for volunteers to participate in its national monitoring effort by collecting data, testing field techniques and providing feedback on the monitoring program.

A free training session for volunteers will be held at Fenner Nature Center in Lansing, Michigan, on June 10-11. Register for the training.

Learn more about what you can do to help pollinators in Michigan, monarch biology, current projects helping pollinators, and activities and resources for kids and teachers by visiting and clicking on “Monarchs in Michigan.”

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming articles.


DNR Captain Completes Prestigious FBI National Academy

Northern Michigan-based officer hones skills in rigorous 10-week program

Wade Hamilton02MAY17-A Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer recently graduated from the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
Capt. Wade Hamilton, Region 1 field operations coordinator who supervises DNR law enforcement in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, completed the intensive 10-week course. The academy is an invitation-only, professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers. It is designed to improve the administration of justice at home and abroad, and to raise law enforcement standards, knowledge and cooperation worldwide.
Candidates are nominated by their agency heads based on their demonstrated leadership qualities.
“Capt. Hamilton earned this opportunity due to his daily leadership and professionalism,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler, who nominated Hamilton for acceptance to the academy. “He was an outstanding representative of the DNR and Michigan while at the academy. The advanced training he received will help the DNR become even more effective in protecting Michigan’s citizens and natural resources. We congratulate Capt. Hamilton on this impressive accomplishment.”

Hamilton has nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience. He is a 23-year DNR veteran who also served five years in the Michigan State Police. 
The 267th session of the academy consisted of men and women from 48 states and 25 countries. FBI Director James Comey was the principal speaker at the graduation ceremony.
The program includes studies in intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication and forensic science. Officers also participate in a wide range of leadership and specialized training, during which they share ideas, techniques and experiences, creating lifelong partnerships that transcend state and national borders.
The academy is physically demanding as well. The final fitness test candidates endure is the infamous “Yellow Brick Road,” a grueling 6.1-mile run through a challenging obstacle course built by the U.S. Marine Corps.
The academy began in 1935 to encourage standardization and professionalization of law enforcement agencies nationwide through centralized training.

Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace officers with full authority to enforce the state’s criminal laws. Learn more at


American Woodcock – Michigan’s Leading the Nation

American woodcock03MAY17-Spring means many things to many people – morel mushrooms, trout fishing, turkey hunting or viewing migrating birds overhead. The American woodcock is one of those migrating, part-time Michigan residents that split time between the southeastern United States and Michigan.
“For decades, Michigan has helped gather information on woodcock populations, which spend time in numerous states and provinces from Canada to the Gulf,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources upland game bird specialist Al Stewart.
“A male woodcock has a unique call that sounds like ‘peent,’” said Stewart. “During the spring singing ground survey, we listen to the number and locations of ‘peents’ along established routes, giving us an idea of the number of woodcock present.”
In the spring, breeding activity causes woodcock to be more vocal and visible, making spring a great time for surveying. Annually, DNR staff members take to their established survey routes just after sunset, to count “peents” as part of a multistate spring singing ground survey.

Unique in appearance, woodcock have plump, round bodies with long, skinny, pointed bills. Their buff bellies and black and tan, speckle-patterned feathers give them great camouflage. Woodcock can be found throughout forested regions where their food is plentiful. Woodcock use their bills, perfect for piercing through the soil, to find and eat earthworms. 
After the audible “peent,” the woodcock will start its aerial display, lifting off the ground 200 to 350 feet in a spiral dance.  
“If you’re in the right place at the right time, you can witness this dance,” Stewart said.
The Michigan DNR is just one of the state agencies that devote time in the spring to assist in this joint multistate survey that began back in 1968. The survey technique used today to monitor woodcock was developed in 1960 by Bill Goudy at Michigan State University. Each route is 3.6 miles long, with 10 listening points. Survey dates vary based on latitude and, in Michigan, run April 20 to May 20.
In 2016, there were a total of 820 woodcock survey routes run in North America. (Canada also runs routes as part of this monitoring program.)
“Michigan is an important woodcock production state, meaning they are born here,” said Stewart. “We run more routes in Michigan than any other state or province.”
Michigan generally runs 115 survey routes annually, providing long-term information to guide management of woodcock in North America. Woodcock are a popular game species in the United States, and in Michigan approximately 26,000 upland bird hunters target them, leading the nation in both the number of hunters and birds harvested.
Other outdoor enthusiasts also appreciate the glimpse of a woodcock. An upcoming evening “Woodcock Walk” Thursday, May 4, at the Lame Duck Foot Access
GEMS near Gladwin, offers a unique opportunity different from a typical spring birding event. Call 989-385-0336 for more information.
Wildlife viewers also can find a calm evening and an open country field and keep their eyes and ears open for the spring “peent” of the woodcock this year.
This fall, Michigan will host the 11th American Woodcock Symposium, where biologists from different states and continents will gather on behalf of the woodcock.
Learn more about this Oct. 24 -27 event.


State Announces $3.6 Million in Grants to Target Invasive Species

a close-up view of the New Zealand mudsnail03MAY17-Funding proposals for 2017 now are being accepted through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, with an anticipated $3.6 million available to applicants. The program – a joint effort of the Michigan departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality, and Agriculture and Rural Development – is part of a statewide initiative launched in 2014 to help prevent and control invasive species in Michigan.
An invasive species is one that is not native and whose introduction causes harm, or is likely to cause harm to Michigan's economy, environment or human health.
“Michigan’s world-class natural resources and outdoor recreation opportunities – and the local economies they help support – are under threat from a growing variety of invasive species in our woods and water,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “The Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program is a valuable resource that allows us to team up with community partners across the state to find new and better ways of preventing and containing these damaging land and water invaders.”

Program handbook, informational webinar

The 2017 grant program handbook, outlining focus areas and information on how to apply, is available on the DNR website A live webinar explaining the 2017 grant process and focus areas is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23, from 2 to 3 p.m. Interested applicants can register for the webinar at A recorded version of the webinar also will be available at this website after May 23rd.

Program progress

Administered by the DNR, the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program supports projects throughout the state that prevent, detect, manage and eradicate invasive species on the ground and in the water. Total program funding is set by the Legislature and the governor during the annual budget cycle.
To date, the program has provided more than $11 million in grant funding, resulting in management of invasive species including Phragmites, Japanese knotweed and oak wilt disease on over 17,000 acres of public and private land and water statewide. New approaches for treating aquatic invasive species, including Eurasian watermilfoil, starry stonewort and sea lamprey are being explored. Highlights of the 2016 program can be found in the
Michigan Invasive Species Program Annual Report
Regional Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs) are operating in 77 of Michigan’s 83 counties, providing assistance to the public in identifying and managing invasive species.
Contact information for individual CISMAs can be found in the Local Resources section of the invasive species website.

Focus areas for 2017

The 2017 grant program encourages the development of regional CISMAs in the six counties currently without coverage: Branch, Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, St. Joseph and Washtenaw. The program also offers continued support for existing CISMAs statewide. 
Proposals to advance methods of aquatic invasive plant control are being sought in 2017, as well as those undertaking surveillance for emerging or potential infestations of hemlock woolly adelgid, balsam woolly adelgid, thousand cankers disease and/or Asian longhorned beetle in Michigan. 
Invasive species prevention activities are highlighted in this year’s program, including those that reduce the risk of spreading invasive species through movement of firewood, a primary pathway for tree diseases and pests. Proposals addressing the spread of invasive species through recreational activities including land and water trail use, boating, angling, hunting and camping, also are encouraged. 

Important program dates, grant parameters

Local, state, federal and tribal units of government, nonprofit organizations and universities may apply for funding to support invasive species projects conducted in Michigan. For this 2017 funding cycle, pre-proposals will be accepted through June 13 and requested full proposals must be submitted by Sept. 18th.
Grant requests for 2017 projects can range from a minimum of $25,000 to a maximum of $400,000. Applicants must commit to provide 10 percent of the total project cost in the form of a local match.
Competitive applications will outline clear objectives, propose significant ecological benefits, demonstrate diverse collaboration and show strong community support. 

Learn more about this and other grant opportunities on the DNR website


DNR Confirms Virus Involved in Lake St. Clair Fish Kill

dead gizzard shad floating in Lake St Clair

02MAY17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that test results on fish collected in the ongoing fish kill event on Lake St. Clair were confirmed to be positive for viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSv). Fish were collected during late March and early April and included gizzard shad, bluegill, and black and white crappie.
“A total of 165 fish have been tested thus far using pooled samples of five fish, and of the 33 pooled samples, 31 of them have been positive for VHSv,” said Gary Whelan, research program manager for the DNR’s Fisheries Division. “Ten gizzard shad were tested individually and all were positive for the virus. These results confirm what we initially suspected, given the external signs on the fish, species involved, and timing of the fish kill, all strongly implicating VHSv as the cause of this fish kill.”

Based on both public and other DNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports, the current known distribution of the fish kill event is from Algonac to Lake Erie, with many of the reports from Harrison Township to St. Clair Shores. Initially, the fish kill was mostly gizzard shad, an important forage species, but now is widening to more species and is likely to affect tens of thousands of fish. This event is considered an unusually large fish kill but is smaller than an earlier VHSv-related fish kill in 2006. The reasons for the fish kill occurring this year are under investigation and the mortalities should begin to be reduced with water temperatures rising above 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
VHSv is known to infect more than 30 species of Great Lakes fish and has been found in lakes Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario, along with a few inland lakes. It is not a native pathogen and likely arrived in Great Lakes waters in the early 2000s. Some species such as lake sturgeon and walleye are very resistant to it and others such as bluegill, largemouth bass, muskellunge, gizzard shad and round goby are very susceptible. The pathogen causes the fish’s blood vessels to leak, which is why the skin shows bloody patches and the fish ultimately dies of blood loss and organ failure. This external symptom is shared with other pathogens, which is why testing was needed to fully confirm if VHSv was involved in this event. Previous research has shown many fish recover from this virus infection, although there is no treatment.
“The public has been essential in helping the DNR efficiently track and sample this event and is encouraged to continue to provide us with reports of fish kills with a focus on kills of more than 25 fish,” Whelan said. “The public can provide the reports to We also ask that anglers be extra careful and be part of the team that prevents this virus from spreading to other waters.”
Anglers are reminded to refrain from moving live fish between water bodies and to properly dispose of bait. Boaters need to make sure their bilges and live wells are emptied prior to leaving a boat launch, and equipment must be cleaned and disinfected after use. Visit for more information on how those who fish and boat can help limit the spread of fish disease and invasive species. 

More information on viral hemorrhagic septicemia is available on the DNR website


Anyone Can Hunt Wild Turkey During Michigan’s Spring Season

female hunter holder turkey and firearm02MAY17-Michigan’s long-awaited guaranteed spring turkey hunt – Hunt 234 – starts today.
“The intent of the spring turkey season is to provide opportunity to all hunters while maintaining high-quality turkey hunting,” said Department of Natural Resources upland game bird biologist Al Stewart. “Hunt 234 is a great way for anyone to get out hunting this spring, with a month of hunting and the ability to buy your license over the counter without an application.”
Hunt 234 is a statewide hunting license valid for all open areas, except public lands in the southern Lower Peninsula (Hunt Unit ZZ). The Hunt 234 license can be purchased at any time throughout the May 1-May 31 season.
To learn more about spring turkey hunting, see the
Spring Turkey Digest and watch this DNR spring turkey regulations video.
“Don’t forget, you can commemorate your 2017 spring turkey season with a wild turkey cooperator patch. You do not have to harvest a bird to receive this collector’s patch,” said Stewart. “With the help of the Michigan Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Foundation, this patch program has contributed dollars to turkey-related projects and management here in Michigan.”

Young hunters, 17 years old and younger, who have a valid wild turkey hunting license may receive a free patch. To receive a patch, please send name and complete address, along with a legible copy of the youth’s valid wild turkey hunting license, to National Wild Turkey Federation, Wild Turkey Patch Program, P.O. Box 8, Orleans, MI, 48865. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery. If you have questions, please e-mail
Adult hunters, collectors and other interested individuals may purchase the patch for $5, including postage and handling. Only the current-year patch is available for purchase. You do not have to harvest a turkey to purchase a patch. Send orders to the address above and make check or money order payable to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Every resident or nonresident who hunts in Michigan needs an annual base license. Once the base license is purchased, hunters can buy a spring turkey license. The DNR recommends purchasing a license in person at a
DNR Customer Service Center, or anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold, in order to have the spring turkey license in time for the season. A turkey license includes a kill tag, which must be attached to the turkey immediately when harvested.

If you have questions, call 517-284-WILD (517-284-9453).


ORV Trail Bridge Closed for $803K Repair Project in Ontonagon County

02MAY17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has closed the South Branch of the Ontonagon River bridge near Ewen to off-road vehicle traffic during construction activities, which are expected to continue into October.
“This is an important bridge repair project we first began developing several years ago,” said Ron Yesney, DNR Upper Peninsula trails coordinator.

An off-road vehicle bridge over the South Branch of the Ontonagon River near Ewen in Ontonagon County has been closed for repairs until fall. The 1.25-mile trail closure began April 17 between Cedar Street in Ewen and North Cemetery Road, which is situated east of town.
A 3-mile trail reroute has been established and signed along South Cedar Street to McRae Road, east to North Cemetery Road.
The DNR is grateful to the Michigan Trails and Recreation Alliance of Land and the Environment (MI-TRALE), which is the trail sponsor, the Ontonagon County Road Commission and McMillan Township for developing the temporary trail reroute.
Trail users are reminded to be respectful of private property while using the detour.
“This bridge provides access for snowmobile, ORV and non-motorized traffic on the Bergland to Sidnaw Rail Grade,” said Jeff Kakuk, DNR western Upper Peninsula trails specialist. “The project will consist of repairs to the bridge abutments and the installation of a new deck structure and railings.”

The 443-foot-long steel plate girder bridge, which was constructed during original Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic railroad development, has undergone engineering review by NDG Consulting of Traverse City.
This $803,000 project is being funded through ORV and Recreational Trails Program funding. Repairs are being performed by MJO Contracting Inc. of Hancock.
The Bergland to Sidnaw Rail Trail (Snowmobile Trail No. 8) uses the former DSS&A railroad grade and runs for 49 miles. The route parallels M-28, running east and west, in Ontonagon County.

For more information on the project, please contact Kakuk at 906-563-9247, ext. 109 or

For more information on ORV trails in Michigan, visit


Elk & Bear Hunt Applications Available; Drawing Process Explained

elk drawing video thumbnail02MAY17-The 2017 bear and elk hunting application period is open now through June 1st.  A total of 200 elk and 7,140 bear licenses will be available for the 2017 hunting seasons.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages applicants to take a few moments to watch the videos explaining the bear and elk drawing process:

bullet Michigan Elk Weighted Lottery System Explained
bullet Michigan Bear Draw Preference Point System Explained

Hunters can apply online, or at any authorized license agent or DNR Customer Service Center. See the 2017 Michigan elk and bear hunting digests for more details.
Applications are $5. A base license is not required to purchase an application. Only Michigan residents are eligible to apply for an elk license. Bear licenses are available for both residents and nonresidents; however, no more than 5 percent of licenses in any bear management unit will be issued to nonresidents.

bear drawing video thumbnailElk chances and bear preference points are reset to zero for applicants who do not apply for five consecutive years.
Drawing results will be posted online at or starting June 26th.
If you have questions, call the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-WILD (9453) by June 1 for assistance with applications.
Applicants are responsible for submitting a valid application with the correct customer ID and application type. Make sure to check the receipt for accuracy, and call the DNR Wildlife Division immediately if there are any mistakes.

Hunters who want another chance at a bear or elk license can increase their odds by applying for the Pure Michigan Hunt. Applications are $5 and are available at any license agent or online at E-License. Hunters may buy as many applications as they want. Three lucky winners will get prize packages that include a 2018 100th anniversary elk license (Michigan residents only), bear, deer and turkey licenses; first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area; plus firearms, crossbows and much more – a prize package worth over $4,000. For more information, visit


DNR Seeks Public Input on Draft Strategic Plan for Michigan's State Park and Recreation System

02MAY17-Ludington State ParkIn an effort to guide the future management of the state's park and recreation system, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking feedback on the draft Parks and Recreation Division Strategic Plan 2017-2022: ConnectionsThe draft plan is available for public review and comment.
The DNR Parks and Recreation Division manages 103 state parks and recreation areas, totaling 306,148 acres across Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas. It also manages the state’s boating program, the state motorized and non-motorized trail system and 138 state forest campgrounds.
"Michigan's diverse natural, cultural and outdoor recreational resources play a defining role in residents’ quality of life,” said Ron Olson, Parks and Recreation Division chief. "As we approach the 100-year anniversary of the state's park system, it is vital that we create a defined plan that meets the expectations of our customers and protects Michigan's natural resources."
The draft strategic plan was developed through statewide engagement with stakeholders, advisory groups and DNR staff to help identify the primary issues that need to be addressed. The new strategic plan will result in a more streamlined planning document reflecting the many changes that have occurred in recent years and will replace the current strategic plan, PRD Strategic Plan 2009-2019: Sustaining 90 Years of Excellence.

"The strategic plan will serve as our road map for park and recreation planning in the state over the course of the next five years. Input from our residents is integral to the success of this strategic plan," said Olson.
The draft plan is available for review at Comments and feedback on the draft strategic plan can be emailed to through May 19, 2017.
The new strategic plan ultimately will guide the division in meeting its mission to "acquire, protect and preserve the natural and cultural features of Michigan’s unique resources, and to provide access to land- and water-based recreation and educational opportunities" over the upcoming five-year period.

For more information about the draft plan or the planning process, contact Michelle Wieber, DNR Planning and Infrastructure Section administrative assistant, at 517-284-6138 or

The Michigan DNR is looking for public input on its draft strategic plan, which, when finalized, will guide the state parks and recreation system for the next five years. Pictured here is a view at Ludington State Park, one of Michigan's most popular recreation destinations.


DNR-Nominated Recipients Recognized for Community Service Efforts

02MAY17-The Michigan Recreation and Park Association (mParks) honored five Lower Peninsula volunteer efforts with Community Service Awards at a recent ceremony in East Lansing.
The projects lauded included a mobile Mother Nature’s Classroom through
Port Crescent State Park, a new beach playground constructed at Holland State Park, an all-accessible pondside trail developed at Wilderness State Park, a historic blockhouse repaired and refinished at Muskegon State Park and project and ground maintenance efforts at Bay City State Recreation Area.Sally Starr (center left) and Nancy VanEenenaam (center right), were the catalysts for a new playground at Holland State Park.

mParks' Community Service Awards recognize individuals and groups who show outstanding support to public recreation and park programs in their community, including friends’ groups, department volunteers and advocates.
The awards ceremony took place April 19 at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing.
Scott Whipple, a science and technology outreach teacher in the Huron Intermediate School District, received a Community Service Award for his efforts in helping develop a collaborative Mother Nature’s Classroom effort facilitated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the school district’s Mathematics and Science Center.
The two entities pooled their resources, expertise and staff, using a DNR grant to finance the collaboration.

“Scott Whipple is deserving of this award as he was instrumental in helping us establish our Mother Nature’s Classroom, a mobile classroom with teaching aids that can be taken to classrooms,” said Betsy Kish, supervisor at Port Crescent State Park in Huron County, who nominated Whipple for the honor.
The program, which initially included lessons at local schools, provides a one-day field trip for each school to Port Crescent’s Day Use Park. In 2016, over 400 students participated in the program first begun in 2012.
“Scott coordinated meetings, getting input from area educators, active and retired. He included local business people who have a passion for getting kids outdoors,” Kish said. “He developed a curriculum for our program that would align with State education guidelines, making our program a desirable, educational field trip, tweaking programs to accommodate any size group.”
Sally Starr and Nancy VanEenenaam, were the catalysts for a community-based collaboration that brought together the DNR, Carter’s Kids, Lake Michigan Credit Union and several state and local businesses to bring a new play structure to Holland State Park in Ottawa County.
“Their dream to bring a playground to the beach for their grandchildren was realized on Aug. 17, 2016, when the impressive new structure was opened to the public,” said park superintendent Sean Mulligan. “Thanks to Sally and Nancy, this project was completed with the majority of funds and labor donated, thus filling a need that would otherwise have waited until higher priority projects around the state had been completed first.”

Eagle Scout Drew WyattMulligan nominated Starr and VanEenenaam for the award.A Scout crew works on an all-accessible pondside trail at Wilderness State Park in Emmet County.
Scout Drew Wyatt, 17, and Alanson Boy Scout Troop 4 were nominated for a Community Service Award for efforts in spring 2016 to improve an 800-foot pondside section of trail to allow access for all visitors to Wilderness State Park.
“Drew and BSA Troop 4 raised all the funds needed for various supplies, as well as the material trucking costs. He organized the work days and, with his oversight, assured that the final product met ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards,” said Burr Mitchell, supervisor at Wilderness State Park. “This project is a fine example of what one young man, determination, drive, and effort can do to encourage others to help him improve people’s lives.”

Wyatt took on the work as his Eagle Scout Project. Mitchell had provided Wyatt a wish list of park improvements the superintendent didn’t have the funding or manpower to complete.
The Pond Side trail was at the top of the list.
“This project was as demanding, or more demanding, in planning, manpower, as well as in material needs than any of the other projects on the list,” Mitchell said. “Drew saw the value that this project had for people with mobility issues and therefore, did not hesitate to take on this challenging effort.”
Wyatt played the key role in all aspects of the project, including the acquisition of a donation for from Tri-County Excavating for 50 yards of compactable material, the use of heavy equipment and the operator hours needed to complete the job.
Mitchell nominated Wyatt for the award.The historic blockhouse, a replica of Fort Detroit, is shown at Muskegon State Park in Muskegon County.

Jim Rudicil, executive director of the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, was honored for his volunteer efforts associated with Muskegon State Park in Muskegon County.
Park Superintendent Gregory Sherburn said Rudicil and the Winter Sports Complex have maintained a great partnership with Muskegon State Park. A luge run is available for winter visitors to the park, as part of the winter sports complex.
“Over the past year alone, Jim has headed up a fundraising campaign and work bees to repair and refinish the blockhouse (a signature park feature replicating Fort Detroit),” Sherburn said. “He has acted as a Friends group in collecting special donations to be used at Muskegon State Park. He has been an important part of the Muskegon State Park master plan process. All the while, making improvements and taking pride in the north side of the park and hosting events to promote Muskegon State Park.”

Sherburn nominated Rudicil for the honor.
Chemical Bank was lauded for its employee efforts at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County. Since 2013, Chemical Bank has turned Columbus Day into Chemical Bank Cares Day with employees volunteering in and around their local communities.

Volunteers from Chemical Bank at the Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County. “Some Chemical Bank employees volunteer here at Bay City State Recreation Area and help us finish small projects and maintain grounds for the pleasure and convenience of our visitors,” said George Lauinger, unit supervisor at the recreation area. “Volunteers help tear down and rebuild picnic tables, prune branches that overhang the trails, pick up litter and debris throughout the park, help with garden maintenance, clean garbage and ashes out of the fire pits in the campground, paint structures, and help put together crafts for kids at the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center for the Mother Nature Halloween Trail. Their support helps Bay City State Recreation Area visitors enjoy the beauty and amenities we have to offer.”
Lauinger and park staff nominated Chemical Bank for the award.
The Association’s Community Service Awards are presented annually. Additional honorees from the Upper Peninsula, nominated by DNR officials, were also honored at the recent awards ceremony.
View a list of all the 2016 award recipients.


Proper Disposal of Pets or Aquarium Items Very Important to Protect Michigan's Waters

02MAY17-Each year the Michigan Department of Natural Resources receives numerous reports of unique species showing up in water bodies throughout the state. While oftentimes these reports consist of a single animal being found, occasionally they point to large populations of non-native species where you wouldn’t expect to find them.Screenshot of

How these species got into the water can be a mystery, but there is one method that's often the culprit and it’s 100-percent preventable.
Pet and aquarium owners often face the dilemma where they no longer want to keep their various organisms, so they sometimes opt to release them into the wild.
“Pet release is almost never humane. Pets released from confined, artificial environments are poorly equipped to fend off predators and may be unable to successfully forage for food or find shelter,” said Nick Popoff, manager of the DNR’s Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs Unit. “Those that do succeed in the wild can spread and have the potential to spread exotic diseases to native animals. In the worst-case scenario, released animals can thrive and reproduce, upsetting natural ecosystems to the degree these former pets become invasive species.”

An invasive species is defined as one that is not native and whose introduction can cause harm or is likely to cause harm to the environment, the economy or human health.
Additionally, dumping fish or other aquatic animals into public water bodies is illegal, as doing so requires a permit from the state of Michigan. This includes the release of aquarium fish like goldfish or pacus, or farm-raised fish from private ponds.
There is a statewide campaign in Michigan that works to educate owners about proper maintenance and disposal of their pets or aquarium species. The campaign, Reduce Invasive Pet and PLant Escapes (RIPPLE), strives to provide solutions opposite of dumping them in a local river, lake or stream.
“If your fish or other species has outgrown its tank or has begun to feed on your other fish, you should consider donating or trading it with another hobbyist, an environmental learning center, an aquarium or a zoo,” said Jo Latimore with Michigan State University Extension and RIPPLE.
Additionally, you can often check with the store where you purchased the fish or species to see if they will take it back.
“We are committed to assisting hobbyists through the lifetime journey with their pet,” Rick Preuss, owner of Preuss Pets in Lansing. “If unexpected changes lead to a need to re-home fish, we are here to help.”
Another option is to talk with a veterinarian or pet retailer about humane methods to dispose of any species.

For more information on the RIPPLE campaign, visit – or check out RIPPLE's new video at

If you catch an unusual fish or other aquatic species, keep it and preserve it on ice. If that is not possible, then take photos of the fish. Do not return it to the water. Contact Seth Herbst, DNR aquatic invasive species biologist, at 517-284-5841 or for assistance in identification. 


DNR Re-opens Roads at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Park staff continues to assess damage along trails; no damage found to cabins

02MAY17-Roads have been reopened at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the western Upper Peninsula after an ice and snow storm felled hundreds of trees at Michigan’s largest state park late last week.
“We had crews out over the weekend cleaning up and assessing the damage,” said Jeff Gaertner, park supervisor. “All roads are open and passable, but park motorists should expect some wood and debris on park roads.”Red circles on a map depict the areas of greatest storm damage at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

Road 107 to Lake of the Clouds and the road to Summit Peak were closed late Thursday, April 27 as trees weighted down and weakened by a thick coating of ice and snow continued to fall, hampering the efforts of clean-up crews.
The road to Lake of the Clouds reopened Sunday and the road to Summit Peak Road was opened today.
“We have not been on all the trails yet, but so far it looks like the majority of the damage begins around 1,000 feet elevation and continues higher,” said Bob Wild, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources interpreter at the park. “The lower elevations, like those near Lake Superior, did not get as much ice.”
Of the trails inspected so far, the Government Peak Trail in the park’s midsection, the Overlook Trail east of Lake of the Clouds and the Cloud Peak Trail have been impacted most heavily.

Some of the trees twisted and felled at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State “In one section of the Government Peak Trail, there are over 300 trees down and across the trail within a 4-mile stretch,” Wild said. “There is also damage to some foot bridges and many sections of boardwalk.”
Over April 26-27, higher elevations at the park received up to an inch of ice, which was then covered, by 2-4 inches of snowfall.
“Park visitors are urged to continue to use caution and watch for the potential of falling branches or trees weakened by the recent storm,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer.
Last summer, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness Park was struck by two consecutive storms — the first in the west, the second in the east — that felled numerous trees onto trails, flooded creeks and streams, which undermined riverbanks and toppled more trees. One cabin had to be relocated and several campsites and cabins were temporarily closed.

For more information on Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park visit


DTE Energy Foundation, DNR and ReLeaf Michigan Partner

01MAY17-The DTE Energy Foundation and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources are partnering to fund tree-planting projects across Michigan. New this year, ReLeaf Michigan, a statewide nonprofit tree-planting organization, also is joining the effort. A total of $70,000 is available in matching grants of up to $3,000 each, to be awarded on a competitive basis. The 2017 DTE Tree Planting grant application period opens today, April 28, in honor of Arbor Day.
This marks the 21st year of the DTE Energy Foundation partnership with the DNR, which has resulted in the planting of nearly 40,000 trees and seedlings in over 500 communities. The program, paid for by the foundation, is administered by the DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry program. With the addition this year of ReLeaf Michigan, this collaborative partnership will help increase opportunities for community involvement and outreach.
“Arbor Day is an opportunity to celebrate our longstanding commitment to taking care of the environment and the many ways that we help enhance and protect Michigan’s natural beauty,” said Faye Nelson, vice president at DTE Energy and board chair and president of the DTE Energy Foundation. “This partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and ReLeaf Michigan is an environmental investment in local communities.”
Local units of government, nonprofit organizations, tribes and schools within
DTE Energy’s service territory are encouraged to apply. Tree-planting projects must occur on public property such as parks, street rights-of-way and school grounds. All grants require a 1-to-1 match, which can be made up of cash contributions or in-kind services, but may not include federal funds.
Grant applications must be sent to the address below and postmarked by Friday, June 9, 2017. Awards will be announced in August for projects that must be completed by May 31, 2018.

For more information or to get a grant application, visit the DNR’s Urban Community Forestry website or contact Kevin Sayers at 517-284-5898, via email at or by mail at P.O. Box 30452 Lansing, MI 48909.


DNR Offers ‘Wildlife Through Forestry’ Forum in Baraga County

Preliminary results of region’s predator-prey study to be detailed

Wildlife researchers hold a bear cub during a black bear den check this past winter in Ontonagon County during the Upper Peninsula predator-prey study01MAY17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will offer its latest “Wildlife Through Forestry” forum, which will showcase preliminary results from the DNR’s ongoing Upper Peninsula predator-prey study, May 8 at the Ottawa Sportsmen’s Club in Baraga County.
“This is the third forum in our highly-successful series, which began earlier this year, in the western Upper Peninsula” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “These sessions link wildlife topics to the numerous ways habitat may be developed and enhanced for a range of species on private lands.”
The forum will be from 7-9 p.m. EDT, May 8 at the Ottawa Sportsmen’s Club conference room/banquette hall, located along M-38, approximately 7 miles west of Baraga. The club is sponsoring the session.
With funding from a Natural Resources Conservation Service grant, the DNR has been offering “Wildlife Through Forestry” forums over the past few months.
Each of these forums has included a presentation on an interesting and important wildlife-related topic, with additional information provided to private landowners on the value of a resource management plan.
long-term predator-prey study is currently ongoing in Ontonagon and Houghton counties, in the high snowfall zone of the U.P. Previous work has been done in low and medium snowfall areas of the region.

This research has been a collaborative effort between the DNR, Mississippi State University and Safari Club International. The project aims to provide a better understanding of the major factors affecting white-tailed deer survival.
Factors potentially affecting deer include habitat conditions, winter weather and predation. Understanding the role and interaction of these factors will aid management of the deer herd.
Two members of the research team, Nick Fowler and Todd Kautz, both doctoral candidates at Mississippi State, will describe the study and review some of its preliminary findings.
“This forum is a great opportunity for the public to find out more about what biologists are learning,” Pepin said.
A panel of resource professionals will be on hand to discuss the development, preparation and implementation of resource management plans.
The DNR “Wildlife Through Forestry” steering committee planned specific goals in holding these forums in the western U.P.
“We want to get folks fired up about sound resource management so that they establish a family legacy with their forest ownership,” Willis said. “We want to show folks the importance of working closely with a resource professional to accomplish their goals and objectives for ownership. We also want folks to have a good time getting together to discuss topics of interest to us all.”
A previous forum on the predator-prey study was held in Ontonagon and a session on black bears was offered earlier this month in Houghton County. Additional forums, to be held this summer, are currently being planned.
More than 150 professional foresters and 20 wildlife biologists develop Forest Stewardship Plans for forest landowners in Michigan. For information about these plans or the Commercial Forest Program, contact Gary Willis, DNR Service Forester, 427 U.S. 41 North, Baraga, Michigan, 49908; 906-353-6651, ext. 122 or
The Iron-Baraga Conservation District has a forester on staff available for a free site visit to private landowner properties. Roger Jaworski can discuss landowner wildlife habitat and forestry goals and help decide if there are financial assistance programs that can provide cost sharing for resource management plan preparation and implementation. Contact Jaworski at 906-875-3765 or

For additional information on the Predator-Prey research project, visit the project’s webpage at:


Storm Damage Closes Roads at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Western U.P.

A bridge damaged by fallen trees at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is shown.01MAY17-Wintry weather over the past two days has felled trees, blocking trail and road access to some popular visitor attractions at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the western Upper Peninsula.
“Over the past two days, the higher elevations in the park have received up to an inch of ice, covered by 2-4 inches of snow,” said Bob Wild, a Michigan Department of Natural Resources interpreter at the park. “The trees are thickly coated and this much ice really adds a lot of weight and stress to the trees, causing many to topple.”
Late Thursday, park staff closed the roads to Lake of the Clouds and Summit Peak because of downed and falling trees. These sections of the park, in the northeast and north of the South Boundary Road were the most heavily impacted.
“Our crews have been out clearing downed trees, but the wind continues to blow more down,” Wild said. “
Highway 107, which leads to Lake of the Clouds and the road to Summit Peak remain closed. The South Boundary Road is open.
“We will have a crew working over the weekend to clear roadways and begin evaluating the trails, bridges, and other structures throughout the park,” said Jeff Gaertner, park supervisor. “More crews will be out early next week to evaluate the condition of the trails at the park.”

DNR officials were urging park visitors to remain aware of the possibility of falling branches or trees. Visitors are also reminded to observe the park road closures.

For more information on Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park visit


Michigan Army National Guard Personnel, "Porkies" Friends Group Leader Recognized for Community Service Efforts in Upper Peninsula

The playground at Van Riper State Park begins to take shape in Marquette County.28APR17-Michigan Army National Guard members from the 107th Engineer Battalion in Ishpeming and Sally Berman, current president of the Friends of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, were Upper Peninsula recipients honored in East Lansing recently with Michigan Recreation and Park Association (mParks) Community Service Awards for their volunteer efforts.
Guard members were honored for their work to help build a new playground at Van Riper State Park, while Berman was lauded for her work with the Friends group at the Porcupine Mountains.
More than 30 Army National Guard battalion members worked on the park playground project, with others, over the course of a few days in June 2016. They erected a Sinclair Recreation (GameTime) playground at the park, along the shoreline of Lake Michigamme.

Volunteers work on the playground project at Van Riper State Park in Marquette County.“This group of young men and women took time out of their busy lives to help us with this important project,” said Doug Barry, park supervisor at Van Riper. “They did a fantastic job. This could be the nicest playground in the Upper Peninsula.”
Barry nominated the National Guard members for the award, which is presented annually. The awards ceremony took place April 19 at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing.
“We are proud to honor the volunteers and agencies that make a difference throughout the state of Michigan,” said Kyle Langlois, mParks professional recognition chairman for the association, which is headquartered in Lansing.
mParks' Community Service Awards recognize individuals and groups who show outstanding support to public recreation and park programs in their community, including friends’ groups, department volunteers and advocates.

Sally Berman, current president of the Friends of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.The playground project, valued at roughly $220,000, was spearheaded by The Friends of Van Riper and Craig Lake State Parks.
Funding for the playground was varied and included a $90,000 grant from the Cliffs-Lundin community foundation and some Michigan Department of Natural Resources Friends Partnership matching grant funding. The Friends group and DNR staff also contributed labor.
Barry said it isn’t easy necessarily to construct a quarter-million-dollar playground with a group of volunteers.
“This was not the case with the National Guard — this is a group of skilled, honorable young adults,” Barry said. “So skilled, in fact, that organizers had trouble keeping up with them — a nice problem to have.”
Roughly 60 volunteers, more than half of them members of the National Guard unit, worked on the project. When it was finished, the Guard members brought their families out to see what they’d help build.
“Every one of the Guard smiled with joy and pride as they watched the children play,” Barry said.
National Guard members used annual leave to volunteer to work on the project. Work continued through rainy and windy conditions.

View a complete list of Michigan National Guard personnel from the 107th Engineer Battalion who participated in the playground construction project.
Berman assumed her leadership role with the "Porkies" Friends group in August 2016.
She is very dedicated to the mission of the group which is: “To promote, support, and enhance the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, inspiring appreciation of wilderness for current and future generations.”
“Sally is very passionate about the park and the ‘Friends of the Porkies,’” said Jeff Gaertner, supervisor of the park. “She is the one who has, as of late, been able to get the Friends group to focus on the needs of the park and how they can assist us with achieving our mission, as well as their mission.”
Gaertner said Berman is very giving of her time which she donates to many causes throughout the Ontonagon County area.
“Sally is routinely called upon by the Friends group to represent them at local and regional events, award presentations and meetings,” Gaertner said. “She is a leader in the entire statewide Friends groups system and an asset for us all.”

Additional honorees from the Lower Peninsula, nominated by DNR officials, were also honored at the recent awards ceremony.


Annual Reports for 7 Wetland Wonders Now Available on DNR Website

26APR17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that annual reports for each of Michigan’s seven Wetland Wonders now are available on the DNR’s website at (under the Waterfowl Counts tab). 
The reports detail the 2016-2017 hunting season results, habitat management activities and weekly waterfowl counts at each of Michigan’s Wetland Wonders, along with other information. 

Michigan's Wetland Wonders, the seven premier managed waterfowl hunt areas in the state, include:

bullet Fennville Farm Unit at the Allegan State Game Area (Allegan County)
Fennville Farm annual report
bullet Fish Point State Wildlife Area (Tuscola County)
Fish Point annual report
bullet St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island (St. Clair County)
St. Clair Flats annual report
bullet Muskegon County Wastewater Facility (Muskegon County)
Muskegon County Wastewater annual report
bullet Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (Bay County)
Nayanquing Point annual report
bullet Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (Monroe and Wayne counties)
Pointe Mouillee annual report
bullet Shiawassee River State Game Area (Saginaw County)
Shiawassee River annual report

These areas, scattered across the southern Lower Peninsula, were created in the 1960s to provide exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities, and are still managed today to provide waterfowl habitat for nesting and migration and for the benefit of other wetland-dependent wildlife. Since the beginning, these areas have been funded by hunting license fees, but they are open for anyone to visit, use and enjoy most of the year.


Michigan NRC & DNR - Create Panel on Chronic Wasting Disease

26APR17-Recognizing the challenge posed by the presence of chronic wasting disease in Michigan’s white-tailed deer population, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission recently adopted a resolution to engage the scientific community to identify practices that will address the threat of CWD. The resolution was approved at the commission’s April meeting in Lansing.
The purpose of the resolution is to have scientists and experts “advise the NRC, the DNR or other applicable agencies on further steps and actions which could be implemented to substantially mitigate or eliminate CWD in Michigan.”
Chronic wasting disease – first discovered two years ago in free-ranging deer in Michigan – is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose. It causes a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brain of an infected animal, resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and, ultimately, the animal’s death. There is no known connection between CWD and human health.

“The Natural Resources Commission and the Michigan DNR have a long history of working cooperatively to ensure the health and longevity of the state’s wildlife and fisheries resources,” said NRC Chair John Matonich. “Chronic wasting disease is perhaps the biggest challenge facing Michigan’s white-tailed deer herd, and we are committed to fighting it head on, with the best available science.”
Scientists are to be selected by the NRC chair and the directors of the state departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development. Chair and/or co-chairs will be selected by the NRC chair and the DNR director.
The group is charged with delivering recommendations by Dec. 31, 2017. After recommendations are received, the NRC and DNR will develop a public process by which to share and receive input on those recommendations.
“Michigan’s white-tailed deer are a critical part of the state’s hunting culture and tradition, as well as the state and local economies supported by those who annually take part in the tradition,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “Since the first CWD finding in Michigan, the DNR has taken aggressive steps to contain and address this threat to our deer population. We look forward to working with this group to continue that effort.”

Learn more about chronic wasting disease at the DNR website


Concession Opportunities Available in Michigan State Parks

25APR17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced opportunities for operating concessions to provide goods and/or services in Michigan state parks.
Those interested may visit the state of Michigan’s website for a list of current opportunities. Click on Open Bids, then choose Miscellaneous Commodities and Services from the Show Bids for Category drop-down menu.

Concessionaires should have prior business experience and adequate working capital to fund the concession.
"Concessionaires are vital to ensuring that a wide variety of goods and services are available to our customers," said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "We view our concessionaires as partnerships and appreciate the value they add to outdoor recreational experiences in our state parks and harbors."

The DNR currently is seeking operators for the following locations:

Burt Lake State Park store.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park lighthouse tour and lighthouse store.

Grayhaven State Harbor watercraft rentals.

Otsego Lake State Park mooring post rentals.

The DNR will make arrangements to visit the concession site with interested bidders. Bid lettings are set for each of these concessions and continue to be set for opportunities that become available. Concessionaires have the ability to enter into a contract for up to seven years.
Interested vendors are encouraged to periodically check the website for updated opportunities. Registering as a vendor isn’t required; however, registrants can sign up to receive automatic notification of new concession bids.

For more information, contact Lori Ruff at 989-275-5151, ext. 2006 or


DNR Unveils 2017 Turkey Cooperator Patch

2017 Wild Turkey Management Cooperator patch24APR17-With spring turkey season under way, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages hunters to purchase a wild turkey cooperator patch.
The 2017 turkey patch, designed by Sylvia Smith of Lake Orion High School, now is available for purchase. Each year, Michigan students in grades K-12 are given the opportunity to submit designs for the DNR’s annual wild turkey management cooperator patch. The Michigan chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, in partnership with DNR, coordinates the wild turkey patch program.
“We feel privileged to be able to partner with the Michigan DNR on this project,” said Art Pelon, president of the Michigan chapter of the National Turkey Federation.
The patch design award was presented to Smith at the Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing April 13th.
Proceeds from patch sales are used to fund wild turkey-related projects and management in Michigan.
Young hunters, 17 years old and younger, who have a valid wild turkey hunting license may receive a free patch. To receive a patch, please send name and complete address, along with a legible copy of the youth’s valid wild turkey hunting license, to National Wild Turkey Federation, Wild Turkey Patch Program, P.O. Box 8, Orleans, MI, 48865. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery. If you have questions, please e-mail

Adult hunters, collectors and other interested individuals may purchase the patch for $5, including postage and handling. Only the current-year patch is available for purchase. You do not have to harvest a turkey to purchase a patch. Send orders to the address above and make check or money order payable to the National Wild Turkey Federation.
The DNR also reminds hunters that spring turkey season started Monday, April 17, and runs through May 31, with several different hunt periods to choose from. Information about spring turkey hunting can be found at
A base license is required for every resident and nonresident who hunts in Michigan. Hunters may purchase a spring turkey license only after they have obtained a base license for the year. The base license is also a small game license.


Spring Birding Events in Michigan & State Trails 

scarlet tanager11APR17-Michigan is home to a variety of important bird habitats and an exciting array of public birding events and birding trails. Now is the time to start making plans to get out and enjoy the spectacular diversity of birds in Michigan. 
“Michigan has so many great opportunities for birders and wildlife watchers, with more events popping up all the time,” said Holly Vaughn, Department of Natural Resources wildlife communications coordinator. “There is no better place to begin birding than Michigan, and there are opportunities to observe birds anywhere you may be in the state.”
In addition to the many festivals listed below, Michigan is home to a growing number of birding trails, with six already existing and more planned.
Michigan’s birding trails are open to the public and provide great opportunities for family recreation.  

Spring birding events in Michigan include:


bullet Keweenaw Migratory Bird Festival in Copper Harbor, May 20th
bullet Tawas Point Birding Festival in East Tawas, May 18th - 20th
bullet Warblers on the Water on Beaver Island, May 27th - 28th
bullet Kirtland's Warbler Tours at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling,
May 14 through July 4th
bullet Brockway Mountain Hawk Watch in Copper Harbor, now through June 15th


bullet Kirtland's Warbler Festival in Roscommon, June 2nd - 3rd
bullet Cerulean Warbler Weekend in Hastings, June 10th - 11th
bullet Keweenaw Migratory Bird Festival in Copper Harbor, June 3rd, 10th and 11th

common yellowthroat“These birding events contribute significantly to the local economies, and attract attention to the value of local birds and habitats,” said Caleb Putnam, Michigan bird conservation coordinator for Audubon Great Lakes and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “As birders from across the country converge on Michigan’s diverse habitats, the energy continues to grow for conservation in Michigan.”
Birding is a great way to enjoy the diversity of Michigan’s wildlife and their habitats and to build a true appreciation for the uniqueness of the state’s natural resources. Birding events and trails are made possible through the efforts of Audubon chapters, government agencies, land conservancies, private industries and many dedicated individuals working together to create opportunities for people to experience the outdoors and visit local communities.

Common yellowthroats and scarlet tanagers are among the many bird species that can be found on Michigan’s birding trails and that will be celebrated with birding events around the state this spring.


DNR - MI Free ORV Weekends June 10th - 11th & August 19th - 20th

ORV riding trail23MAR17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources invites residents and out-of-state visitors to ride DNR-designated routes and trails during two Free ORV Weekends, taking place June 10-11 and Aug. 19-20. Off-road enthusiasts will not need to possess an ORV license or trail permit on these dates, saving riders up to $36.25.
This opportunity is a great way for ORV enthusiasts to explore Michigan's vast system of 3,660 miles of trails and consider purchasing an ORV license or trail permit for the season. Throughout the year, fees generated through ORV licenses and trail permits are reinvested back into the ORV system.
These important dollars help fund trail expansion, maintenance and infrastructure improvements, such as bridge and culvert construction and repair, as well as law enforcement and the offsetting of damage created by illegal use.

"We hope ORV enthusiasts will enjoy their off-road experience during Free ORV Weekend and purchase an ORV license and trail permit for the season," said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "It's the perfect opportunity to explore the trails that help build Michigan's reputation as the 'Trails State.'"
In addition, the first Free ORV Weekend also lines up with the Summer Free Fishing Weekend June 10-11, when all fishing license fees will be waived. Residents and out-of-state visitors can enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes' waters for all species of fish. All fishing regulations still apply.
Free ORV Weekend not only offers access to 3,660 miles of off-road trails, but also includes use of the state’s five scramble areas, including St. Helen’s Motorsport Area, Black Lake Scramble Area, Silver Lake State Park, Bull Gap and The Mounds.

During Free ORV Weekends, all ORV rules and laws still apply. Riders should remember that:

>Operators under age 16 must have a valid safety training certificate. Michigan will accept ORV/ATV education certifications that are issued by other states and provinces.

>Operators and passengers must wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-approved crash helmet and protective eyewear.

>Riders are encouraged to become familiar with the ORV Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws, available online, at DNR Customer Service Centers or anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold.

For more information, contact Jessica Holley at 517-331-3790 or Rob Katona at 906-228-6561.

Learn more about ORV trails, maps, permits and other details at


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


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