Reminder: No license or Permit Purchases
just a few days, the DNR will begin the changeover to a new system for
selling hunting and fishing licenses, hunting applications, and ORV and
snowmobile permits online and at retail agent locations statewide. The
changeover starts Saturday, February 15th,
and the new system will go live at noon Tuesday,
During the changeover, all licenses, permits and applications will be
unavailable for sale – both online and in retail stores. If you’ve been
planning to pick up a license or permit for the coming weekend, don’t
wait. Please plan ahead, or plan to wait until after noon Feb. 18.
dealers across the state will be selling preprinted ORV licenses and ORV
and snowmobile trail permits while the system is down.)
If you would like to learn more, we recently shared a
news release with details about the transition to the new license sales
system. We appreciate your patience as we work to improve our
customers’ experience. Thank you!
#MiFreeFishingWeekend is Back, February 15th
invited to join in the DNR’s annual Winter Free Fishing Weekend, Saturday
and Sunday, Feb. 15 and 16. No fishing license is needed, although all
other fishing regulations still apply.
The weekend coincides with the DNR’s move to a new license sales
system. Due to the changeover, which will run
Saturday, February 15th, through noon,
Tuesday, Feb. 18th, no hunting or fishing licenses can be purchased
online or in stores during that time.
Over the last few years, the DNR has made it even easier to fish on
Free Fishing weekends by waiving the need for the Recreation Passport,
normally required for vehicle entry at state parks, more than 1,300
DNR-managed boating access sites and other state-managed outdoor
recreation destinations. Because of the license sales system changeover
and the desire to make things simpler for customers, the department is
waiving the need for a Recreation Passport or a fishing license on
Monday, February 17th, too – two more reasons
to get outdoors during the holiday weekend!
#MiFreeFishingWeekend is an annual effort to promote Michigan’s
world-class fishing. While many will bundle up and head out on their own,
there are several organized events happening throughout the state,
Michigan.gov/FreeFishing for more events around the state, as well
as other details about the weekend. Remember, all events are subject to
Suzanne Stone at 517-284-6162.
Keep Michigan's Waters Great – Don't Dump
Winter Free Fishing Weekend (February 15th - 16th) expected to lure
more people onto the water, it’s a good time to remind anglers about the
legal ways to handle bait that protect our world-class fisheries. Last
March, new boating and fishing laws regarding the release of baitfish, the
collection and use of baitfish and cut bait, and the release of captured
fish took effect.
Simply put, the law says that unused baitfish, whether purchased or
collected, must be disposed of on land or in the trash – never in the
water. If anglers collect baitfish from the waters where they’re fishing,
it can be used only in those same waters.
Similarly, Seth Herbst, the DNR’s aquatic species and regulatory
affairs manager, said that anyone catching and releasing fish is required
to release those fish back into the same waters where they were caught.
“The department wants to be clear that, even with the new law, people
are still allowed to catch and release fish during the appropriate seasons
– they’re just encouraged to use extra care to ensure no invasive species
or pathogens are spread,” Herbst said.
Moving fish from one body of water to another increases the risk of
spreading invasive species and fish health concerns, like heterosporis (a
parasite of yellow perch) and viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (a
serious disease that can harm many fish species). These can easily spread
to new locations when water is carelessly transferred via a boat’s
undrained bilge, live well or ballast tank, and when unused bait is
disposed of improperly.
No matter when or where you fish, always remember to dispose of unused
bait in the trash and return catch-and-release fish to the waters where
they were caught. These simple steps can make a huge difference in the
health of Michigan’s rivers, lakes and streams and the fish that live in
For more information, visit the
Laws section of the
Michigan.gov/Invasives website or contact
Seth Herbst at 517-284-5841
Learn advanced ice fishing techniques with
Outdoor Skills Academy
07FEB20-If you’d like to step up your ice fishing game with pointers
from the pros, we can help.
The DNR Outdoor Skills Academy will offer the
Advanced Hard Water School ice fishing clinic at Mitchell State
Park in Cadillac February 21st - 23rd. This three-day class will cover
specific topics – each student will pick a topic of interest and will be
assigned a pro fisherman from Team USA, HT Enterprises, Clam Outdoors,
Vexilar or Ice Force – and will include time out on the ice and in the
classroom. Cost is $75, which includes some meals, bait and door
Sign up now for Outdoor Skills Academy classes coming up in March,
Hard Water School (ice fishing class) at Mitchell State Park in
Cadillac, March 7-8. This two-day class covers everything from how to
set up equipment and how and where to fish to ice safety and rules and
regulations, with a focus on techniques for pan fish, walleye and pike.
Cost is $25.
Bluebird and Nest Box Basics at Hoffmaster State Park in
Muskegon, March 14. Learn how to attract bluebirds to your open spaces
with carefully maintained nest boxes. We will cover tips and tricks to
discourage predators and parasites, the pros and cons of different
nesting box designs and how to mount them, where to locate boxes for
success and how to monitor your boxes. Cost is $40 and includes lunch, a
nest box kit, a book and other materials.
The Outdoor Skills Academy offers in-depth, expert instruction, gear
and hands-on learning for a range of outdoor activities at locations
around the state.
See a full calendar of classes at
Experience #MiFreeFishingWeekend February
15th - 16th
a fishing rod and enjoy some of the finest fishing Michigan has to offer
during the 2020 Winter Free Fishing Weekend. This year’s weekend will be
Saturday, Feb. 15 and Sunday, Feb. 16. On those two days, everyone –
residents and nonresidents alike – can fish without a license. All other
fishing regulations still apply.
Additionally, that weekend the DNR will waive the regular Recreation
Passport entry fee that grants vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state
parks and more than 1,300 DNR-managed boating access sites.
Several locations will host official 2020 Winter Free Fishing Weekend
events perfect for the whole family, including:
In addition, no fishing license is required and the Recreation Passport
fee will be waived Monday, February 17th, to coincide with the DNR's
changeover to a new license sales system.
Find more information about Free Fishing Weekend at
2020 Black Lake
Sturgeon Season Lasts One Day
year’s sturgeon season on Black Lake (Cheboygan County, Michigan) ended at
1:40 p.m. Saturday, February 1st – not quite six hours after the day’s 8
The fishing season, which included spearing or hook-and-line fishing,
was scheduled to run Feb. 1-5, or until the harvest quota had been
reached. This year's allocation of sturgeon for Black Lake anglers was
seven fish, although Department of Natural Resources officials set a
harvest quota of six fish to reduce the risk of over-fishing.
There were 472 registered anglers on the ice Saturday, the highest
total since the inception of the open sturgeon fishery. People of all ages
again participated, and from a number of states.
According to the DNR, three of the six sturgeon harvested were males
ranging from 44 to 60 inches in length, and 16 to 51 pounds in weight. The
three females ranged from 47 to 75 inches long, and 19 to 100 pounds in
DNR fisheries biologist Tim Cwalinski said that three of the six fish
had been captured before by Michigan State University and the DNR during
spring spawning runs in the Black River:
A 60-inch male originally was captured in the 2011 spring spawning
run, and then recaptured in 2013, 2015 and 2019.
A 65-inch male had been captured and tagged during the 2007, 2015 and
2019 spawning runs.
The largest fish, a 75-inch female weighing 100 pounds, had been
captured and tagged during the 2004 and 2008 spawning runs.
Participating anglers were notified of the season’s end in a variety of
ways: text alerts to those who provided cell phone numbers, a fishing
telephone hotline, UAW Black Lake Conference Center siren, and ice shanty
visits from DNR personnel. All methods were used within minutes of the
final fish being harvested. DNR fisheries and law enforcement officials
were embedded in the on-ice fishing communities and were able to quickly
report harvested fish and contact all participating anglers about the
“We allow for any licensed angler to participate – as long as they
register – so we need to have a significant on-ice presence to protect the
population of lake sturgeon in Black Lake from over-harvest,” said
Cwalinski. “This year was another successful season for angler
participation, fish harvest and quick response times, as well as from a
For more information on lake sturgeon in Michigan, visit
DNR to Launch New License Sales System February 18th
System down starting February 15th; customers
encouraged to buy licenses and permits early
Michigan Department of Natural Resources will move to a new, more
technologically advanced system for selling hunting and fishing licenses,
hunting applications, and ORV and snowmobile permits online and at retail
agent locations statewide. The new system will go live at noon
The transition to the new license sales system will take place
Saturday, February 15th, through noon
Tuesday, February 18th. DNR licenses, permits
and applications will not be sold in stores or online during that time.
To avoid any interruption to outdoor activities that weekend, customers
are encouraged to buy licenses or permits before
February 15th, if possible.
Anglers will not need a license to fish February
15th - 17th. No fishing license is required during the annual
Free Fishing Weekend, February 15th and 16th,
and the DNR also is allowing free fishing on Monday,
February 17th, to coincide with the time the license system is
unavailable. All rules and regulations still apply.
Snow mobile riders and off-road vehicle riders can find a list of select
dealers selling preprinted ORV licenses and ORV and snowmobile trail
permits while the system is down at
Moving to the new system, which will replace a 26-year-old system under a
vendor contract ending in April, allowed the DNR to upgrade its license
sales technology, enhance features for customers and provide new equipment
to license retailers.
“We’re always looking to improve our customers’ experience, and we
designed this new system to improve the license-buying experience both
online and in stores,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “We spent more
than two years planning and developing a modern license sales system that
offers up-to-date, convenient and cost-effective services for our
customers and retail partners.”
Features of the new license sales system include:
A barcode scanner wand at retailer locations, which will allow
license agents to speed up the sales process by quickly scanning
customer driver’s licenses – including nonresidents – rather than typing
in customer information.
A more streamlined buying and selling process both online and in
stores – for example, customers will only have the option to buy
licenses for which they are eligible, meaning they shouldn’t be able to
accidentally buy the wrong license and pay the wrong amount.
The opportunity for online customers to create a profile, access
their order history, reprint previously purchased, non-kill tag items
and set up voluntary auto-renewal of fishing licenses.
Purchases consolidated on the printed license, which means fewer
licenses for customers to carry and potentially lose.
A QR code on the license to encrypt the customer identification
number for increased security.
The DNR license sales system serves about 2 million customers a year,
online and through 1,500 retail agent locations throughout Michigan,
issuing nearly 4 million licenses and permits and processing roughly $77
million in revenue.
Through a competitive bid process, Sovereign Sportsman Solutions of
Nashville, Tennessee – subcontracting with Dewpoint, a Michigan-based
internet technology solutions company – was selected to develop the new
system. An industry leader serving customers in the U.S. and Canada, S3
demonstrated an established, proven product that could be tailored to
Michigan’s specific needs and brought the benefit of learning from other
License customers and retail agents provided input that helped shape the
new system’s features and participated in system testing to provide
feedback on its functionality and ease of use.
Find both the current and future DNR online license sales system at
Learn more about the new system and what customers can expect.
Apply to Volunteer as a State Harbor Host
this year, we're looking for volunteers to serve as harbor hosts as part
of a pilot project at Straits and Presque Isle state harbors this summer.
In exchange, harbor slip fees are waived. There may be additional host
opportunities available in the coming years.
Harbor host duties vary based on location, but center around
hospitality and service for boaters and could include duties like helping
boaters in and out of slips, hosting a weekly coffee hour and cleaning
sidewalks and docks of debris.
Applications are being accepted now. To serve as a harbor host, you
must be 18 or older and provide your own boat, mooring lines, hoses,
electrical hookup cables and dock bumpers and be able to volunteer at
least five days a week for a minimum of four weeks, including weekends and
Learn more about volunteering as a harbor host.
Pitch in to Improve Wildlife Habitat at
the Ground – Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ volunteer wildlife
habitat improvement program in partnership with the DNR – is looking for
volunteers to help with projects at two state game areas in February:
Saturday, Feb. 22nd, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at
Maple River State Game Area (Gratiot County)
Help clear dikes of woody brush and perform maintenance on wood duck
nest boxes to prepare for the upcoming nesting season. MUCC will provide
lunch, refreshments and T-shirts to all volunteers.
Maple River State Game Area event details and registration.
Saturday, Feb. 29th, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at
Shiawassee River State Game Area (Saginaw County)
Help place wood duck nest boxes and clean out old ones to prepare the
boxes for the upcoming nesting season. MUCC will provide lunch,
refreshments, and T-shirts to all volunteers.
Shiawassee River State Game Area event details and registration.
Learn more about On the Ground and see other upcoming volunteer
Help Restore Natural Areas, Fight Invasive
Species at State Parks
03FEB20-State parks in southern Michigan will host a number of
volunteer stewardship workdays in February.
Volunteers are needed to help with removing invasive shrubs that
threaten to crowd out native plants and with other efforts to restore
high-quality ecosystems and improve habitat in the parks.
Workdays will take place:
Saturday, Feb. 15th, 9 a.m. to noon at
Belle Isle Park (Wayne County)
Saturday, Feb. 15th, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at
Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County)
Sunday, Feb. 16th, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at
Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County)
Sunday, Feb. 16th, 1 to 4 p.m. at Warren
Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
Saturday, Feb. 22nd, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
at Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County)
Sunday, Feb. 23rd, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at
Algonac State Park (St. Clair County)
Sunday, Feb. 23rd, 1 to 4 p.m. at Warren
Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
Saturday, Feb. 29th, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
More details about each workday can be found on the
DNR volunteer events calendar.
Reflecting on the Michigan State Parks' Centennial Year
By RON OLSON - Michigan Department of Natural Resources
was the first time you fell in love with Michigan’s out-of-doors?
Most people – whether longtime residents or those here just for a visit –
have had that moment when a picture-perfect blue sky, a sweeping shoreline
vista, the silence of an old-growth forest or the sound of rushing water
has taken their breath away.
This past year we celebrated these wondrous features of our state, and the
people who gather amid them, during our state parks centennial.
Michigan state parks, forests, trails and waterways are at the core of the
spirit of this Great Lakes state, and we are working hard to ensure that
they endure for another century.
On May 12, 1919, the Michigan Legislature created the state parks system
with the establishment of the Michigan State Parks Commission. This
legislative act not only moved forward a vision to acquire lands to create
quality public outdoor spaces but helped shape an important aspect of
Our state parks fused together the public’s desire for recreation,
relaxation and rejuvenation with opportunities to make lasting memories –
enjoying experiences outdoors with Michigan’s spectacular scenic beauty as
drive through Holly Recreation Area or Sleepy Hollow State Park evokes
memories of Sunday afternoons and gingham picnic blankets. A hike along
the path to the brink of the Tahquamenon Falls or a weekend spent on the
soft sands in front of Ludington State Park’s historic beach house may
recall memories of special times spent with family and friends.
It’s for this reason that the Michigan state parks centennial celebration
centered around the personal memories and shared experiences that connect
so many of us.
As the year closed, we had an opportunity to step back and ask what it
will take to ensure our state parks are sustainable and protected for
decades to come.
We thought a lot about why we do what we do.
After combing through many of the snapshots and stories submitted by
the public to our online memory map, hearing anecdotes shared at campfire
storytelling events and seeing the artwork created by plein air painters –
all the result of 2019’s centennial celebration programming – it’s easier
to peel back the layers to see the heart of what we do and why.
Our natural resources stewardship work, stellar recreation facilities and
resource conservation efforts are indeed pillars of Michigan’s state parks
system, but our backbone is our 28 million annual visitors.
Throughout the yearlong centennial celebration, we were increasingly made
aware that state parks play an integral role in Michigan culture. These
unique outdoor spaces have become memory-making destinations for so many
Another idea we have considered is how to become even more relevant to
current and future generations of state park users.
we strive to sustain world-class outdoor recreation opportunities, protect
and preserve our natural and cultural resources and maintain an engaging
culture within our DNR staff, how do we move the needle toward greater
connection and relevancy?
In many ways, attaining that accomplishment will be realized by reversing
the order of these important goals.
First, we must continue to attract and retain the best and brightest DNR
staff members who are passionate about natural and cultural resources.
In doing that, I am assured staff will continue to seek innovative ways to
protect and conserve resources, while also creating engaging ways for
people to experience and appreciate the outdoors, and by extension, our
103 Michigan state parks.
Lantern-lit hikes, dark-sky events, water parks, the Bob Ross virtual 5K,
storytelling events and Detroit’s Outdoor Adventure Center are just a few
of the ways DNR staffers have put their heads together to expand outdoor
experiences in entirely new ways.
The many interpreters, park managers, rangers and our business partners
all work hard to maintain the many traditional ways park visitors
experience the outdoors, while sometimes shifting their focus to discover
new ways to offer quality outdoor experiences.
In addition, as we continue to sustain outdoor recreation opportunities in
Michigan and maintain good stewardship practices, we’ve embraced
“sustainable contraction” – a strategic concept that identifies new
opportunities to provide improved access or recreational opportunities.
Recent campground upgrades at Wilderness State Park are a great example of
this strategy being implemented.
Based on a shift in today’s camping tendencies, we recently integrated
additional full-hook-up options for recreational vehicles at the park,
rather than building an additional new bathroom and shower facility.
This shift in infrastructure development allowed us to better serve our
customers while spending less money on renovations.
foundation laid 100 years ago by the Michigan State Parks Commission has
produced a beloved and substantial system of state parks, pathways and
Moving forward, we will continue to be guided by some of those same early
tenets adopted by the commission – sustainability, conservation and
Conservation will help ensure the existence and prosperity of these
special outdoor spaces for the next 100 years. Sustainability allows for
innovation to achieve goals appropriate for the broadest group possible.
Expansion will continue to allow the state parks system to remain nimble
and develop as needed.
From that pathway along the rushing roar of the Tahquamenon River to the
sandy beaches at Ludington, and to dozens of other special places
scattered across Michigan, it is for our park visitors of today and
tomorrow that we remain faithful stewards, conserving our natural
resources and keeping state parks favored as phenomenal memory-making
Check out previous Showcasing the DNR
stories in our archive at
Michigan.gov/DNRStories. To subscribe to upcoming Showcasing
articles, sign up for free email delivery at
Snowmobile Trails in East U.P. Reopen After
Massive Storm Cleanup
to a true team effort between the DNR and snowmobile grant sponsors, more
than 120 miles of state-designated trails in Chippewa and eastern Mackinac
counties have been cleared and are ready to welcome back snow mobile riders. A
storm that began in late December dumped ice and snow across the eastern
Upper Peninsula, snapping power poles, breaking branches and leaving many
miles of trail impassable because of the debris.
“I’ve never seen a storm like that,” said Rob Shields, a DNR forest fire
supervisor based in Sault Ste. Marie. “On top of ice, we were hit with 6
inches of wet, sloppy snow and ice on top of that. It just started
Many DNR employees joined the area’s snowmobile grant sponsors to get
the job done. Those pitching in included the Chippewa Snow Chasers, the
Sault Ste. Marie Snowmobile Association, the Drummond Island Tourist
Association, the Les Cheneaux Grooming Club, the Straits Grooming
Association, the Curtis Chamber of Commerce, the Tahquamenon Area
Snowmobile Association and the Paradise Area Night Riders. Revenue from
the purchase of snowmobile trail permits provides important grant funding
to sponsors and clubs for trail grooming.
“Without collaboration and total team effort on a cleanup like this, the
trails likely would have been closed for the majority of the season,”
Snowmobile grant sponsors play an important role in keeping snowmobile
trails safe and ready to ride. Michigan’s snowmobile program is 100%
funded by trail permit and registration dollars. That money is directly
reinvested into the program for things like the funding allotted to
snowmobile grant sponsors – the nonprofit organizations that groom and
Watch this brief video to learn more about using, funding and caring for
The DNR regularly updates
trail closures and provides links to
trail reports that provide helpful information on conditions.
Before returning to the trails in the eastern U.P. or anywhere in
Michigan, people are encouraged to visit
Michigan.gov/Snowmobiling for information on purchasing a permit,
getting trail maps and reviewing important safety tips as part of the
Ride Right program.
Doug Donnelly at 517-284-6109.
ICYMI: New App Helps Public to Help Local
a brisk October day, Trout Unlimited volunteer Parker VandenBerg and DNR
forester Mike Smalligan paddled a canoe down the White River in Newaygo
County, testing out Trout Unlimited’s new mobile application, RIVERS. The
acronym stands for “River Inventory by Volunteers for Efficient
The long name is part of a big goal – to help Trout Unlimited and local
White River Watershed Partnership managers plan restoration projects by
recording degraded habitat locations. To do this, the organizations
developed a downloadable app to enlist the help of anglers and citizen
scientists – volunteers who share scientific insights about places they
In case you missed it, we recently shared a story about how the app
makes it easy for people paddling, fishing or just spending time on their
favorite rivers to take note of unusual or potentially problematic things
like too much sediment, shoreline erosion, trash or poor water visibility,
and then share what they see and where they are.
Read the full RIVERS story and learn more about how this simple app
can help people serve as citizen scientists.
April Summit Aims to Build Industry Interest
in Mass Timber
28JAN20-Stronger than steel, fire-resistant and sustainable, mass
timber is an emerging building material catching the interest of
architects and trades people throughout the U.S. and Europe. Closer to
home, building industry leaders, trades people, lumber manufacturers and
forest managers will meet April 20th - 21st at the Michigan Mass Timber Summit
in East Lansing to explore new, innovative possibilities for wood-based
Mass timber framing uses large solid or engineered wood columns. These
techniques allow for tall buildings to be created out of renewable timber
instead of concrete or steel, meaning that future skylines could include
Summit organizers including the DNR and the Michigan Forest
Biomaterials Institute hope to spark adoption of mass timber in the
Midwest. Attendees will get to tour a mass timber frame building – the
first in the state – currently under construction on the Michigan State
“There is great potential to use mass timber to accelerate sustainable
building techniques and promote Michigan’s forest products industry,” said
Shannon Hanna, DNR natural resources deputy. “Creating sustainable
pathways for the state’s forest industries will provide many ecological
and economic benefits.”
Michigan’s state forests are
dual-certified by two independent organizations as sustainably
Get more information and register for the summit at
MIFBI.org/Events. Questions? Contact
Brenda Haskill (DNR) or
Julie Manley (Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute).
Share Your Thoughts with the DNR at Upcoming Meetings
Department of Natural Resources is committed to providing Michigan
residents the opportunity to share input and ideas on policy decisions,
programs and other aspects of natural resource management and outdoor
recreation opportunities. One important avenue for this input is at
meetings of the public bodies that advise the DNR and, in some cases, also
set policies for natural resource management.
boards, commissions, committees and councils will hold public
meetings next month. The public is encouraged to attend. The links below
will take you to the webpage for each group, where you will find specific
meeting locations and, when finalized, meeting agendas.
Please check these pages frequently, as meeting details and agendas may
change and sometimes meetings are canceled.
Accessibility Advisory Council – Feb. 25th,
10 a.m., Constitution Hall, Lansing. Meeting location is barrier-free.
An interpreter can be provided with advance notice. (Contact: Mike
Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee – Feb.
20th, 9 to 11 a.m., Belle Isle Nature Center, Detroit (Contact:
Barbara Graves, 517-284-6135)
Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens’ Advisory Council –
Feb. 19th, 6 p.m., LMAS Health Department
conference room, Newberry (Contact: Stacy Welling Haughey, 906-226-1331)
Equine Trails Subcommittee – Feb. 21st,
3 to 5 p.m., Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center, Roscommon (Contact:
Annalisa Centofanti, 517-284-6112)
Forest Management Advisory Committee – Feb.
19th, 1 to 4 p.m., Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Lansing
(Contact: Kimberley Korbecki, 517-284-5876)
Michigan Historical Commission – Feb. 13th,
10 a.m., Michigan Library and Historical Center, Lansing (Contact:
Michelle Davis, 517-335-2585)
Michigan Iron Industry Museum Advisory Board –
Feb. 18th, 3 p.m., Michigan Iron Industry
Museum, Negaunee (Contact: Barry James, 906-475-7857)
Michigan Natural Resources Commission –
Feb. 13th, 11 a.m., Lansing Community College, Lansing (Contact:
Cheryl Nelson, 517-284-6237)
Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board –
Feb. 19th, 4 p.m., Michigan Nature
Association, Okemos (Contact: Jon Mayes, 517-284-5954)
Nonmotorized Advisory Workgroup – Feb. 21st,
11. a.m. to noon, Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center, Roscommon
(Contact: Annalisa Centofanti, 517-284-6112)
Off-road Vehicle Advisory Workgroup – Feb.
21st, 6 to 7 p.m., Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center,
Roscommon (Contact: Jessica Holley, 517-331-3790)
Snowmobile Advisory Workgroup – Feb. 21st,
1 to 3 p.m. Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center, Roscommon (Contact:
Jessica Holley, 517-331-3790)
State Parks Advisory Committee – Feb. 13th,
9:30 to 11 a.m., Lansing Community College, Lansing (Contact: Barbara
Trails Advisory Council – Feb. 21st,
1 to 2 p.m., Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center, Roscommon (Contact:
Annalisa Centofanti, 517-284-6112)
Do A Deep History Dive Into Michigan's
in time for the anniversary of Michigan's statehood (we joined the Union
as the nation's 26th state on January 26th, 1837),
Michiganology.org has launched a compelling collection of new K-12
materials that creatively tell our state's diverse stories.
Statehood Era: 1787-1840 section, specifically, digs into the
different perspectives on freedom and citizenship, using a variety of
primary source materials including interviews, letters, photos and other
items from the Michigan History Museum and the Archives of Michigan.
"One of the coolest things about these new collections in Michiganology is
that everyone can discover something new," said Tobi Voigt, community
engagement director at the Michigan History Center. "Different parts of
the Michiganology content are geared toward different grade levels, which
is great for early learners and high schoolers, not to mention people who
simply want to revisit things that maybe they forgot they learned in
There are 20 available stories within the statehood content, including:
The Indigenous People in Michigan.
Henry Bibb Speaks Out Against Slavery.
What Is a Constitution?
Tobi Voigt at 517-241-1442.
Design The 2020 Deer Management Cooperator
Michigan deer management cooperator patch, given to hunters who bring
their deer to a DNR check station, has been a popular collector’s item for
hunters since the early 1970s. Every year the patch design is different,
but always portrays the designer’s interpretation of white-tailed deer or
deer hunting in Michigan.
Those interested in sharing their design ideas for the 2020 deer patch are
encouraged to enter this year’s contest, which is open to everyone.
“Every year we get a fantastic selection of designs!” said Emilie O’Grady,
an outreach assistant in the DNR Wildlife Division. “We look forward to
seeing all the new submissions, and we wish good luck to all of this
O’Grady said that the DNR offers the deer patch to thank hunters who
present their deer at check stations during the hunting seasons, because
it is during these checks that DNR staff is able to collect valuable
information about Michigan’s deer population – things like locations where
hunters have been successful, the age and sex of deer taken, and a
big-picture look at herd health.
Design submissions for the 2020 deer management cooperator patch are
due by March 10. Patch designs may be created in any medium and shape,
with no more than five colors used. The work must be original and
submitted by the artist.
Complete contest information and submission guidelines are available at
Cooperator Patches. This year’s contest winner will be contacted in
Questions about the contest? Contact
Emilie O’Grady at 517-284-9453
DNR Seeks Applicants, $100K Available in UP Deer Habitat
Improvement Partnership grants
Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the availability of
$100,000 in grants for deer habitat improvement projects on non-state
lands across the Upper Peninsula.
The Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative is a cooperative grant
program being offered by the DNR’s Wildlife Division. Now in its 12th
year, more than $850,000 in hunter license dollars has been invested into
deer habitat improvement projects through the program.
“Almost 100 projects, in nearly all U.P. counties, have improved thousands
of acres of deer habitat,” said Bill Scullon, DNR Wildlife Division field
operations manager and administrator for the grant initiative. “In
addition, project partners have contributed nearly half a million dollars
in matching funds which has helped to grow the program benefits for
Groups eligible for these grants include organizations with a formal
mission to promote wildlife conservation and/or hunting, such as
sportsmen’s clubs, conservation districts, land conservancies, industrial
landowners with more than 10,000 acres, or private land affiliations where
two or more unrelated persons jointly own 400 or more acres.
The maximum amount of individual grants is $15,000 and the minimum is
"There are three primary goals applicants should strive to meet," Scullon
said. "The projects should produce tangible deer habitat improvements,
build long-term partnerships between the DNR and outside organizations and
showcase the project benefits to the public."
Previous projects funded under the initiative have focused on improving
winter deer habitat by planting long-lived conifers and scarification for
Summer range deer habitat projects have included planting hard mast oak
trees, wildlife orchards; creation of hunter walking trails,
rehabilitation of historic wildlife openings; native prairie restoration.
Some past grant recipients have also facilitated youth hunting and veteran
opportunities on improved private lands.
Project applications must be postmarked by Friday, March 6, and successful
applicants will be notified by Wednesday, April 1. The complete grant
application package is available on the DNR website at
For more information or questions regarding eligibility, please contact
Bill Scullon at 906-563-9247 or
Reward Offered in Elk
Poaching Incidents in North Lower Peninsula
Safari Club International-Michigan Involvement Committee is concerned by
numerous recent reports of elk being poached in Michigan’s northern Lower
As a result, the committee is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone providing
information leading to the arrest and conviction of an individual or
individuals illegally killing elk in Michigan. In the past, the
organization has offered a similar $1,000 reward for information leading
to the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally killing moose in
Michigan, and this offer stands to date.
In mid-December, area residents found three adult elk cows poached in
Otsego County. The incident marked the third such case in northern
Michigan in roughly a month. In mid-November, one bull elk was killed in
Montmorency County and another, during the same week, was poached in the
Pigeon River Country in Otsego County.
To report information on the illegal killing of elk or moose in
Michigan, please call or text the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources’ Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.
For more information about the conservation work of SCI-MIC visit
Starting March 1st, Residents will pay $12 for Recreation Passport
The Michigan Recreation Passport gives year-round access to state
parks and other outdoor recreation opportunities, and an easy way to help
protect natural resources for the next generation
you told Michigan residents that for just $1 a month they could enjoy
vehicle access to more than 100 state parks and recreation areas, 140
state forest campgrounds, hundreds of miles of state trails, historic
sites, family-friendly events, hundreds of boating access sites and other
outdoor spaces, most likely would jump at the chance. Starting
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that
the regular Recreation Passport vehicle entry fee for residents will
increase from $11 to $12 – the first Recreation Passport price increase
since January 2013. All other resident Passport fees stay the same,
including those for motorcycles, mopeds and commercial vehicles.
The change is due to a statutory provision to adjust the Recreation
Passport fee based upon the Consumer Price Index as determined by the
federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That statutory requirement was put
into law when the Recreation Passport funding model was created in 2010 to
ensure the funding source keeps pace with inflation.
Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson said it isn’t widely known that
Michigan state parks are largely self-supporting. The steady growth in
Recreation Passport revenue has been a key part in helping the department
tackle some high-priority areas.
“Although we were not anticipating a $1 increase this year, the additional
revenue will help fill in funding gaps,” Olson said. “We are continually
working on challenges including rising wages, the ever-increasing cost of
goods and services and $278 million worth of significant infrastructure
repairs and projects.”
Approximately 93.5 percent of state parks funding is generated by user
fees and royalty revenues:
Camping and lodging reservation fees provide 47 percent.
Recreation Passport sales offer 26 percent.
Gas and mineral royalty revenues provide 15 percent.
Concessions, shelter reservations and other revenue sources bring in
another 5.5 percent.
The remaining funding – approximately 6.5 percent – is provided from
miscellaneous sources (including general tax dollars).
Recreation Passport back story
2004, state parks were removed from the state’s general fund because it
was believed that camping fees could sustain the then 99-park system. As a
result, revenue generated by motor vehicle stickers and camping fees
became even more critical.
The Citizens Advisory Committee for Michigan State Parks, created in 2005,
was charged with finding a long-term funding solution that would 1)
address the nearly $300 million backlog of infrastructure needs, and 2)
ensure that Michiganders could affordably continue using the parks. The
committee ultimately recommended the creation of the model linking motor
vehicle registrations to the Recreation Passport.
“Those early conversations and research done by the citizens committee and
many DNR employees laid the foundation for today’s Recreation Passport,”
Olson said. “These were important steps in the right direction.”
The next few years made it clear that the existing funding model could
not keep the state parks and recreation system afloat. Work on the new
Recreation Passport funding model began in earnest, supported by
bipartisan cooperation in the state House and the Senate, and the
Recreation Passport bill was signed into law in April 2010 and took effect
six months later.
Recreation Passport rationale, structure
Recreation Passport model is based both on reducing the customer’s cost
and tying the purchase of a park pass to the Secretary of State’s vehicle
registration process. The change relied on the notion that more people
would buy the new Recreation Passport than would purchase the existing
motor vehicle permit because:
The Recreation Passport purchase option would be put in front of
every vehicle owner (rather than just those who visited state parks and
bought the motor vehicle permit there).
The Recreation Passport (then $10) cost significantly less than the
motor vehicle permit ($24).
During the Recreation Passport’s first year, an additional $7 million
All revenue generated by Recreation Passport sales goes into a
restricted fund that supports state park infrastructure and operations, a
local grant program for community recreation agencies, state forest
campgrounds and nonmotorized pathways and trails, cultural and historic
resource restoration, and marketing and promotion.
Nonresident Recreation Passport fee
The Consumer Price Index change also signaled a one-dollar increase –
from $33 to $34 – for nonresident Recreation Passport purchases, effective
Jan. 1, 2020. All other passport fees will stay the same.
The start dates for the increase to both residents and nonresidents are
staggered due to the time it takes to integrate changes tied to vehicle
See where it can take you
View this 30-second video highlighting just a few of the many
outdoor adventures you can enjoy with a Recreation Passport.
Learn more about how the Recreation Passport supports, protects and
provides easy, affordable access to the great outdoors at
Highlights Great Lakes Shipwrecks & Their Lore
cold, fresh waters of the Great Lakes are literally littered with
shipwrecks – pieces of history capturing chapters of a time when transport
by water was as important as transport by land.
Some, like the Syracuse, recall the Great Lakes’ sailing heyday, when
goods and people routinely plied the lakes along well-used routes. The
Syracuse, a two-masted schooner carrying a cargo of coal, sank in Lake
Huron on Nov. 10, 1863.
Other shipwrecks speak to more recent times when steel behemoths like the
600-foot Cedarville, shepherding a cargo of limestone, collided with a
Norwegian ship in the fog on May 7, 1967. Ten crew members died, and the
ship, broken nearly in two, sank in more than a hundred feet of water.
The Syracuse and the Cedarville are among 1,500 shipwrecks submerged in
Michigan waters, making up one-quarter of the estimated 6,000 wrecks found
throughout the Great Lakes.
Now, thanks to the recently launched
Michigan Shipwrecks StoryMap, it’s easy to learn about the mystery
and tragedy surrounding these ships.
Michigan Shipwrecks Public Web App goes even further, offering
users a closer look at shipwrecks as well as the locations of lighthouses
and boating access sites. Users can search for shipwrecks by name or
location or customize and print their own PDF maps.
“This new tool gives divers, kayakers, snorkelers and armchair explorers a
chance to learn more about these underwater archaeological sites and the
circumstances that led to the shipwrecks,” said Sandra Clark, director of
the Michigan History Center. “It’s a wonderfully interactive way to help
people connect with this part of Michigan’s maritime history.”
The app map offers information about each ship, including:
The difficulty level of diving to the wreck.
Whether the wreck is accessible by kayak or canoe.
The circumstances of the sinking.
A description of the ship, with photos and drawings (if available).
The map also highlights Michigan’s underwater preserves and water
wrecks, such as the wooden bulk freighter Daisy Day, lie in as little as
10 feet of water and are suitable for beginning divers and visible to
paddlers and snorkelers.
Others, such as the Indiana, a propeller vessel that went down in Lake
Superior in 1858, are in more than 100 feet of water and require advanced
The map will be updated as more ships are discovered and more information
Users may notice that some high-profile wrecks, such as the Carl D
Bradley, which sank in Lake Michigan in November 1958, are not listed.
Because crew members went down with these ships, they are considered
underwater burial sites.
Clark reminds the public that Michigan law prohibits removal of any
artifacts from shipwrecks.
“The wrecks on the Great Lakes bottomlands belong to the people of
Michigan,” she said. “If everyone follows the rule of ’take only pictures
and leave only bubbles,” we can ensure that these underwater time capsules
will be available for future generations to explore, research and enjoy.”
Visit and explore both the story map and public web app at
Business Partnerships Available in State
27DEC19-Every year, more than 28 million people head to Michigan state
parks and harbors to enjoy the outdoors. The business operators who
provide food and beverage sales, equipment rentals, horse stable
operations, firewood and merchandise sales, lighthouse tours, shuttle
service and other recreation-related services in many of these
destinations play a big role in the experience.
The DNR Parks and Recreation Division offers opportunities each year for
partnerships to operate concessions and other business prospects.
Currently, nearly 75 concessionaires operate some type of business within
the Michigan state parks and recreation system. In addition to generating
revenue for the DNR, these business operations also help create jobs
within the state’s private sector.
“Our business operators provide tremendous services to our customers
every year,” said Lori Ruff, DNR Parks and Recreation Division concession
and lease manager. “They improve and add value to the visitor experience
in many ways, offering services that staff otherwise could not provide.”
Right now, the DNR is offering a number of business opportunities to
operate concessions and other services at several DNR properties,
including openings for beach and camp stores, mobile food operations,
water park operations, watercraft rentals, a riding stable, electric
vehicle charging stations and others.
Michigan.gov/StateParkConcessions to see a list of current
opportunities and locations. This list is regularly updated as
opportunities are added or filled.
Individuals and business owners interested in submitting a bid, asking
a question or being added to an informational mailing list are encouraged
to contact Lori Ruff at
RuffL@Michigan.gov or 989-275-5151, ext. 2722006. She will answer
bidding process questions and notify people when new opportunities arise.
State Park Campground Hosts Connect With
Visitors, Camp For Free
many people who love spending time in Michigan state parks, serving as a
campground host just might be the perfect gig. Right now, the DNR is
accepting applications for campground hosts at many locations across the
Volunteer campground hosts enjoy waived camping fees, in exchange for 30
hours of service per week, handling things like:
Helping people find their campsites.
Planning campground activities.
Performing light maintenance duties.
"These campground hosting spots are great opportunities for people to
give back in a meaningful way to the parks that are special to them," said
Michelle Coss, fund and resource development specialist with DNR Parks and
Recreation. "Many of our veteran campers love this program because it
gives them a chance to help shape the experience for some people who are
brand new to the magic of state parks."
Anyone seeking more information about this program is encouraged to
Michelle Coss at 517-881-5884. Learn more about all hosting
opportunities (including at Hartwick Pines Memorial Building and Tawas
Point Lighthouse) at Michigan.gov/DNRHosts.