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Updated 02/19/21



Ice Shanty Removal Dates Begin this Weekend for Portions of Lower Peninsula

ice shanties29FEB21-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that ice shanty removal dates are quickly approaching starting with Lake St. Clair this Sunday and to always use extreme caution when on the ice.
Regardless of the set removal dates, changing ice conditions could require the removal of fishing shanties before those dates. This is a possibility every year because all shanties must be removed once ice can no longer safely support them.

Based on the 10-day forecast, portions of the Lower Peninsula are predicted to experience fluctuating temperatures near or above freezing, said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, DNR Law Enforcement Division. Temperature fluctuations can create unstable and unsafe ice conditions very fast. Its the anglers responsibility to safely remove their shanty before it falls through the ice.
Shanty owners whose structures fall through the ice are subject to penalties of up to 30 days in jail, fines up to $500, or both. If a shanty is removed by a government agency, the court can require the owner to reimburse that agency for up to three times the cost of removal.

Lower Peninsula

Ice shanties on Lake St. Clair, located northeast of Detroit, must be removed before sunset Sunday, February 21st.
Shanties in the northern Lower Peninsula must be removed by midnight Monday, March 15. Those counties include Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Isabella, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford.
Ice shanties in the remaining counties of the Lower Peninsula must be removed by midnight Monday, March 1st.

Upper Peninsula

On Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters, ice shanties must be removed by midnight Monday, March 15th.
All other bodies of water in the Upper Peninsula must have ice shanties removed by midnight Wednesday, March 31st.
Daily use of ice shanties is permitted anywhere in Michigan if ice conditions permit and if the shanties are removed from the ice at the end of each day.
People venturing onto the ice should use extreme caution as temperatures begin to rise or fluctuate. The repeated thawing and refreezing of ice weakens its strength, decreasing its ability to support the additional weight of people, snowmobiles, ORVs and shanties. Deteriorating ice, water currents and high winds increase the probability of pressure cracks, which can leave anglers and others stranded on ice floes or at risk of falling through the ice.

Learn more at

Spring fishing
The end of ice fishing season means it is time to start preparing for spring fishing. Are you boater safety certified? In Michigan, anyone born on or after June 30, 1996, must successfully complete an approved Boater Safety Education course to operate a vessel. Complete boater safety online at

For more information on all fishing opportunities, go to


Take in Michigan's Winter Beauty on Pair of Snowshoes

group of people snowshoe hiking through forest08FEB21-Looking for a fun way to explore our states scenic outdoors this winter, and get some exercise while youre at it? Were offering several guided snowshoe hikes in February:

Tahquamenon Falls State Park Upper Falls guided snowshoe hike: February 13th, 20th and 27th.
Strap on your snowshoes (or borrow a pair of ours) and join the park naturalist for a free guided hike through the forest of the Upper Falls. Hike lasts approximately one hour and includes blazing a trail through unpacked trails, and going up and down hills. The hike is suitable for ages 9 and up. Masks must be worn during hike. Registration is required, and participation will be limited to 20. Register for a Tahquamenon Falls snowshoe hike online.

Hartwick Pines State Park guided snowshoe hikes: February 13th and 27th, March 13th
Enjoy a guided tour through the old-growth forest. Hear about the men and women who worked in the logging camps during the White Pine Logging Era and about the wildlife and trees that live and grow at Hartwick Pines State Park. Depending on the snow conditions, snowshoes may not be needed. Registration is required, and participation is limited. Register for a Hartwick Pines snowshoe hike online or contact the Hartwick Pines Visitor Center for more information.

If you're interested in a self-guided snowshoe adventure, check out our snowshoeing page.


Learn The "Ins and Outs" of Ice Fishing

Man ice fishing and holding up his catch08FEB21-Winter is a great time to fish, and the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy can help boost your ice fishing know-how with upcoming Hard Water School classes.
The classes will be held outdoors at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, located in Mitchell State Park in Cadillac.

Hard Water School: Feb. 20th and March 6th
This one-day, introductory class on ice fishing will focus on techniques for pan fish, walleye and pike. It will cover everything from how to set up equipment and how, where and when to fish, to ice safety and rules and regulations. Cost is $35, which includes one-on-one instruction from a pro, lunch on the ice, bait and a goodie bag.

Participation for all classes is limited to 20 students, and COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed.

For more details and to register for classes, visit


Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board Recommends $37.8 Million Dollars to Boost Outdoor Recreation

24DEC20-The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board recommended Wednesday to the Michigan Legislature that 76 recreation development projects and land acquisitions totaling $37,789,600 be funded in 2021. The board this year considered a total of 136 applications seeking over $60 million in funding. In a competitive process, all eligible applications were evaluated based on scoring criteria approved by the Trust Fund board.

“Easy access to the beauty of Michigan’s natural places and open spaces during a challenging, uncertain year has been a source of comfort and connection for residents across our state, and the Trust Fund is a major part of making those opportunities available,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Whether you’re enjoying a trail or park close to home or exploring the deep forest, outdoor recreation resources like these are big contributors to each community’s quality of life and unique appeal.”

The Trust Fund board recommends funding to both state and local agencies for development projects and land acquisitions that will further access to public outdoor recreation.

This year, the board recommended $27,289,600 for acquisition grants and $10,500,000 for development grants. There were 26 acquisition grants awarded to local units of government for a total of $20,805,400, while four acquisition grants went to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for projects totaling $6,484,200. The Trust Fund board also recommended a total of $9,300,000 in 42 development grants be awarded to local units of government while four DNR projects garnered a total of $1,200,000.

“This year’s grant recommendations represent a broad range of land acquisition and outdoor development projects that will make a real difference,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “With the results of Proposal 1 this fall, it’s clear that Michigan’s residents support this program and its continued investment in projects that speak to the recreational needs of communities across our state.”

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund that was established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for resource protection and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded through interest and earnings on funds derived from the revenues of state-owned oil, gas and minerals. Over the past 44 years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1.2 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve recreation opportunities in Michigan.

“Under the challenges of gathering with friends and family this year, outdoor spaces and public recreation played a major component in people’s lives,” said Trust Fund board chair Bill Rustem. “This program’s ability to continue to acquire and develop parks and green spaces is more important now than ever to ensure that every Michigander has access to the state’s natural resources.”

The Trust Fund board's recommendations will go to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the appropriations process. Upon approval, the Legislature forwards a bill to the governor for her signature.

A list of the final recommendations made by the Trust Fund board is available at


Time to Check Trees for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Invasive pest already confirmed in five southwest Michigan counties

04DEC20-The recent discovery of hemlock woolly adelgid as far north as Ludington State Park in Mason County is a reminder of the importance of checking hemlock trees for signs of the invasive insect.

The Michigan departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural Development encourage those who have eastern hemlock trees on their property to take time this winter to inspect the trees for signs of hemlock woolly adelgid. Anyone taking to the woods can help by looking for signs of the insect while hunting, hiking or enjoying any outdoor activities.

Winter is the optimum time to look for evidence of an infestation, according to Robert Miller, MDARD’s invasive species prevention and response specialist.

“Cooler temperatures trigger feeding activity,” Miller said. “As hemlock woolly adelgids feed, they secrete a white, waxy material that creates ovisacs. The presence of these small, round, white masses makes it possible to identify infested trees.”

As they feed, these tiny, soft-bodied insects consume a hemlock’s stored nutrients, slowly sucking the life from the tree.

These insects are considered invasive because they are not native to the state and can cause significant harm to Michigan’s hemlock resource, estimated at 170 million trees.

Infestations of hemlock woolly adelgid have been confirmed in Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana and Mason counties, all bordering Lake Michigan.

Winter surveys underway

Workers survey for hemlock woolly adelgid in a snowy forest

Throughout the winter, survey crews from several Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas will take to the woods looking for signs of hemlock woolly adelgid. Surveys will be conducted within a 5-mile border along the Lake Michigan shoreline in both the Lower and Upper peninsulas.

At the same time, DNR staff will survey state parks and federal lands in the vicinity of Lake Michigan.

Because hemlock trees can be protected from these insects with proper insecticide treatments, infested trees and any other eastern hemlocks within the area will be mapped and tagged, then prioritized for summer treatment.

CISMAs will seek landowner permission to conduct surveys of hemlocks on private lands within the shoreline border. CISMA survey efforts are supported by funds from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program and the U.S. Forest Service and are provided at no cost to landowners.

Your help is needed

Though dozens of crew members will assist in the surveys, they won’t be able to check all trees. If you have eastern hemlocks on your property, whether it’s within or beyond the 5-mile shoreline border, take some time to look for signs of hemlock woolly adelgid. Anyone spending time outdoors is encouraged to do the same.

In Michigan’s northern forests, hemlock trees are found in moist soils along streams and riverbanks and along coastal dunes. Hemlock also is popular as a landscape tree in parks and residential areas.

Identify hemlock trees

Hemlock twig with conesSince adelgids feed and form ovisacs only on eastern hemlock trees in Michigan, it is important to distinguish hemlocks from other conifers like pines or spruces. Look for:

  • Cone- or egg-shaped trees up to 75 feet tall.
  • Drooping or feathery branches.
  • Flat needles growing individually from the sides of twigs.
  • Needles that are dark green on top with two parallel, white stripes underneath.
  • Papery cones about three-quarters of an inch long that hang downward from branches.

Look for signs

Late fall through early spring is the best time to check hemlock trees. Look on the undersides of branches for evidence of round, white ovisacs near the base of the needles.

Up close, ovisacs look like balls of spun cotton and may appear alone or in clusters. The short video “Hemlock woolly adelgid: invasive species in Michigan” provides helpful identification tips.

Report your findings

A hemlock branch with adelgids

Report infested hemlock trees by using the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, available online at or as a downloadable smartphone app. The MISIN smart phone app will take a GPS location point if a report is made at the site; it also will allow you to upload photos with a report.

Reports also can be made by email to or by phone to the MDARD Customer Service Center at 800-292-3939.

Identify the location of infested trees and, whenever possible, take one or two pictures of infested branches to help confirm identification. To avoid spreading the insect, do not collect sample branches or twigs.

Manage your trees

If you find hemlock woolly adelgids on your property, it is important to know that certain insecticides are successful in treating the infestation if used correctly. Without treatment, infested trees can die within four to 10 years. A qualified arborist, such as one certified by the International Society of Arboriculture, can diagnose and assist with treating infested trees.

If you are able to handle treatment on your own, follow the guidance provided in the MSU Extension Bulletin: “How to treat hemlock trees for hemlock woolly adelgid.

Reporting infested trees, even if you will be managing them on your own, is important to help determine how far hemlock woolly adelgid has spread. This information also indicates where additional surveys may be needed.

Find more information

On Jan. 22, 2021, “Hemlock Rescue” is featured in the NotMISpecies webinar series. This free program will take a look at the labor-intensive effort to inventory and treat trees infested with hemlock woolly adelgid. A question and answer period will follow the presentation. Register for the webinar at

For more information on identification, reporting or treatment, visit the Michigan Invasive Species Program’s hemlock woolly adelgid page at


dorsement on their hunting license, unless hunting pheasant only on hunting preserves.

Want to become a ruffed grouse and American woodcock cooperator? Download the cooperator report and tell us about days spent afield and what flush rates were like. This information provides an indicator of the hunting season and population trends for grouse and woodcock.

For more information on the 2020 pheasant and ruffed grouse season regulations and dates, see the 2020 Hunting Digest available at

Questions? Contact Rachel Leightner at 517-243-5813.


Zooming in a Winter Wonderland

zoom bg01DEC20-A snowy, lantern-lit trail, a cardinal’s crimson plumage, ice-bejeweled berries and more – these scenes, found in the DNR’s collection of virtual videoconferencing backgrounds, can brighten the backdrop for your next virtual call. They’ll add some charm and beauty next time you’re meeting by screen with friends, family or colleagues.

With these new additions, you can enjoy the wonders of winter while remaining cozy indoors – or get inspired to go out and try a new winter activity like snowshoeing, winter hiking or fat-tire biking. Browse the gallery, which is available at in the Photos and Videos section.

In addition to their visual appeal, virtual backgrounds serve a practical purpose. When you’re meeting online with people outside your immediate contacts, security experts recommend using virtual backgrounds to obscure details of your home and surroundings. Steps to enable and upload backgrounds in a Zoom account are available on the Zoom virtual background support page. The high-resolution images should be compatible with other virtual meeting platforms, too, and can be used as computer backgrounds.

Questions? Contact Beth Fults at 517-284-6071


ICYMI: #ADA30 and the Growth of Accessible Recreation

track chair

01DEC20-This year marks the 30-year anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The landmark civil rights legislation – which the U.S. Department of Justice said prohibits disability discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life – was patterned after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on color, race, sex, religion or national origin.

In case you missed it, to commemorate the signing of this important legislation, the DNR recently released a video exploring the expansion of accessible recreation in Michigan and capturing testimonials from officials, staff and residents about these evolving opportunities and the hard work and drive that got us to this point. Read the full Showcasing the DNR story for more information.


Seeking Local History to Complement Grayling-to-Roscommon Trail

black and white photo of a woman wearing a hat, kneeling, bundling pine tree seedlings, while other people around her do the same30NOV20-A new segment of Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail currently under development will add about 20 miles to the trail’s planned 828-mile biking route, but project managers also plan to add layers of story to this stretch that connects Higgins Lake Nursery and the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum at North Higgins Lake State Park with Hartwick Pines State Park and you can help.

Led by the Michigan History Center, this heritage trail project in Crawford County, unofficially dubbed the "Forest Heritage Trail", is welcoming local history stories. The Center is partnering with Central Michigan University and local stakeholders to identify the unique and critical history of the area and plan for a series of interpretive informational signs for people to enjoy while exploring the trail.

Dan Spegel coordinates Michigan’s Heritage Trails program. He said the right stories can help trail visitors connect with an area’s history and better understand a region’s development, character and place in the state’s bigger history. He pointed to the Kal-Haven Trail, in southwest Michigan, as an example.

“When we put the call out for the Kal-Haven, the community came forward with some great stories,” he said.

“For example, in 1948 Joe Louis spent a month training at Great Bear Lake to get ready for a fight with Jersey Joe Walcott. We found out that in 1901, A.M. Todd started a mint-oil operation that grew and revolutionized the global industry. We also learned about Julia Schelske, who in 1916 became one of the earliest female car dealers for Ford Motor Company in the town of Grand Junction,” Spegel said. “Bringing those stories into the trail makes for an experience that immerses visitors into the area’s natural and cultural history.”

Spegel stressed that heritage stories about the Forest Heritage Trail do not have to directly connect to or be about the forest. That working title for the project was chosen simply because the completed trail segment will connect the CCC Museum with Hartwick Pines, and the forest clearly has a strong presence/history in the area.

Want to learn more about the project and share some stories? Join in a virtual meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9. Advance registration for the meeting is not needed; just visit around 6:50 p.m. to sign in and join the meeting.

For more information, contact Dan Spegel at 517-420-6029.


Prune Oak Trees in Winter to Avoid Oak Wilt Disease

a few thin tree branches with yellow and green oak leaves, some curled and browned by oak wilt fungus, set against a blue sky

Leaves are down, temperatures are cooler, and that means it’s prime time for pruning oak trees, which can be infected by the oak wilt fungus if they’re pruned during the high-risk period April 15-July 15.

“Beetles that can carry the disease from tree to tree are not very active now, and the trees are not vulnerable to infection,” said Simeon Wright, forest health specialist with the DNR Forest Resources Division. The beetles are attracted to fresh bark damage or wounds where tree limbs have been removed.

Firewood can harbor the fungus, too. If you suspect your firewood is infected, burn it, chip it or debark it before April. Once the wood has been dried over a year and/or all bark loosens, it can no longer spread oak wilt.

“Not moving potentially infected oak firewood into areas that are free of oak wilt is critical to protecting our oak trees,” Wright said.

Oak wilt, identified in the 1940s, is widespread across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and along the Wisconsin border in the Upper Peninsula. Red oaks are most susceptible and can die within weeks of infection. These trees have leaves with pointed tips and include black oak, northern red oak and northern pin oak. Trees in the white oak group have rounded leaf edges and are less susceptible. Affected trees will suddenly wilt from the top down, rapidly dropping leaves, which can be green, brown or a combination of both colors.

If you suspect oak wilt:

Learn more about invasive species and diseases at

Questions? Contact Simeon Wright at 906-203-9466.


DNR Notes:

Aggressive animals

In those instances where there is an aggressive wild animal, particularly animals such as geese, swans, turkeys, deer and bears, landowners should get in touch with the nearest DNR Customer Service Center to let the local DNR staff know about the issue.  As each situation is unique, staff will first assess the problem and then determine the appropriate action based on the species and location.  
Landowners can contact one of the nuisance wildlife control permittees for assistance with removal of species such as coyotes, fox, raccoons, opossums and skunks.

Specially permitted nuisance control companies can be hired to assist landowners with goose control programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services also offers removal assistance, such as nest destruction and relocation permits.

DNR Customer Service Centers

  • Baraga - 906-353-6651
  • Bay City - 989-684-9141
  • Cadillac - 231-775-9727
  • Detroit - 313-396-6890
  • Escanaba - 906-786-2351
  • Gaylord - 989-732-3541
  • Lansing - 517-284-4720
  • Marquette - 906-228-6561
  • Newberry - 906-293-5131
  • Plainwell - 269-685-6851
  • Roscommon - 989-275-5151
  • Sault Ste. Marie - 906-635-6161
  • Traverse City - 231-922-5280

DNR Field Offices

  • Crystal Falls - 906-875-6622
  • Gwinn - 906-346-9201
  • Naubinway - 906-477-6048
  • Norway - 906-563-9247


Tired of the mad dash to get a good camping spot at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore at Little Beaver Lake Campground, Twelve Mile Campground, or Hurricane River Campground?  These campgrounds now require reservations, after years of a "first come, first served" policy. Since visitation has nearly doubled in the last few years during the summer months reservations can now be made 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

DNR Public News is published here as a courtesy and does not represent the views or intent of the ownership of Carroll Broadcasting.

Copyright © 2019 Carroll Broadcasting, Inc., All rights reserved.


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