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Updated 05/23/19

 

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Last Call for June 7th ORV Safety Instructor Academy; Application Deadline May 31st

23MAY19-Calling all those who love to ride the trails and know how to do it safely – you could be the right fit for the Department of Natural Resources off-road vehicle safety education program. The DNR is recruiting instructors for this volunteer opportunity that lets ORV enthusiasts share their love and knowledge of the sport with new riders, while emphasizing safe, responsible ORV operation for a great experience.

All volunteer ORV instructors must attend a three-day training academy:

  • Dates: Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9 (attendees must attend all three days)
  • Location: Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds, 2401 12th Ave. North, Escanaba
  • Cost: Academy, lodging and meals will be provided if candidates use the DNR-provided accommodations.

Qualifications

Volunteer ORV instructors must:

  • Have a love for riding trails and know how to do it safely.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be a high school graduate or have a GED.
  • Have no felony convictions.
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions within the past three years.
  • Have no convictions that resulted in the revocation of ORV-operation privileges within the last five years. (Other convictions of natural resource law violations are subject to review and may result in the rejection of an application).
  • Maintain a high moral, ethical and mental character.

Application

Those interested should download and complete a recreation education training instructor application and fax the completed application to 517-373-6816 or mail it to:

Law Enforcement Division – Recreation Education Program
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 30031
Lansing, MI 48909

Application deadline is Friday, May 31.

For more information about volunteering as a recreational safety instructor, go to the volunteer recreational safety instructor page.

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Another Year, Another Bigmouth Buffalo State Record Broken

Angler Tyler Fisher holds up the state record bigmouth buffalo he caught23MAY19-Earlier this month, Tyler Fisher of St. Charles, Michigan, caught a record-breaking bigmouth buffalo, unseating the previous state-record fish that was caught in 2017.
Fisher caught his fish – weighing in at 32.01 pounds and measuring 38 inches – while bow fishing in the Shiawassee River in Saginaw County. Kathrin Schrouder, a DNR fisheries biologist out of Bay City, verified the new record.
Roy Beasley of Madison Heights, Michigan, held the previous bigmouth buffalo state record, a 27-pound, 35.25-inch fish he caught while bow fishing on Monroe County’s River Raisin in May 2017.
Over the last 10 years, anglers have caught 14 state-record fish in Michigan – a tribute to the growth and health of the state’s world-class fisheries and the long-term management efforts that help sustain them.
According to a recent MUCC study, an estimated 1.1 million licensed anglers a year contribute $2.3 billion to Michigan’s economy. Plentiful opportunities to fish a variety of species continue to draw both new anglers and accomplished veterans to Michigan waters.

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

The DNR reminds anglers who bow fish to properly dispose of all specimens they harvest. See the current roster of record-setting fish at Michigan.gov/StateRecordFish.

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Reel in a Marked or Tagged Fish? Let Us Know

side view illustration of a chinook salmon 23MAY19-If you fish the Great Lakes and catch a marked and tagged fish, the DNR wants to know. Since the 1980s, the DNR has used the coded-wire tag program to mass mark various trout and salmon species in Michigan. Mass marking provides critical data as fisheries biologists assess the value of naturally reproduced versus stocked fish, as well as lake-wide fish movement.
The program involves implanting a small, coded-wire tag, which is invisible to the naked eye, into the snout of a fish. A fish with a coded-wire tag can be identified because its adipose fin (the small, fleshy fin between the dorsal and tail fins) has been removed.
Anglers who catch these tagged fish can then record needed information (like where and when the fish was caught, details from the tag, and the species, length and weight of the fish), remove and freeze the fish’s snout and drop it off at designated locations. A statewide list of drop-off locations is available on the DNR website.
The DNR, in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other state agencies, places coded-wire tags in the snout and removes the adipose fin from lake trout, rainbow trout (steelhead) and chinook and Atlantic salmon stocked in lakes Huron and Michigan.

Learn more about the DNR’s mass marking efforts at Michigan.gov/TaggedFish.

Questions? Contact John Clevenger, 231-547-2914 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

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Creel Clerks to Collect Angler Information this Summer

A female creel clerk holds a large fish attached to a scale, beach in the background23MAY19-As this year’s open-water fishing season gets underway, anglers at many lakes, rivers and Great Lakes ports may encounter DNR fisheries staff collecting data about their fishing experiences.

DNR creel clerks are stationed at boat launches and piers around the state asking anglers questions as they return from fishing trips. Information will be requested on trip length, target species and number and type of fish caught. In some cases, the clerks may ask to measure or weigh fish and to take scales or other body parts for aging – data that is key to helping the DNR manage state fisheries.

“The information we gather from anglers helps us get a clearer picture about fish health, movement and population trends throughout Michigan,” said DNR fisheries biologist Tracy Claramunt. “We really appreciate anglers taking a few minutes to talk with us.”

These efforts are part of the DNR’s Statewide Angler Survey Program, a long-term monitoring program that estimates the amount of time people spend fishing and how many of each species of fish are caught and kept or released in Michigan waters. This is one of the most comprehensive angler survey programs in the country, with DNR creel clerks interviewing upward of 50,000 anglers in most years.

Information about where creel clerks are stationed and the data they collect is available on the DNR website or by calling Tracy Claramunt, 517-282-2887 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

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New Stamp & Go Guide a Fun Way to Log State Park, Hatchery Visits

stamp & go guide23MAY19-Inspired by this year’s state parks centennial celebration, the DNR has released an all-new Stamp & Go Guide to help visitors log and plan their visits to state parks and hatcheries all over Michigan.
The guide features photos and descriptions of each state park and fish hatchery, maps, kid-friendly activities and more.
Visitors can get their guides stamped at more than 100 locations. Stop by campground offices or check with local facility staff to find out where guides are being stamped.
You can pick up a guide at most Michigan state parks and recreation areas or at the Oden and Wolf Lake state fish hatchery visitor centers for just $5. Guides purchased during 2019 (the state parks centennial year) will include a special gold commemorative sticker.

Looking for ideas on where to start? Check out Places to Go on the DNR website Michigan.gov/DNR and explore your options for state parks, state fish hatcheries and other great destinations. For more state parks centennial information – including special events, podcasts, historical stories, videos, a geocaching tour and more – visit Michigan.gov/StateParks100.

Questions? Contact Ami Van Antwerp, 517-927-5059 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

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Keep Fire Safety in Mind During Summer Activities

a woman pouring water on a campfire in a ringed fire pit23MAY19-The Memorial Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial start of summer fun in Michigan, complete with campfires, cookouts, fireworks and other outdoor activities.
But spring and summer also are key times for wildfires in Michigan, and most of these are started accidentally by people. So far in 2019, the DNR has fought more than 140 wildfires on nearly 800 acres around the state.
“Just a little bit of precaution and planning can reduce the risk of fires and keep outdoor activities fun and safe,” said Paul Rogers, a DNR fire prevention specialist. “Michigan’s late spring this year means that some trees and plants are still in a dry winter state, and more likely to burn when hit by a stray spark or ember.”

The DNR’s new fire safety page, available in the Safety Information section of the DNR’s Michigan.gov/DNREducation webpage, offers tips on:

  • Campfire safety. Always douse your fire thoroughly with water before leaving it.
  • Debris burning. You need to get a permit to burn debris at Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or by phone at 866-922-2876 if you live in the northern Lower Peninsula or the Upper Peninsula. People in other locations should check with local municipalities. Keep your fire at least 10 feet away from logs, stumps or other debris and make sure no branches are hanging overhead.
  • Firewise landscaping. This type of landscaping protects your home or cabin by minimizing the number of shrubs, leaves and trees that are close to the house. You can learn more about Firewise landscaping from the National Fire Protection Association.

Questions? Contact Paul Rogers, 616-260-8406.

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer Helps DNR Cut Ribbon on Michigan State Parks’ Next 100 Years

Governor announces Michigan’s new Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry

21MAY19-With the Michigan state parks centennial celebration ramping up and the Memorial Day holiday weekend – the unofficial kickoff to Michigan’s camping season – just around the corner, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today joined the DNR at Grand Haven State Park to highlight a century of parks growth and ceremonially “cut the ribbon” on strategic investments and infrastructure improvements geared to provide the best visitor experiences for the next 100 years.
Gov. Whitmer, DNR Director Dan Eichinger and DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson gathered with Grand Haven State Park staff and supporters near the park’s beach house area to share their thoughts on the state parks system’s remarkable history, the scope of the centennial celebration and a look at future development.

“It’s so great to be able to celebrate a century of Michigan’s award-winning state parks,” said Whitmer. “This is what Pure Michigan is all about, opening up our great outdoor spaces so people from all over the world can enjoy our Great Lakes, inland lakes, forests, and trails. I’m excited to cut the ribbon on the next century of outdoor recreation here in Michigan, and I’m proud to partner with the DNR to continue preserving our state parks.”

Introducing the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry

Building on that commitment to better, broader recreation opportunities for more Michigan residents and visitors, Whitmer took the opportunity to announce the new Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, which will be housed within the DNR under a partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry will work in partnership with MEDC and the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Council to expand Michigan’s strong outdoor recreation economy and build greater awareness about the importance and value of the businesses, both large and small, that make up the industry.
“Our state parks serve as both outdoor recreation destinations and as a key driver of Michigan’s tourism industry,” Whitmer said. “I think it is fitting to announce this new office at an event that celebrates the incredible history, evolution and contributions of Michigan’s state parks system.”
Outdoor recreation generates more than $26 billion a year in consumer spending, 232,000 direct jobs, $7.5 billion in wages and salaries, and $2.1 billion in state and local tax revenue. The Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry will work to find more opportunities for collaboration around that economic strength in order to elevate outdoor recreation activities and opportunities across the state. Learn more about the office at Michigan.gov/MI-OutdoorRec.

Showcasing infrastructure investment, greater accessibility in state parks

Just prior to the event’s start, Gov. Whitmer and Director Eichinger spent time talking with and passing out s’mores kits to dozens of youth from the Pursuing a Dream Foundation who, earlier in the day, had enjoyed a Get Hooked fishing program at the park. Some of those children helped the governor with the ribbon-cutting. The foundation is a unique West Michigan organization that empowers children, teens and adults with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors in a setting that breaks down barriers.
Eichinger said Grand Haven’s accessibility enhancements are just one example of the state park’s commitment to visitor-focused investment that helps deliver a Pure Michigan outdoor experience to every visitor.
“With more than $6 million invested in accessible playground enhancements, new LEED-compliant campground restroom and shower facilities, a complete replacement of the channel restroom building, a renovated park entrance and the completion of beach parking resurfacing that has increased parking capacity by more than 100 additional spaces, Grand Haven is a testament to the future of Michigan state parks.”
During this centennial year, Eichinger said the DNR is planning for more than $18 million in infrastructure investments that will target several areas, including electrical upgrades, sewer and drain field replacement, trail maintenance and the addition of full hook-up campsites.
Chief Olson, who has led DNR Parks and Recreation since 2005, reflected on the progress and opportunities the state parks system has enjoyed since that inaugural year.
“Digging into the history of our state parks – how they came to be, how visitor numbers have soared – really drives home that the actions we take today will have a true and lasting impact on the state parks of tomorrow,” Olson said. “That’s true for us as the overseers of state parks, as well as for the millions of visitors who enjoy our parks year after year. We truly appreciate our campers’ and day-use visitors’ commitment to taking care of state parks.”
Olson also cited the support of state park friends’ groups, legislators, statewide parks and trails organizations, and the many other volunteer organizations that help with everything from trail grooming and recreation programming to conservation work and serving as campground hosts.
“Michigan state parks mean a great deal to a great many people,” he said. “Michigan state parks are where our favorite friends-and-family moments happen, where people connect with the outdoors, and where anyone can work on restoring their physical and spiritual health. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next hundred years.”
In addition to the aforementioned infrastructure investments, Olson said that during the state parks centennial year, he and his staff will focus on:

  • Ensuring that accessibility is an integral part of all new or updated facilities in state parks, from beach access and campsites to boat launches and piers.
  • Continuing the department’s commitment to natural resources protection, including the volunteer park stewardship program that last year contributed 88,000 volunteer work hours on important projects including native seed collection and invasive species removal.
  • Completing restoration projects – including roof replacement, engineering studies and remediation efforts – on some of the more than 800 archaeological sites and nearly 400 historical structures under the protection of the state parks system.

Get the latest information about this year’s state parks centennial celebration – including special events and programs, merchandise and keepsakes, celebratory videos and volunteer and donation opportunities – at Michigan.gov/StateParks100. Anyone sharing their centennial stories and posts is encouraged to keep the conversation going with the hashtag #MiStateParks100.

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Hartwick Pines Memorial Building Re-opens for Summer Tours After First Phase of Renovation

Visitors invited to share their memories of the northern Michigan destination, plus ideas and support for next steps

Historic black and white photo of exterior of the Hartwick Pines Memorial Building, c. 1929.

20MAY19-From 1929 to 1995, visitors to Hartwick Pines State Park entered through a large, two-story “log cabin” located just steps from M-93. Called the “Memorial Building” to honor Grayling native and lumberman Edward Hartwick, who died in World War I, it provided a grand introduction to the park’s pristine natural landscape. Generations of visitors marveled at the large stone fireplace, climbed stairs to see exhibits on the mezzanine and took in views of the park’s old growth forest from its wide porch.

Now, after a 24-year closure, visitors will get their first glimpse of initial changes at the landmark building as it reopens to the public Memorial Day weekend for guided tours following a partnership repair and cleaning effort by the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division, the Michigan History Center and Friends of Hartwick Pines.

Edward Hartwick was a Grayling native and a successful lumberman and military officer.“Over the years, visitors have shared so many stories about how they remember walking through the building with their parents and grandparents. Having the Memorial Building open to the public once again means families can revisit old memories and create new ones,” said Craig Kasmer, park interpreter.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 24, Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26, guests to the park can tour the building with a guide who will provide information on the history of the park and building. To join a tour, visitors must enter through the park’s main entrance (please do not park on M-93.) A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry.

The Memorial Building will be open for tours throughout the summer, depending on staff and volunteer availability. Call the Visitor Center at 989-348-2537 for the current tour schedule.

Park history

View of a trail through the old growth forest at Hartwick Pines State ParkThe reopening of the building coincides with another big Michigan  milestone: the 100-year anniversary of Michigan state parks.

“We wanted to reopen the building this year, because 2019 is the state parks’ centennial year,” said Denise Dawson, park supervisor. “It was important for us to commemorate this important anniversary by sharing Hartwick Pines' unique history.”

Hartwick Pines became Michigan’s eighth state park in 1927, when Karen Hartwick purchased more than 8,000 acres of land, including 85 acres of old-growth white pine, just northeast of Grayling. The next day, she donated the land to the State of Michigan for a memorial park to be named for her husband, the late Major Edward E. Hartwick. Edward Hartwick, a Grayling native, successful lumberman and officer in the U.S. Army, died of cerebrospinal meningitis in 1918 while serving in France during World War I.

Karen Hartwick holds her son Robert in 1907.Karen Hartwick included the construction of the Memorial Building in the deed agreement with the State of Michigan. It was built in 1929 from red pine logs that were cut nearby.

In 1934 and 1935, a Civilian Conservation Corps work crew located within the park made improvements to the interior of the Memorial Building and built two log structures to house a logging museum.

As part of the state parks centennial celebration, the public is invited and encouraged to share their memories of the Memorial Building and park all year long. Visitors can share their memories of the historic structure while touring the building, or post them on the state parks centennial memory map at Michigan.gov/StateParks100.

Building renovation

The Memorial Building's old exhibitsWhile the building has been maintained and monitored over the last two decades, its age and composition have created preservation challenges. A 2016 inspection revealed a powder-post beetle infestation in the building’s wooden structure and interior. While still structurally sound, the building’s walls and exhibit cases were being damaged by the wood-eating insects. In 2017, the DNR completed a successful fumigation that eliminated the infestation and ended the destruction.

“The inside of the building had been untouched since 1995,” said park historian Hillary Pine. “All the exhibits were still inside. It was almost like a time capsule. Unfortunately, they were in bad shape from the insect damage and needed to be removed. But now we have an opportunity to create something new in this impressive space.”

The freshly cleaned building now offers a blank slate for future use. Renovations and improvements are still needed, such as upgrading electrical and plumbing systems, meeting Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines and replacing porch beams that have rotted after 90 years of exposure to the elements.

Interior of the Hartwick Pines Memorial Building in October 2018.“We also want to put new exhibits and attractions into the building that share the history of the forest, of Karen and Edward Hartwick and of the generations of families who have enjoyed the park,” said Kasmer. “We need help not only with ideas, but also in donations.”

There are two easy ways to give. Visit Hartwick Pines State Park and donate at the Memorial Building or text “Memorial” to 80888 to receive a link to a dedicated donation site.

For more information about renovations, exhibits, and tour and support opportunities at Hartwick Pines State Park and the Memorial Building, contact historian Hillary Pine at 989-348-2537 or PineH@Michigan.gov.

 

 

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Applications Accepted by June 7th for NRC Youth Conservation Council

Three Youth Conservation Council members sit around a fire close to dusk.20MAY19-Young people with a passion for protecting and improving Michigan’s natural areas, meeting new friends, gaining leadership experience and having fun outdoors are encouraged to apply for a spot on the Michigan Natural Resources Commission’s Youth Conservation Council.
The Department of Natural Resources is accepting
applications from youth ages 14 to 18, and all applications must be postmarked or emailed by June 7th.
Council members will explore Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities, work as a team to develop ideas to get other youth outside and discuss solutions to natural resource challenges – all under the guidance of the DNR.
“The council is a great opportunity for young people to discuss and share their unique perspective on all aspects of Michigan's outdoors,” said Ray Rustem, Youth Conservation Council advisor. “These youth get to make new friends that have similar interests, too. Several of our first members tell me they still maintain social media connections with members they met on the council. It is these associations that will grow and be a base for continuing our state’s remarkable outdoor tradition.”

A council appointment lasts two years, and members will be expected to participate in two to three meetings each year. During the meetings, members participate in discussions, conduct research and brainstorm ideas about ways to protect, promote and enhance outdoor recreation and the use of Michigan's natural resources. During their time on the council, members will meet with local department personnel to enhance their learning experience.

In addition, members will be expected to:

  • Attend a Natural Resources Commission meeting.
  • Write and submit three articles on outdoor activities for the Youth Conservation Council blog.
  • Help develop and participate in local events to encourage kids to get outdoors.

Two YCC members on a dock; behind them, a third member is in a kayak.The council is continuing to explore how to use social media to engage youth, and already has developed a Facebook page, established a youth blog and an Instagram account (#yccoutdoors) to share their favorite outdoor experiences.
“If spending time working with other young people who care about Michigan’s woods and water and the future of natural resources sounds like your kind of thing, please apply today,” Rustem said. “One of the best things about the Youth Conservation Council is the new faces and new ideas that join the conversation every year. These young people are helping shape the future of our outdoor landscape.”
Applications are available on the DNR website, along with frequently asked questions that offer more detail about the Youth Conservation Council.
Applications can be emailed to
rustemr@michigan.gov. Physical applications must be postmarked by June 7 and can be mailed to:

NRC Youth Conservation Council

ATTN: Raymond Rustem

P.O. Box 30028 Lansing, MI 48909

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. The Youth Conservation Council is an important part of reaching these goals. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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Governor Whitmer Approves $26 Million in Outdoor Recreation Development and Acquisition Grants

16MAY19-Governor Gretchen Whitmer today signed legislation creating more opportunities for quality outdoor recreation by authorizing $26 million in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants.
“Creating more avenues for people to connect with Michigan’s beautiful outdoor spaces encompasses what Pure Michigan means. Investing in Michigan’s beautiful outdoor spaces can help economic growth while providing a physical and mental health boost to Michiganders,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund support is critical to opening up more opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.”
House Bill 4244, sponsored by Rep. Phil Green, approves funding for 64 recreation development projects and land purchases recommended by the board. It is now Public Act 12 of 2019.
The Trust Fund board recommends funding to both state and local agencies for development projects and land acquisitions that will increase the quality and quantity of public outdoor recreation opportunities. This round of grant funding reflects continued support of:

  • Trail systems, specifically those – like the Iron Belle Trail – with broad regional and statewide impact.
  • Acquisitions of high-quality, unique natural resources including scenic river frontage, geologic features, wildlife habitat and Great Lake access.
  • An extensive range of development projects that expand opportunities across Michigan for camping, fishing, biking, hiking and snowmobiling.

This year the board recommended $18.6 million in acquisition grants and nearly $7.4 million in recreation development grants. Of the $18.6 million recommended to fund acquisition projects, $12 million would be awarded to local units of government, while the remaining $6.6 million would be awarded to the Department of Natural Resources to support diverse projects including:

  • The acquisition of an improved riverfront trail way along the Detroit River in Wayne County. This critical expansion – the West Riverfront Park Trail Connection – will link the east and west portions of the riverfront into the future Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park. This collaborative project includes funding from the Department of Transportation and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.
  • A new Tahquamenon River access site, providing even more water-based recreation opportunities at this popular eastern Upper Peninsula destination.
  • In the northern Lower Peninsula’s Presque Isle County, the acquisition of roughly 80 acres of primarily upland aspen forest, 1,680 feet of Little Ocqueoc River corridor, 12 acres of wetlands and excellent winter deeryard and habitat for a variety of wildlife. The property, which will be part of the state forest system, will consolidate state land management in this area, will be managed for timber and wildlife and fisheries habitat, and will offer prime natural resources-based recreation opportunities including hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, camping, snowmobiling and wildlife watching.

Of the $7.4 million recommended to fund development grants, $6.8 million would support 30 local government projects and $540,000 would support four DNR projects.
Collectively, the $26 million of Trust Fund grants is matched with nearly $16 million of additional funding for a total of $41.9 million being invested in land acquisition and development projects across the state.
“I am proud that this legislation authorizing Trust Fund grants enjoyed such strong, bipartisan support throughout the Legislature,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “This action sends the message that Michigan places a high value on quality, outdoor recreation opportunities, and that we’re committed to protecting our beautiful, natural spaces for everyone’s use and enjoyment.”
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund that was established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of land for resource protection and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded through interest earned on funds derived from the development of publicly owned minerals, primarily oil and gas, and can only be used for public outdoor recreation. Over the past 40 years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1 billion to local units of government and the DNR to develop and improve public outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan.
The Trust Fund board's recommendations go to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the appropriation process. The Legislature then forwards a bill to the governor for her approval.

Descriptions of the development projects and acquisition projects approved by Gov. Whitmer are available at Michigan.gov/MNRTF.

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Conservation Officers Offer Important ORV Safety Tips

A view from behind of off-road vehicles riding away down a dirt trail, lined with mature trees14MAY19-Speed and reckless driving are the primary contributing factors for off-road vehicle accidents, with 24 percent of all ORV accidents reported in 2017 resulting from people driving too fast, and 16 percent of riders not wearing a helmet.
Michigan DNR conservation officers are seeing more ORVs hitting the trail earlier in the season. They're also seeing more accidents, which easily could be avoided by keeping safety in mind.
Most ORV accidents can be avoided by riding at a safe speed, riding sober, riding on the right side of the trail, easing up around corners, being familiar with the terrain and riding within the ORV’s limits.
“There may be designated ORV speed limits on public roadways approved for ORVs,” said Conservation Officer Ben Shively, who patrols Oceana County. “And while there are no posted speeds on trails, riders can receive a citation for excessive speed or reckless riding.”
It’s also important to wear a helmet and to remember that there are many ORVs on the trails, including a growing number of side-by-side vehicles.

Ride Right campaign graphic

“We want to remind riders to take corners easy and ride on the right side of the trail,” said Conservation Officer Josiah Killingbeck, who patrols Lake County. “Side-by-sides are wider than dirt bikes and quads, taking up more room on the trails. You never know what’s around the corner.”
Conservation officers are seeing a big increase in ORV users drinking and driving, according to Killingbeck.
“ORV riding is a great sport,” he said. “Families and youth are enjoying it – please be responsible and ride sober so everyone can continue to enjoy this sport.”
To learn more about ORV safety and rules or to view an interactive, printable map of state roads available for ORV use, go to Michigan.gov/ORVInfo or Michigan.gov/RideRight.

For more information, contact Cpl. John Morey, 989-732-3541.

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ICYMI: You Found a Fawn on its Own; Now What?

A fawn curled up in the grass14MAY19-It happens every spring. You're outside walking, enjoying the fresh air, blooming flowers and budding trees, when you spot it – a tawny, wide-eyed fawn, curled up in the grass. What should you do? Nothing.

In case you missed it, the DNR recently shared some information about this very scenario, including some facts about how deer care for and place their babies in seemingly "abandoned" areas:

A thicket, a patch of tall grass and a quiet spot in your back yard – all places that fawns have been found. For the first few weeks of a white-tailed deer fawn’s life, its mother will hide it in secluded locations. This behavior helps reduce the potential of predators finding the fawn.

While fawns may seem abandoned, they rarely are. All wild white-tailed deer begin life this way. Read the full story here.

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Oden Hatchery Readies for 10,000 Arctic Grayling Eggs

Arctic grayling swimming in a tank14MAY19-Michigan’s plan to reintroduce Arctic grayling to state waters is taking a big leap forward, courtesy of some generous donors and partners.

Plans are under way to install an ultraviolet water disinfection system at the DNR’s Oden State Fish Hatchery in Emmet County. The system, which should be in place by mid-August, is critical for both cultivating Arctic grayling and other fish broodstock – mature fish used for breeding – and ensuring that waters receiving those fish are protected from potential pathogens (things that can cause disease).

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support to bring this upgrade to Oden State Fish Hatchery, where protecting water quality is key to sustaining healthy fisheries across the state,” said Ed Eisch, manager of the DNR Fish Production Program.

The state of Alaska is providing Michigan with three “year classes” of wild Arctic grayling eggs. A year class is a group of fish of the same species and strain that hatched in the same year. Michigan’s first year class of eggs was collected a week ago at the Ruth Barnett Sport Fish Hatchery in Fairbanks, Alaska, with fish caught out of the Chena River. The eggs were collected by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, with assistance from Michigan DNR staff. Michigan State University PhD candidate Nicole Watson will be bringing back enough eggs – roughly 10,000 – to run her second year of experiments and produce the state’s first year class of broodstock.

A DNR fisheries staff member collecting Arctic grayling eggs on a trip to AlaskaThese eggs initially will be reared in isolation at the Oden hatchery. Once cleared by fish health testing, they’ll be transferred to Marquette State Fish Hatchery. During broodstock development, scientific evaluations will continue on the Manistee River and begin on the Jordan, Maple and Boardman rivers to determine suitability for reintroduction.

More than $350,000 was raised to upgrade Oden’s isolated rearing facility, including engineering and construction costs. Major gifts were granted by Henry E. and Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Trout Unlimited, the DNR, Rosso Family Foundation, Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, Oleson Foundation, Rotary Charities of Traverse City, Friends of the Jordan River Watershed and supporters of the Little Traverse Conservancy.

Learn more about the initiative at MiGrayling.org.

Questions? Contact Ed Eisch, 231-922-6055 or Archie Martell (Little River Band of Ottawa Indians), 231-398-2193.

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A Photography Moment, Outside the Door, at the Side Of The Road

By JOHN PEPIN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

“Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing,” – Pete Seeger

A crocus garden around an old truck tire, beneath an apple tree, is shown.13MAY19-Rolling through the bucolic countryside on some forgotten copper-claim byway, I glanced over my shoulder as I crested a small hill.
When I saw what I saw I pulled the car into the crunching gravel at the side of the road. I turned around and headed back, parking on the shoulder.
Just beyond a shallow ditch was a house set back off the road. There was an old, leafless apple tree to the side of the front yard. The gnarled, gray fingers and upturned arms of this old matriarch reached wide to protect a sublime treasure lying beneath.
Around the sides of a big, knobby tractor tire were dozens and dozens of blooming crocuses, white, purple and even a handful colored yellow, bright and bold like buttercups. I had never seen so many crocuses in one place – it was like a sea of purple and white, moving slowly with bursts of wind that blew across the brown grass of the yard.

I wanted to take some close-up photographs of this wonderful spray of heaven. I turned to approach the house to knock on the door to ask permission. When I did, I stood shocked to see that not only was no one at home, but the house was dark, broken and abandoned.

Purple, white and yellow crocuses provided a dazzling sight outside an abandoned home.The house was a green, metal, put-together kind of structure with white pines standing tall in a row behind. An old car was left in the back. Some animal had chewed through the screens that covered the doors.
The concrete foundation had big holes in it. The roof line was busted uneven, and the steps were gone from under a sliding glass door that sat about midway down the length of the house. No sidewalk, pathway or trail through the grass was discernable.
All kinds of questions were swirling around in my head, basically amounting to, “What happened here?”
By the look of things, this house had once indeed been a home. There had been someone here to drive the old car, to likely walk out to the mailbox on a warm summer’s day and sit underneath the pines on a cool autumn evening.
And there was someone here who obviously admired the simple and profound magic produced by mixing sunlight, rich earth, a little bit of rain and a few flowering plants. I wondered whether this unknown gardener was here long enough to witness for themselves the exquisite crocus garden beneath the twisted branches of the apple tree.

A patch of white crocuses was a dramatic highlight in this beautiful garden.Did someone die, lose a job, divorce, go to jail or endure some other hardship? I saw no toys or swings or other signs of children around the place. I was reminded of something Bob Dylan wrote: “I see the screws breaking loose, I see the devil pounding on tin, I see a house in the country being torn apart from within.”
Did these people maybe just leave to be gone for good? Gone from the hardscrabble living a lot more than a few people find within these remnant locations – scatterings of bleak houses, situated between rusted railroad tracks, broken-down, left-behind schools, country stores and the cracked pavement off blacktopped county roads that inevitably lead to nowhere special?
There was no way to know, at least not from where I was standing.
John Fogerty wrote, “Looking out across this town, kinda makes me wonder how all the things that made us great got left so far behind. This used to be a peaceful place, decent folks, hard-working ways.”
That spring day, I was like most people, I suspect.

I was on my way to another thing, in another place, with my watch running slow amid the relentless crush of demands of this world, and its nagging “Where-are-you?” technology, tugging at the corner of my jacket.
It felt like someone had a hold of my arm, leading me away from this lonesome and quiet place where I could have sat all afternoon, just wondering.

A beautiful crocus garden was growing off the side of the road.Before I left, I did take several photos of the dazzling spring crocuses.
I wanted to bring with me a little bit of that garden out from under the shadows of that apple tree and whatever happened to those folks in the green-metal house.
I wanted to shine for these people a little bit of the light they’d left behind in their presumed misfortune – that magnificent blanket of flowers. And so, I share this story and photos to try to spread around the beauty left outside the door, at the side of the road.
Of course, I could have this whole thing wrong.
Maybe the people who once lived here found a big payday somehow – a la “Kinfolk said, ‘Jed, move away from there.’” I want to hope that’s what happened – “swimming pools, movie stars” – however unlikely.

At the very least, I hope they made out alright someplace else, in another state, country or atmosphere.
Maybe right now, there’s a lady on her knees in the green, spring grass, with a garden spade, digging a hole in the ground.
In the distance, there’s an old man approaching. He’s taking a good long time to get there because he’s trying to roll a big, knobby truck tire in a straight line. He’s going to roll that wheel until it falls over on its side next to the lady, under the shade of an aging apple tree.
In the skies above, swallows tip and turn, the breezes are warm and light.

Some of the beauty from the crocus garden is shown.

Back up on their new porch, with the green-metal roof, the couple will later sit and sip something sweet while the sun falls behind the pines. Cool air descends, bringing down the purple night.
Those tough times they might have had trying to make a life living in the Michigan north woods exist now only in their dreams and memories, a long time gone. Maybe there’s a picture of their Michigan crocus garden hanging on their wall.
Meanwhile, that old house, with the torn screens and sagging frame, sits alongside the road with the howling elements of nature pounding a little harder on the roof and walls each year – sensing weakness in the structure, the inevitable decay and demise.
But under that tree remains, a delight for the eyes and the soul – a promise of renewal, regeneration and revival – the purple and white crocuses, with a few dashes of yellow sprinkled in.
No more than a few inches tall, they have the unlikely power to stop a passing car whirring along the roadside, to make a man get out with a camera to wonder and to think.

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 Michigan.gov/DNR.

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Explore Michigan's Wetland Wonders and Win!

During the DNR's new Wetland Wonders Challenge (now through July 14), visitors are invited to visit one of Michigan's Wetland Wonders, snap a photo by the official challenge sign and then submit it for a chance to win a gift card. Scattered across the state, these areas provide great year-round recreation opportunities like birding, boating, fishing, hiking and hunting, not to mention capturing great photos.

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Eight Projects to Share $1.25 Million in DNR's Aquatic Habitat Grants

A group of contractors work along a river shoreline to stabilize it09MAY19-Fish and other aquatic species need healthy habitats in order to grow, reproduce and support Michigan’s valuable fisheries, but degraded habitat threatens their populations throughout the state. Through its Aquatic Habitat Grants Program – which annually provides $1.25 million to fund habitat conservation projects around the state – the Department of Natural Resources supports the efforts of its partners to protect and restore fish populations and habitat.

Nonprofit organizations, local governments and state government agencies this year submitted a total of 24 pre-proposals requesting $4.66 million in grant funding. The DNR reviewed these requests and will fund eight projects through the program.

“These projects are critical to protecting and restoring the aquatic habitats that produce our world-class fisheries and support healthy aquatic ecosystems throughout the state,” said Jim Dexter, chief of the DNR Fisheries Division.

Applicants receiving Aquatic Habitat Grant funding this year include:

  • Conservation Resource Alliance, $210,000 to remove two undersized culverts to allow fish passage on the Pere Marquette River.
  • Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, $37,185 to restore approximately 200 feet of degraded shoreline on Lake Charlevoix (Charlevoix County) using bioengineering techniques that will serve as a demonstration for the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership’s contractor training program and an example of shoreline bioengineering in an area with high wave energy.
  • Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, $93,238 to replace a road/stream crossing on the Crooked River (Emmet County) with a channel-spanning bridge allowing fish and aquatic organisms to migrate from Pickerel Lake into the Crooked River watershed.
  • Huron Pines, $50,000 to remove an obsolete and partially failed dam on the Middle Branch of the Cedar River (Clare County).
  • Trout Unlimited, $180,000 to improve road/stream crossings on Big Devil, Boswell and Peterson creeks (Kalkaska, Manistee and Wexford counties) that served as barriers to fish and aquatic species in the Manistee River watershed.
  • Golden Lotus, Inc., $91,115 to implement Phase III of its project to rehabilitate the Pigeon River at the site of the former Song of the Morning dam (Otsego County). This dam was removed in 2016, and the current project will mitigate erosion occurring within the former impoundment and rehabilitate the stream into a more natural channel.
  • Columbus Township, $449,750 to rehabilitate over 2,000 feet of the Belle River (St. Clair County) for native mussels and anadromous fish (those that are born in fresh water, spend most of their life in the sea and return to fresh water to spawn).
  • The Marquette County Conservation District, $138,712 to replace a culvert on Norwald Creek and restore 650 feet of Brickyard Creek.

The Aquatic Habitat Grant Program is funded by revenues from fishing and hunting license fees. This funding will be available in the next cycle through the new Fisheries Habitat Grant. The DNR will announce the request for proposals for this grant at the end of July.

Learn more about these programs and other grant opportunities at Michigan.gov/DNRGrants.

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Public Comments Response Summary Available;
Dredging Work Set to Begin at Buffalo Reef in the Keweenaw

Project backed by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding

08MAY19-With dredging work set to start off the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior, the Buffalo Reef Task Force has prepared a summary responding to public comments made on a Draft Preliminary Alternatives Analysis issued earlier this year.
The alternatives analysis issued in February briefly described 13 strategies for managing historic copper mine tailings threatening to destroy spawning habitat and recruitment areas important to Lake Superior whitefish and lake trout in and around Buffalo Reef.
The reef is situated off the mouth of the Big Traverse River in Houghton County.

Mine tailings, called stamp sands, were dumped a century ago into Lake Superior at Gay, Michigan, during processing of copper ores from the Mohawk and Wolverine mines. Since that time, with wave action, the sands have moved south along the shoreline toward the reef.

The task force sought public comment on whether there are additional management strategies the group should consider and whether any adjustments should be made to the management strategies or risks described in the draft analysis. The public comment period closed March 8.

The Responsiveness Summary compiled by the task force is now available.

“The comments we received will be incorporated into the draft,” said Stephanie Swart, a Buffalo Reef Task Force Steering Committee member and lake coordinator with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Environment. “Our next steps are to finish the Preliminary Alternatives Analysis by including cost estimates and a tentative ranking of the alternatives.”
Swart said the task force plans to release the completed Preliminary Alternatives Analysis in June and hold a public meeting in July in Lake Linden. The analysis will be used to select the top two to four best alternatives. Detailed analysis of those options will then begin in the fall of this year.

Meanwhile, dredging of the Grand Traverse Harbor and the “trough” area, situated north of Buffalo Reef will begin in the next week or two and is expected to continue into July.
This project is being executed in cooperation between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy to save the 2,200-acre Buffalo Reef.

To find out more about the effort to save Buffalo Reef, including media photos, visit www.Michigan.gov/BuffaloReef.

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Happy 100th Birthday, Michigan State Parks!

three ilttle girls with smiling, dirty faces, having a good time at a state park07MAY19-From Belle Isle in Detroit, all the way to the "Porkies" in the west end of the Upper Peninsula, Michigan is home to 103 state parks that offer the best in outdoor recreation, nature programming and gorgeous green spaces.
It all started in 1919 with the creation of the Michigan State Park Commission, and this year (officially May 12) marks the 100th anniversary of the state parks system. Many campers already have booked their spots to be a part of this historic weekend, but there's a full year of special events and programs planned to celebrate this milestone, too, including:

  • Campfire storytelling dates throughout the summer.
  • Happy Little Trees (with Bob Ross Inc.) tree-planting events.
  • A centennial geo-caching tour around Michigan.
  • Special events (yoga on the beach, learn to fish and more).
  • Centennial-themed T-shirts, hats and other gear that gives back.
  • Plenty of volunteer opportunities to show your state park love!

Learn all about the state parks centennial at Michigan.gov/StateParks100 and find your favorite way to celebrate.

Schedule of events:

Saturday, June 22nd at Interlochen State Park
Saturday, July 10th at Van Riper State Park in Champion
Saturday, August 17th at the Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit

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New Wildtalk Podcast: Birds, Skunks, Wetlands & More

Wildtalk podcast graphic showing an elk profile and a pair of hands holding headphones, on a wood background07MAY19-Each month the DNR Wildlife Division releases a new episode of the Wildtalk podcast, a fun and interesting look inside the world of Michigan's wildlife and the people who help take care of it.
 

In the May episode, you'll find out what DNR wildlife staff have been up to around the state, talk birds and the MI Birds partnership with Erin Rowan, and hear listener questions – on topics ranging from skunk removal to salt blocks to fawns found alone – answered in the mailbag segment. The episode wraps up with a discussion about activities on public land and the Explore MI Wetland Wonders Challenge.
 

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

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ICYMI: Need-to-Know Info for Wild Mushroom Season

Little boy in overalls, standing in front of a house, with a net bag of morels in one hand, with his other hand outstretched holding a morel07MAY19-The hunt for wild mushrooms is on in Michigan, and people are searching the forests for these coveted, tasty treasures – both for their own enjoyment and for selling to others.

Before you join the hunt, though, there are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to properly identifying mushrooms, choosing ideal locations to search and understanding Michigan's Food Code requirements governing who sells hand-picked mushrooms. 

In case you missed it, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recently wrote about wild mushroom season and things for consumers and restaurateurs to know. Read the full story before beginning your mushroom hunt! For additional information, check out the DNR's newly updated Michigan morels webpage at Michigan.gov/MiMorels.

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On The Road Again: DNR Fish Stock Trucks

a side view of a Michigan DNR fish-stocking truck, with pine trees in the background

07MAY19-If you’ve been driving Michigan’s highways and back roads in recent weeks, you might have spotted DNR fish-stocking trucks nearby. The department is right in the middle of its spring stocking season, which means there’s a good chance of coming across one of these trucks releasing its prized recreational cargo – thousands of fish – at hundreds of locations throughout the state.
Stocking is a valuable tool used by fisheries managers to restore, improve and create fishing opportunities in Michigan’s inland lakes and streams and the Great Lakes.
The DNR accomplishes this task by rearing fish at its six fish-production facilities, cooperatively managing up to 29 rearing ponds and six Great Lakes imprinting net pen/pond locations and maintaining a fleet of 18 specialized fish-stocking vehicles.
Every year, the DNR stocks more than 20 million fish weighing more than 350 tons. Species stocked include steelhead; Atlantic, chinook and coho salmon; splake, brown, brook, lake and rainbow trout, plus muskellunge and walleye. Beginning in mid-March and ending in early June, DNR trucks will travel well over 100,000 miles to stock more than a thousand locations.

For information on local fish-stocking locations, visit MichiganDNR.com/FishStock.

Questions? Contact Steve VanDerLaan, 269-668-2696, ext. 26.

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MI Cultural Treasures Preserved, Protected and Shared by the DNR

By SUZANNE FISCHER - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

State Archivist Mark Harvey and archivist Andrea Gietzen pull several of the original architectural drawings of the state's capitol for scanning.

03MAY19-Most people already know that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources manages elk herds and stands of pine – but how about historic photos, a 1957 Corvette and a historic fort on the Keweenaw Peninsula?
All these things are part of Michigan’s cultural resources, also managed by the DNR.
For more than a decade, the DNR has committed in its mission to preserving, protecting, stewarding, and sharing cultural resources – as well as natural resources – for the people of Michigan.
“Cultural resources are the state’s treasures that were made by people in Michigan and are evidence of their lives and stories,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center in Lansing. “Like natural resources, they are held in trust by the DNR for the people of Michigan, to make sure that the state’s history and culture are documented, preserved and shared.”

Cultural resources give lives meaning. They’re the things that tell stories of who we were and how and why and where we live and lived. They’re historic houses, stores, offices, sawmills and blast furnaces.
“Cultural resources, like the Sanilac Petroglyphs in Sanilac County, are gifts from Michigan’s first peoples to their current descendants,” said Stacy Tchorzynski, archaeologist with the State Historic Preservation Office. “They’re tools and ceramics uncovered to help reconstruct a community’s daily life.”

Historian Barry James hands a piece of pottery to a student on an archaeological dig in the Upper Peninsula.They’re objects, tens of thousands of them – from Civil War rifles and satellite dishes to lead service pipes from Flint – that tell stories of our state.
“Cultural resources include millions of records of the births, deaths, naturalization, imprisonment and freedom of Michigan’s people,” said state archivist Mark Harvey. “They’re the official records of state and local government and the hand-written diaries and letters of famous and everyday people.”
Cultural resources are images of Michigan, the historic photos that allow us to see into the past.
Several DNR divisions manage Michigan’s cultural resources.
The Michigan History Center takes care of, and provides access to, the state’s historic objects, documents and photographs. Within the center, the Michigan History Museum collects artifacts that relate to the history, culture and people of Michigan.
“These collections include more than 130,000 artifacts ranging from farm tools to elegant 19th-century textiles and streamlined 20th-century automobiles,” Clark said.

Archaeologists with the State Historic Preservation Office train museum visitors how to conduct an archaeological dig.

The Archives of Michigan is responsible for preserving the records of Michigan government and other public institutions. With documents dating back to 1792, the archives house much of Michigan's recorded heritage.
“We have more than 120 million state and local government records and private papers, 10 million photographs and 50,000 maps, plus films and audio tapes are available for research,” Harvey said.
The Michigan History Center collaborates with the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division to interpret and preserve historic sites at eight state parks in Michigan.
Among these sites are Fayette Historic State Park in Delta County, with its astonishingly complete 19th-century iron-processing company townsite located on the Garden Peninsula; Cambridge Junction State Park in Lenawee County, home to the historic Walker Tavern; and Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, a site in Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula that dates back to the days of the mid-1840s Copper Rush.

Friends groups associated with the historic state parks collaborate with the Michigan History Center and the DNR to preserve and share these one-of-a-kind cultural resources with a broad public.
“The DNR is not only responsible for managing the state’s great natural resources, but also many of the state’s unique cultural resources,” said Bob Wild, park supervisor at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper Harbor. “Partnering with entities like friends groups and the Michigan Historical Center helps the DNR to best preserve these wonderful cultural treasures.”
The DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division’s Stewardship Unit also manages cultural resources found within Michigan’s 103 state parks, from Fresnel lenses in Michigan’s historic lighthouses to historic structures of all kinds.

Artifacts recovered and displayed at Fort Wilkins help park visitors gain a deeper understanding of the history of the former military post.Even a state park toilet-shower building can be a cultural resource. During in the 1930s and 40s, enrollees in the Civilian Conservation Corps built a great deal of state park infrastructure in Michigan, including roads and bridges, picnic pavilions and decorative stone walls and gates – like the ones at Bewabic State Park in Iron County – and these historic toilet-shower buildings.
Mackinac State Historic Parks, another DNR division, manages historic sites, structures and objects relating to the history of the Straits of Mackinac on Mackinac Island and in Mackinaw City.
The state’s buried cultural resources, the archaeological evidence of people’s lives as seen in pottery, fire-cracked rock and bottles of medicine, are managed by the Office of the State Archaeologist, housed in the State Historic Preservation Office at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
This office manages objects found in the ground as well as objects found underwater, on the “bottomlands” of the Great Lakes, where shipwrecks have come to rest. The Center partners with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in managing the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena.

While cultural resources may not be the first thing many people think of when they think of the DNR, the department’s role as steward of our cultural heritage cannot be diminished.
From photographs and maps to personal records, historic forts and sunken ships, Michigan’s cultural treasures are the ingredients that help people and communities find, learn and share their own stories.

Get more information on Michigan’s cultural resources at Michigan.gov/MHC.
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 Michigan.gov/DNR.

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State Park Stewardship Volunteers Needed Throughout May

stewardship volunteer holding invasive garlic mustard she has pulled01MAY19-The DNR will host a number of volunteer stewardship workdays in May at state parks in southeast and southwest Michigan.

Volunteers are needed to remove garlic mustard, an invasive plant that threatens native habitats. Workdays are an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors while restoring Michigan's ecosystems and learning about its inhabitants.

Workday details (including meeting locations, the stewardship volunteer registration form and links to individual park maps and directions) are available on the DNR website at Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers. Volunteers are asked to register either by using the form or by emailing freih@michigan.gov.

May stewardship workdays:

  • Saturday, May 25: Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 25: Holland State Park (Ottawa County), 10 a.m. to noon
  • Saturday, May 25: Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 25: Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 26: Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Friday, May 31: Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Find more information about these and other volunteer opportunities on the DNR’s volunteer events calendar.

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Help the DNR Plant 'Happy Little Trees'

DNR Happy Little Trees t-shirt design, with Bob Ross01MAY19-People around the world are familiar with the work and personality of Bob Ross, the American painter, art instructor and television host who in the ’80s and ’90s shared his love for painting and the environment with millions of viewers on the public television show, “The Joy of Painting.” Ross was known for demonstrating seemingly simple brushstrokes that brought gorgeous landscapes – full of happy little trees – to life on the canvas.
Inspired by the state parks centennial celebration, the DNR and Bob Ross Inc. are partnering on the
Happy Little Trees tree-planting program in state parks. The program helps campgrounds recover from the effects of emerald ash borer and other forest pests by planting native trees with local genetics to help repopulate these areas with appropriate trees for the environment. These trees are grown specifically for replanting at state parks in the same region.
Volunteers are needed to help plant this year’s family of Happy Little Trees. Though it’s too soon to finalize planting dates, the DNR has selected planting locations.
Sign up to be a volunteer, select your location(s), and you’ll be notified about event specifics as they are set for May and June. (Please note that space is limited at each location; signing up does not guarantee a volunteer spot.) Each volunteer will get a Happy Planting T-shirt featuring Bob Ross.

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Give 100: Help Raise Funds for Your Favorite State Parks

Give 100 logo01MAY19-For 100 years, Michigan state parks have forged family traditions, solidified friendships and been part of countless lifelong memories.
 

During the Michigan state parks centennial year, the “Give 100” fundraising effort gives people who love the parks a chance to contribute toward improvements at their favorite state parks and be one of the first 100 people to give $100 to one of Michigan’s 100-plus state parks.
 

Make a donation at Michigan.gov/StateParks100 or by texting GIVE to 71777 to help raise these important funds.

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Help Guard Michigan's Sturgeon

01MAY19-"Sturgeon for Tomorrow" is seeking volunteers to join in its effort, in partnership with the DNR, to help protect lake sturgeon from illegal harvest. Hundreds of volunteers are needed to stand guard along the Black River during the spawning season (mid-April through early June) to report suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this iconic fish. Volunteers also can play a key role by recording the number and activity of fish they see. Register to volunteer.

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Become a Community Scientist

01MAY19-Community science programs provide essential information for scientists working to better understand wildlife – they can’t be everywhere all the time, and they depend on nature lovers and backyard biologists to report what you see! Birds are especially easy to observe because they are far more conspicuous than other wildlife, and spring is a great season to get involved in helping monitor them. There are several bird-related community science opportunities in Michigan this spring.  Contact your local DNR office to see if you can help or click on the link in this article.

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Anglers Help Protect Michigan’s Waters from Invasive Mud Snails

By JOANNE FOREMAN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A closer look at New Zealand mudsnails is shown.26APR19-Thousands of anglers across the state are poised to dip their waders into cold-water Michigan lakes, rivers and streams beginning Saturday, looking to tempt a prize "brookie", a colorful rainbow or sleek German brown trout.
As they move from one spot to the next, anglers can unknowingly help spread a devastating invasive species, the
New Zealand mud snail
“If you are going to fish different streams, be sure to clean your waders and boots,” said Jeff Gerwitz, a member of the Vanguard Chapter of Michigan Trout Unlimited, supporting Oakland County’s Paint Creek. “Some people don’t think it’s a big deal or concern, and they don’t take the time to clean and inspect between sites, but now we’re finding these mud snails in more and more places.”
New Zealand mud snails were first discovered in the U.S. in Idaho’s Snake River in 1987. Since then, infestations have spread throughout the western states and into areas of the Great Lakes.
Their discovery in the Pere Marquette River in August 2015 marked the first detection in a Michigan inland waterway. Within the next year, mud snail populations were confirmed in the Boardman and Au Sable rivers.

By 2017, they were found in the Manistee River and the Pine River near the Tippy Reservoir.

New Zealand mudsnails shown attached to a piece of wood.Greg Potter of Marshall has been involved with Trout Unlimited’s Kalamazoo Valley chapter for over 25 years and until recently served as the organization’s state education director. He is worried about the impacts of New Zealand mud snails in Michigan.
“Any time we change the environment, it’s going to do something,” he said. “Mudsnails affect the lower end of the food chain for fish, edging out insects and larvae that fish eat. We’re going to see effects from that.”   
These tiny, brown to black snails can reproduce asexually, by cloning. A single snail can produce over 200 offspring in a year, leading to dense populations in a short time.
“When I first heard of the New Zealand mud snails on the Boardman, I visited a friend who lives on the river,” said Frank Simkins, a long-time angler and member of the Adams Chapter of Trout Unlimited, serving the Traverse City area. “I waded out and the snails were really thick, on every rock and stick. That part of the river was changed, with silt and snails rising like clouds when you walked through it.”

A citizen science volunteer learns the eDNA sampling protocol on Paint Creek.

With funding from the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, Dr. Scott Tiegs and graduate researcher Jeremy Geist at Oakland University set out to track mud snail populations in Michigan.
Over the past two summers, Geist and a team of undergraduate researchers have documented a dramatic increase in density of New Zealand mud snail populations in the Au Sable River.

Engaging citizen scientists

Tiegs and Geist were eager to expand their search to other river systems, but standard survey methods were difficult and time-consuming.
In the lab, the project team designed a method for citizen scientists to collect environmental DNA samples, which can provide an early indication of the presence of New Zealand mud snails in a waterway before the snails themselves might be seen. 
The method involves collecting stream water in a large syringe fitted with a special filter that collects DNA shed from organisms.

Citizen scientists complete a training session then follow the protocols to fill the syringe five times, until one liter of water is passed through the filter. The whole sampling kit is then returned to Oakland University to test for mud snail eDNA. 
Now, through a partnership between Oakland University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan Trout Unlimited and Anglers of the Au Sable, citizen scientists like Gerwitz, Simkins and Potter are putting on their waders to test rivers and streams across the state.
“The volunteer base of Trout Unlimited puts a lot of effort into assuring our rivers and streams in Michigan are healthy and self-sustained,” said Geist. “Reaching out to these anglers who are committed to the resource was a logical step.”   
Many of the volunteers were already involved in an Adopt-a-Stream program, which monitors macro-invertebrates – insect larvae and snails that make up most fish diets.

An angler enjoys a day on the Pere Marquette River.Macro-invertebrates have proven to be good indicators of water quality and stream health. Testing for mud snail eDNA was a simple addition to the volunteer sampling efforts.
To date, no detections by eDNA sampling efforts have been verified on rivers or streams beyond the Pere Marquette, Boardman, Au Sable and Manistee rivers. 

Stopping the spread

Once introduced into a river system, New Zealand mud snails tend to travel downstream with the current and occasionally make their way upstream, possibly by being eaten and then deposited by fish. The snail’s hard shell and closeable hatch, called an operculum, help it resist digestion, providing no nutritional value to fish. 
On their own, the snails do not move far. It takes human help to introduce them to a new water body. New Zealand mud snails likely were introduced to Michigan rivers by anglers who had fished in infested waters out west, then traveled to the state without knowing that a small snail or two had hitchhiked a ride on their gear. The mud snail’s ability to seal its shell means that it can survive out of water for several weeks.

Now that the mud snails are in five rivers in Michigan, there is the potential for them to spread to many other locations. The only way to prevent their spread, and the damage they cause to the environment and fish populations, is for anglers and vacationers to take precautions.
The Oakland University team compared products and methods to determine the best way for fly fishers to decontaminate their waders. Their results indicate that a spray treatment of Formula 409 was effective in killing New Zealand mud snails.

Clean your gear

Based on this study, the team developed a simple protocol that all anglers should use before traveling to a new water body. Note that this should be done away from the water’s edge:

  • Inspect waders and remove any visible debris and sand.
  • Clean soles, seams and laces using a brush.
  • Disinfect by freezing, drying or other means, including spraying on Formula 409 and leaving it on for 20 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse the waders with clean water.
  • Dry the waders before next use.

Video play button.A short video shows just how easy it is to clean waders using this method.
A kit including a scrub brush, a bottle of Formula 409 and a gallon of water is all that is needed to decontaminate gear.
“The process is quick and can be done at home if you aren’t visiting another stream,” said Gerwitz, “but it’s very important to do it in the field if you are heading to another location.”

Spread the word

Trout Unlimited’s Michigan Trout magazine has published several articles encouraging anglers to adopt decontamination practices to avoid spreading New Zealand mud snails.
Tiegs and Geist are visiting Trout Unlimited chapter meetings to share information about the invasive snail and demonstrate the wader-cleaning process.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Law Enforcement Division is reaching out to anglers, handing out mud snail information cards at boat landings and talking with anglers to gauge their level of understanding about mud snails and decontamination practices.
The consensus is that much more needs to be done to raise awareness and encourage participation.    
“People’s habits just aren’t changing as fast as they should be,” said Simkins. “Anglers and boaters are out there because they are nature lovers, but they often just don’t want to take the time to clean their gear.”
During the upcoming trout season please be sure to take time to inspect and clean your gear – make it a new habit. When the opportunity arises, spend a moment telling your friends and fellow anglers how they can help protect the sport they love by preventing the spread of New Zealand mud snails.

For more information about invasive species and preventing their spread, visit Michigan.gov/Invasives.

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 Michigan.gov/DNR.

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Backpacking Workshop & Overnight Experience June 7th, June 15th-16th

man and girls hiking with backpacks near stream through forest

24APR19-Friday, June 7th and Saturday/Sunday, June 15th and 16th at Eddy Discovery Center in Chelsea

 

Learn the basics of backpacking – like what and how to pack, meal planning and safety – in a preparatory class. Then, during an overnight backpacking experience the following weekend, hike the Waterloo-Pinckney Trail and learn about tent setup, meal preparations and backcountry camp stove basics, to go along with a campfire and a comradery-filled evening. Cost is $40 per family, which includes dinner and breakfast.

 

Register for Backpacking Workshop and Overnight Experience.

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Attracting Butterflies with Native Plants June 8th

butterfly on flower24APR19-Saturday, June 8th, at Gillette Visitor Center in Muskegon

 

This class, including outdoor sessions with native plantings, will cover the basics of butterfly identification, life cycles and habitat needs; how to use native plants to attract butterflies and other pollinators; and how to start your own butterfly/pollinator garden. Cost is $50, which includes lunch, a field guide and other native plant gardening materials.

 

Register for Attracting Butterflies with Native Plants.

 

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

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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