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Michigan DNR News
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Michigan Army National Guard Personnel, "Porkies"
Friends Group Leader Recognized for Community Service Efforts in Upper
Army National Guard members from the 107th Engineer Battalion in Ishpeming
and Sally Berman, current president of the Friends of the Porcupine
Mountains Wilderness State Park, were Upper Peninsula recipients honored
in East Lansing recently with Michigan Recreation and Park Association (mParks)
Community Service Awards for their volunteer efforts.
Guard members were honored for their work to help build a new playground
at Van Riper State Park, while Berman was lauded for her work with the
Friends group at the Porcupine Mountains.
More than 30 Army National Guard battalion members worked on the park
playground project, with others, over the course of a few days in June
2016. They erected a Sinclair Recreation (GameTime) playground at the
park, along the shoreline of Lake Michigamme.
group of young men and women took time out of their busy lives to help us
with this important project,” said Doug Barry, park supervisor at Van
Riper. “They did a fantastic job. This could be the nicest playground in
the Upper Peninsula.”
Barry nominated the National Guard members for the award, which is
presented annually. The awards ceremony took place April 19 at the Hannah
Community Center in East Lansing.
“We are proud to honor the volunteers and agencies that make a difference
throughout the state of Michigan,” said Kyle Langlois, mParks professional
recognition chairman for the association, which is headquartered in
mParks' Community Service Awards recognize individuals and groups who show
outstanding support to public recreation and park programs in their
community, including friends’ groups, department volunteers and advocates.
playground project, valued at roughly $220,000, was spearheaded by The
Friends of Van Riper and Craig Lake State Parks.
Funding for the playground was varied and included a $90,000 grant from
the Cliffs-Lundin community foundation and some Michigan Department of
Natural Resources Friends Partnership matching grant funding. The Friends
group and DNR staff also contributed labor.
Barry said it isn’t easy necessarily to construct a quarter-million-dollar
playground with a group of volunteers.
“This was not the case with the National Guard — this is a group of
skilled, honorable young adults,” Barry said. “So skilled, in fact, that
organizers had trouble keeping up with them — a nice problem to have.”
Roughly 60 volunteers, more than half of them members of the National
Guard unit, worked on the project. When it was finished, the Guard members
brought their families out to see what they’d help build.
“Every one of the Guard smiled with joy and pride as they watched the
children play,” Barry said.
National Guard members used annual leave to volunteer to work on the
project. Work continued through rainy and windy conditions.
View a complete list of Michigan National
Guard personnel from the 107th Engineer Battalion who participated in the
playground construction project.
Berman assumed her leadership role with the "Porkies" Friends group in
She is very dedicated to the mission of the group which is: “To promote,
support, and enhance the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park,
inspiring appreciation of wilderness for current and future generations.”
“Sally is very passionate about the park and the ‘Friends of the Porkies,’”
said Jeff Gaertner, supervisor of the park. “She is the one who has, as of
late, been able to get the Friends group to focus on the needs of the park
and how they can assist us with achieving our mission, as well as their
Gaertner said Berman is very giving of her time which she donates to many
causes throughout the Ontonagon County area.
“Sally is routinely called upon by the Friends group to represent them at
local and regional events, award presentations and meetings,” Gaertner
said. “She is a leader in the entire statewide Friends groups system and
an asset for us all.”
Additional honorees from the Lower Peninsula, nominated by DNR
officials, were also honored at the recent awards ceremony.
The Seeds of Tree Appreciation are Rooted in
Tree-planting activities benefit the state’s wildlife, people,
public lands, cities and towns
than the December holiday tree-trimming season, April is probably the one
time of year when a great deal of special national attention is paid to
trees and, more specifically, planting them.
The Arbor Day Foundation is maintaining an online countdown on its website
to this Friday’s national commemoration of the one day each year we all
can “Get together and celebrate the importance of trees.”
Starting with the efforts of J. Sterling Morton, a nature-loving Detroiter
transplanted into Nebraska Territory in 1854, the roots of Arbor Day took
hold as Morton led the charge to promote the importance of trees, first to
pioneers, townspeople and schoolchildren, later to his state, and
eventually, the nation.
On the first Arbor Day, Jan. 4, 1872, more than a million trees were
estimated to have been planted in Nebraska. Arbor Day was proclaimed a
legal holiday in Nebraska in 1885 and was originally celebrated on
Morton’s April 22 birthday.
Today, National Arbor Day is always celebrated on the last Friday in
April, but many states observe Arbor Day on different dates throughout the
year based on the best tree planting times in their area, according to the
Michigan celebrates Arbor Day on the last Friday in April.
The Arbor Day Foundation said its Tree City USA program has been
greening up cities and towns across America since 1976. The program is a
nationwide movement that provides the framework necessary for communities
to manage and expand their public trees.
More than 3,400 communities have made the commitment to becoming a Tree
City USA, including
111 cities and towns in Michigan in 2016.
Two Michigan communities — Adrian and Royal Oak — have achieved the Tree
City USA designation for 40 years. Michigan ranks eighth nationally in the
number of communities certified.
“These communities have achieved the Tree City USA designation by meeting
four core standards of the program: maintaining a tree board or
department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per
capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day,” said Michigan
Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Coordinator Kevin Sayers.
1,000 second- and third-grade students from 20 pre-selected, mid-Michigan
schools will attend the State Arbor Day Celebration Friday, April 28, at
Lansing’s Potter Park Zoo.
Students from schools selected to attend the celebration will have an
opportunity to learn during a series of hands-on activity stations that
focus on trees, water, wildlife and related ecosystems.
A noon-time ceremony will include a presentation of awards and planting of
the state Arbor Day tree. Numerous sponsoring organizations are involved
in making the event a success.
“Arbor Day is the designated day for celebrating the importance of trees
and forests,” Sayers said. “Events like this will help raise awareness
about the role trees play in our lives, in our communities and in the
While there may be just one day a year specifically set aside to
celebrate trees, the importance of trees is something many organizations
focus on year-round.
A good number of these organizations spearhead volunteer efforts, many in
partnership with the DNR, to plant trees for the benefit of Michigan’s
wildlife and communities around the state.
Earlier this month, the DNR and Arbor Day Foundation partnered to give
away 1,000 trees in the City of Detroit to help beautify neighborhoods and
restore tree canopy lost to the emerald ash borer, an invasive and
In August, Michigan United Conservation Clubs – as part of On the Ground,
MUCC’s volunteer fish and wildlife habitat improvement program – brought
together 21 volunteers to plant 230 trees at the DNR’s Garden Grade GEMS
(Grouse Enhanced Management Site) in Delta County in the Upper Peninsula.
The site totals approximately 7,000 acres, dominated by aspen, northeast
of Garden and south of Cooks.
Trees and shrubs planted included ninebark, American mountain ash,
American hazelnut and highbush cranberry.
planted along logging roadways to enhance 20 acres of grouse habitat in a
recently forested stand to promote aspen regeneration,” said Sarah Topp,
wildlife volunteer coordinator for MUCC. “Grouse were spotted by a few
lucky volunteers along the way; this site will be a thriving habitat for
the gamebird in the next five to 10 years of growth.”
Topp added that, although the targeted species for this project was
grouse, other wildlife such as white-tailed deer, snowshoe hare, American
woodcock, black bear, rabbits and more will benefit from the trees and
shrubs by providing food and cover.
Cody Norton, a DNR wildlife biologist at the Shingleton field office in
Alger County, said
MUCC volunteers planted shrubs along two hunter walking trails in the
northern part of the GEMS.
worked with Ralph Lundquist of Wildlife Unlimited of Delta County to get
funding for the shrubs and Sarah Topp of MUCC to organize the
On-The-Ground event,” Norton said. “We had 21 volunteers that included
local hunters, members of MUCC, U.P. Whitetails and Ruffed Grouse Society,
DNR Forest Resources Division staff, and family members of DNR Wildlife
More recently, on March 25, a group of nearly two dozen On the Ground
volunteers planted 800 crabapple trees at Middleville State Game Area in
In the wildlife opening where the trees were planted, there have been
problems with vehicles tearing up the area. The trees not only will
provide browse for the area’s deer and wild turkey, but also will deter
vehicles from driving through the opening.
"These wildlife habitat improvement events help the DNR plant trees
and shrubs essential to quality wildlife habitat throughout the state of
Michigan,” Topp said. “Volunteers dedicate a full or half day to tackle a
project planting 500-1,000 trees on public lands that the DNR just doesn't
have the time or staff for. This program is crucial to connecting the
local hunters, trappers and anglers with wildlife conservation on our
On the Ground volunteer opportunities are
scheduled in the coming months.
from the MUCC, several other groups have helped the DNR by planting
wildlife-friendly trees and shrubs, including the National Wild Turkey
Federation, Pheasants Forever, the Ruffed Grouse Society and the Drummond
Island Conservation Club.
In the fall of 2015, volunteers from two local National Wild Turkey
Federation groups joined DNR staff at the Holly Wildlife Area in Oakland
County to plant crabapple trees in an area the volunteers had helped to
clear of black locust, brush and other invasive plants the previous
“Crabapples provide winter food for wild turkeys, as well as songbirds,
squirrels and deer,” said Holly Vaughn, DNR wildlife communications
coordinator. “The smaller crabapple is easier to eat and persists longer
into the winter than regular apples, which makes this fruit very valuable
for wintering wildlife.
“Thanks to our partners, these trees should provide mast for
wildlife for many years to come.”
Some organizations complete tree-planting projects with financial help
from DNR grant programs.
For instance, Crawford and Oscoda counties are the beneficiaries of a DNR
Wildlife Habitat Grant awarded to a group of organizations including the
National Wild Turkey Federation, Ruffed Grouse Society and Whitetails
More than 500 crabapple, hawthorn, service berry and burr oak trees, along
with more than 178 acres of food plots, were planted in the summer of
“Great year-round food sources,” said Katie Keen, DNR wildlife
communications coordinator. “In addition, two miles of hunter walking
trail were established and 200 apple trees were pruned.”
Volunteer tree-planting efforts have also played a role in one of
Michigan’s greatest conservation success stories – the recovery from the
brink of extinction of the Kirtland’s warbler.
Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance and Huron Pines, in partnership with the DNR,
Saving Birds Thru Habitat and Fairmont Santrol, sponsor an annual Jack
Pine Planting Day to help create Kirtland’s warbler habitat.
“Through the Jack Pines Planting Day event we’ve planted 2 acres of
Kirtland’s warbler habitat the last two years – something around 2,500
trees each time,” said Abigail Ertel, community program leader for Huron
Pines, a nonprofit organization that helps protect the Great Lakes by
conserving the forests, lakes and streams of northeast Michigan. “This
year we’re hoping to up that to 3 acres and approximately 3,750 trees.”
The 2017 Jack Pine Planting Day, taking place May 19 in Grayling, will be
part of the Huron Pines AmeriCorps Russ Mawby Signature Service Project.
AmeriCorps members and volunteers from across northeast Michigan will
gather to tackle conservation and community-based service projects.
“There’s nothing quite as tangible and being out on public lands,
getting your hands dirty, meeting new people or reconnecting with old
friends while actively participating in an important conservation program,
which normally wouldn’t be an option for the general public,” Ertel said.
Those interested in participating can
register online for the service project or
contact Huron Pines at 989-448-2293.
In the spirit of Arbor Day, though often undertaken at other times during
the year, many volunteer tree-planting projects aim to bring the benefits
of trees to Michigan’s non-wildlife residents — people in communities
around the state.
The DNR offers financial assistance with these tree-planting efforts by
administering programs like federally funded Community Forestry Grants and
DTE Energy Foundation Tree Planting Grants, which help local units of
government, schools and nonprofit organizations plant and manage trees in
This year, the DTE Tree Planting grant application period will begin on
Arbor Day. Application materials are available online at
Looking for volunteer opportunities to pitch in and help plant some
trees in your community? Check with your local government office or
organizations such as
The Greening of Detroit, the
Grand Rapids Urban Forest Project and
others around the state.
For more information on National Arbor Day, visit the Arbor Day
Foundation’s website at www.arborday.org.
Check out previous
Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming
Annual Reports for 7 Wetland Wonders Now
Available on DNR Website
Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that annual
reports for each of Michigan’s seven Wetland Wonders now are available on
the DNR’s website at
the Waterfowl Counts tab).
The reports detail the 2016-2017 hunting season results, habitat
management activities and weekly waterfowl counts at each of Michigan’s
Wetland Wonders, along with other information.
Michigan's Wetland Wonders, the seven premier managed waterfowl hunt
areas in the state, include:
These areas, scattered across the southern Lower Peninsula, were
created in the 1960s to provide exceptional waterfowl hunting
opportunities, and are still managed today to provide waterfowl habitat
for nesting and migration and for the benefit of other wetland-dependent
wildlife. Since the beginning, these areas have been funded by hunting
license fees, but they are open for anyone to visit, use and enjoy most of
Michigan NRC & DNR - Create Panel on Chronic Wasting
the challenge posed by the presence of chronic wasting disease in
Michigan’s white-tailed deer population, the Michigan Natural Resources
Commission recently adopted a resolution to engage the scientific
community to identify practices that will address the threat of CWD. The
resolution was approved at the commission’s April meeting in Lansing.
The purpose of the resolution is to have scientists and experts “advise
the NRC, the DNR or other applicable agencies on further steps and actions
which could be implemented to substantially mitigate or eliminate CWD in
Chronic wasting disease – first discovered two years ago in free-ranging
deer in Michigan – is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer,
elk and moose. It causes a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brain
of an infected animal, resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of
bodily functions and, ultimately, the animal’s death. There is no known
connection between CWD and human health.
“The Natural Resources Commission and the Michigan DNR have a long
history of working cooperatively to ensure the health and longevity of the
state’s wildlife and fisheries resources,” said NRC Chair John Matonich.
“Chronic wasting disease is perhaps the biggest challenge facing
Michigan’s white-tailed deer herd, and we are committed to fighting it
head on, with the best available science.”
Scientists are to be selected by the NRC chair and the directors of the
state departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture and Rural
Development. Chair and/or co-chairs will be selected by the NRC chair and
the DNR director.
The group is charged with delivering recommendations by Dec. 31, 2017.
After recommendations are received, the NRC and DNR will develop a public
process by which to share and receive input on those recommendations.
“Michigan’s white-tailed deer are a critical part of the state’s hunting
culture and tradition, as well as the state and local economies supported
by those who annually take part in the tradition,” said DNR Director Keith
Creagh. “Since the first CWD finding in Michigan, the DNR has taken
aggressive steps to contain and address this threat to our deer
population. We look forward to working with this group to continue that
Learn more about chronic wasting disease at the DNR website
Fishing Activity to Pick up as Multiple
Seasons Open This Saturday
25APR17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds
anyone who fishes to dust off their gear and get ready for the
opening of two fishing seasons Saturday, April 29. The statewide
trout season and the Lower Peninsula inland walleye, northern pike
and muskellunge seasons all open that day.
Anglers are reminded that in Upper Peninsula waters the walleye,
northern pike and muskellunge seasons open Monday, May 15th.
Don’t forget the catch-and-immediate-release season for largemouth
and smallmouth bass is open all year on nearly all waters (unless
otherwise closed to fishing – check the current
Michigan Fishing Guide for specifics). The possession season for
bass opens statewide Saturday, May 27, except for Lake St. Clair,
the St. Clair River and the Detroit River, which open Saturday, June
Fishing is a major economic driver in many parts of the state. In
Michigan, anglers typically spend 28 million days on the water and
generate $4.4 billion in economic activity, which generates $623
million in local, state and federal tax revenue. On top of that,
sportfishing in Michigan is estimated to support nearly 38,000 jobs.
The new license season began April 1, so anglers need to be sure
they have purchased a new fishing license for this fishing season.
The 2017 fishing licenses are valid through March 31, 2018.
Also be aware this is the second year of the two-year Michigan
Fishing Guide. The 2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide and Inland Trout
& Salmon Maps are available online, visit the DNR website at
michigan.gov/fishingguide for the most up-to-date information.
You can view the complete guide online, or download it to your
device for later use.
Concession Opportunities Available in Michigan State Parks
Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced opportunities
for operating concessions to provide goods and/or services in
Michigan state parks.
Those interested may visit the state of Michigan’s
website for a list of current opportunities. Click on Open Bids,
then choose Miscellaneous Commodities and Services from the Show
Bids for Category drop-down menu.
Concessionaires should have prior business experience and
adequate working capital to fund the concession.
"Concessionaires are vital to ensuring that a wide variety of goods
and services are available to our customers," said Ron Olson, chief
of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "We view our
concessionaires as partnerships and appreciate the value they add to
outdoor recreational experiences in our state parks and harbors."
The DNR currently is seeking operators for the following
Burt Lake State Park store.
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park lighthouse tour and lighthouse store.
Grayhaven State Harbor watercraft rentals.
Otsego Lake State Park mooring post rentals.
The DNR will make arrangements to visit the concession site with
interested bidders. Bid lettings are set for each of these
concessions and continue to be set for opportunities that become
available. Concessionaires have the ability to enter into a contract
for up to seven years.
Interested vendors are encouraged to periodically check the
website for updated opportunities. Registering as a vendor isn’t
required; however, registrants can sign up to receive automatic
notification of new concession bids.
For more information, contact Lori Ruff at 989-275-5151, ext.
DNR Unveils 2017 Turkey Cooperator Patch
spring turkey season under way, the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources encourages hunters to purchase a wild turkey cooperator
The 2017 turkey patch, designed by Sylvia Smith of Lake Orion High
School, now is available for purchase. Each year, Michigan students
in grades K-12 are given the opportunity to submit designs for the
DNR’s annual wild turkey management cooperator patch. The Michigan
chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, in partnership with
DNR, coordinates the wild turkey patch program.
“We feel privileged to be able to partner with the Michigan DNR on
this project,” said Art Pelon, president of the Michigan chapter of
the National Turkey Federation.
The patch design award was presented to Smith at the Natural
Resources Commission meeting in Lansing April 13th.
Proceeds from patch sales are used to fund wild turkey-related
projects and management in Michigan.
Young hunters, 17 years old and younger, who have a valid wild
turkey hunting license may receive a free patch. To receive a patch,
please send name and complete address, along with a legible copy of
the youth’s valid wild turkey hunting license, to National Wild
Turkey Federation, Wild Turkey Patch Program, P.O. Box 8, Orleans,
MI, 48865. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery. If you have
questions, please e-mail
Adult hunters, collectors and other interested individuals may
purchase the patch for $5, including postage and handling. Only the
current-year patch is available for purchase. You do not have to
harvest a turkey to purchase a patch. Send orders to the address
above and make check or money order payable to the National Wild
The DNR also reminds hunters that spring turkey season started
Monday, April 17, and runs through May 31, with several different
hunt periods to choose from. Information about spring turkey hunting
can be found at
A base license is required for every resident and nonresident who
hunts in Michigan. Hunters may purchase a spring turkey license only
after they have obtained a base license for the year. The base
license is also a small game license.
Michigan’s Public Lands are Earth Day’s
to celebrate an Earth Day hero? Look no further than the
nearest parcel of
state-managed public land in
any corner of Michigan.
As the April 22 Earth Day observance approaches, it’s a good time to
appreciate our state-managed public lands for all they do to enhance
quality of life in Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources
manages 4.6 million acres of land for the public’s use and
enjoyment, including state forests, game areas, recreation areas and
parks. Aside from the high-value cultural, recreational and economic
opportunities they provide, Michigan’s public lands have enormous
impact on the quality of our environment and natural resources.
The lands reduce air pollution, protect water quality, provide flood
retention and offer critical wildlife habitat. Like true heroes,
they do their jobs without fanfare.
“People usually associate public lands with outdoor adventures
such as camping, hiking or hunting,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh.
“But they may not realize the tremendous natural benefits these
spaces provide. Their contributions to the health of Michigan’s
environment, natural resources and citizens are many. That’s why
proper management of these valued public lands is so critical.”
Ways in which public lands improve our environment, natural
resources and even public health include:
|Pollution prevention. Forests
public lands benefit the environment by serving as natural
“purifiers.” For example, trees help reduce air pollution by
absorbing pollutants and increasing oxygen levels in the
atmosphere. Wetlands play a vital role by filtering pollutants
from surface runoff, and breaking down fertilizers, pesticides and
other contaminants into less harmful substances.|
|Improved water quality. Tree
roots hold soil together and soak up moisture, which enhances
water quality and prevents erosion. In addition to filtering
pollutants, wetlands improve water quality by recharging
groundwater supplies when connected to underground aquifers. They
also contribute to natural nutrient and water cycles.|
|Storm water management. In
natural landscapes like forests, the soil absorbs water and
pollutants resulting from runoff from hard surfaces such as
driveways and parking lots. This is especially important in
|Wildlife habitat. Fields,
forests, waterways and wetlands provide Michigan’s wildlife with
the vibrant ecosystems they need to thrive.|
|Better health. Nature plays a
huge role in the physical and emotional health of Michiganders.
The ability of trees and grasslands to filter air pollution
reduces negative health effects on people with respiratory
ailments. Plus, state-managed public lands – offering trails, boat
launches, campgrounds and other outdoor recreation options –
provide any number of opportunities for exercise and fitness. Of
course, trees, lakes and rivers offer calming effects that are
emotionally gratifying as well.|
|Good stewardship. Michigan’s
public lands promote good environmental stewardship. They allow
for initiatives such as
Michigan’s Wetland Wonders,
which provide exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities through
the world-class management of the state’s seven premier Managed
Waterfowl Hunt Areas. The DNR also is pursuing an innovative
wetland mitigation program that harnesses public lands to help
offset the loss of wetlands. |
“We’re a cleaner, healthier Michigan because of our public
lands,” Creagh said. “So much of what they do for us happens without
notice. But Earth Day provides a good opportunity to appreciate all
our state-managed public lands do for the citizens of Michigan.”
DNR Investigating Citizen Reports of Dead Fish
in Lake St. Clair
20APR17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is
investigating several fish mortalities – particularly of gizzard
shad – that have been reported by citizens around Lake St. Clair. A
number of samples have been collected to determine the cause. Some
of the fish may have been affected by viral hemorrhagic septicemia
virus (VHSv), a very contagious pathogen, but the DNR is still
waiting on confirmation.
“Thanks to the public’s vigilance we are able to get timely samples
from these fish mortalities, and it is very likely VHSv is
involved,” said Gary Whelan, research program manager for the DNR’s
Fisheries Division. “VHSv has been detected in these waters since at
least 2003, and when conditions are right the pathogen will cause
disease events like this one.”
Many of the collected fish showed the classic external signs of VHSv:
bloody patches on the skin. VHSv first caused fish mortalities in
the St. Clair-Detroit River corridor in 2006 and occasionally has
been detected in these waters since that time.
The virus is known to infect more than 30 species of Great Lakes
fish and has been found in lakes Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario,
along with a few inland lakes. Some species such as lake sturgeon
and walleye are very resistant to it and others such as bluegill,
largemouth bass, muskellunge, gizzard shad and round goby are very
susceptible to the virus. The pathogen causes the fish’s blood
vessels to leak, which is why the skin shows bloody patches. This
symptom is shared with other pathogens, so testing is needed to
confirm if VHSv is involved. Previous research has shown that many
fish recover from this virus infection, although there is no
“The public is encouraged to continue to provide us with reports of
fish kills with a focus on kills of more than 25 fish,” Whelan said.
“The public can provide the reports to our fish kill email address
This information helps us track this event and determine where best
to collect additional samples.”
Anglers are reminded to refrain from moving live fish between
water bodies and to properly dispose of bait. Boaters need to make
sure their bilges and live wells are emptied prior to leaving a boat
launch, and equipment must be cleaned and disinfected after use.
michigan.gov/fishing for more
information on how those who fish and boat can help limit the spread
of fish disease and invasive species.
DNR Officer Earns Shikar-Safari Club
Wildlife Officer of the Year Honor
20APR17-Conservation Officer Steve Converse, a 16-year Department
of Natural Resources veteran serving Manistee County, recently was
honored by the Shikar-Safari Club International as Michigan’s 2016
Wildlife Officer of the Year. The
hunting organization is involved in such recognitions of key
officials in natural resources agencies across the United States and
Converse received the award at last week’s regular meeting of the
Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Lansing.
“We hold our officers to the highest standards,” said DNR Law
Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler. “The fact that Officer
Converse earned this recognition speaks to his outstanding
dedication and professionalism. He genuinely cares about the people
and resources he’s sworn to protect. He’s a credit to the DNR and
Michigan’s law enforcement community.”
The award is presented to officers who show exemplary conduct and
initiative while performing their duties.
Hagler praised Converse for his strong work ethic and devotion to
duty. Converse routinely makes himself available to handle
complaints and investigations no matter the time of day or night,
even if the work takes him outside of his assigned county.
Converse is known for taking on additional responsibilities. For
example, he serves as a charter boat inspector, a significant task
considering Manistee County has one of the busiest commercial
fishing harbors in the state. In addition, the DNR Law Enforcement
Division relies on his creativity and expertise when developing
training scenarios for new officers.
When it comes to protecting Michigan’s natural resources,
Converse gets results.
|His investigative work results each year in
numerous poaching convictions for fish and game illegally taken
from Manistee and surrounding counties, generating tens of
thousands of dollars in penalties and reimbursement to the state –
in 2016 alone, Officer Converse had 16 successful prosecutions of
deer-related violations that resulted in more than $47,000 in
reimbursement. Those proceeds support the department’s management
of Michigan’s natural resources and help provide outdoor
recreation safety and education programming.|
|Officer Converse was instrumental in the
implementation of a 2015 regulation restricting devices used to
illegally harvest fish in Benzie, Manistee and Mason counties.
While enforcing the law is a big part of an officer’s job,
Converse also enjoys serving as a DNR “ambassador” to educate
citizens so they can safely and legally enjoy Michigan’s outdoor
opportunities. He teaches hunter safety classes and has positively
influenced many young hunters during his career. Converse also
routinely visits schools to educate students about Michigan’s
natural resources and to discuss career opportunities within the
Converse’s colleagues nominated him for the award, demonstrating the
respect he has earned among his peers.
A native of Middleville and an Olivet College graduate, Converse and
his family live in Manistee County.
Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained
professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully
commissioned peace officers will full authority to enforce the
state’s criminal laws. Learn more at
Fish Stock Creates Fishing Opportunities
Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced it is in
the middle of its new fish stocking season. This spring you’ll find
DNR fish stocking trucks releasing their prized recreational cargo
at hundreds of lakes and streams throughout the state.
Fish stocking is a valuable tool used by fisheries managers to
restore, enhance and create new fishing opportunities in Michigan’s
inland lakes and streams and the Great Lakes. The DNR’s Fisheries
Division accomplishes this task by rearing fish at its six fish
production facilities located throughout the state, cooperatively
managing up to 46 rearing ponds and eight Great Lakes imprinting net
pen locations, and maintaining a fleet of 18 specialized fish
Over the course of a typical year the DNR will stock roughly 26
million fish weighing nearly 350 tons, including eight species of
trout and salmon and three coolwater strains of walleye and
muskellunge. Beginning in mid-March and ending in early June, the
DNR fish stocking trucks will travel well over 100,000 miles to
stock between 700 and 1,100 locations.
Michigan anglers have access to four Great Lakes, 3,000 miles of
Great Lakes shoreline, more than 11,000 inland lakes and tens of
thousands of miles of rivers and streams. That puts residents and
visitors no more than 10 minutes away from quality angling
opportunities and world-class fisheries.
Visit the DNR website michigandnr.com/fishstock/ for
information on local fish stocking locations.
DNR's Trout Trails Web App Now Features
Locations Across the State
latest additions to the Department of Natural Resources’ online
Trout Trails application now ensure quality trout streams and lakes
are pinpointed for anglers to visit throughout the state of
Trout Trails is an interactive tool featuring fisheries
biologist-verified trout waters that are often lesser known, but
considered outstanding destination points.
This is the third phase of Trout Trails, with nearly 100 additional
sites added to the application. That brings the total number of
locations to nearly 300. These newly added sites feature lakes and
streams located in the eastern, central and western Upper Peninsula
and northern Lower Peninsula.
The DNR will continue to add more locations over time to add to the
statewide coverage of these types of waters.
Interested anglers should visit
access the web-based Trout Trails application. Please note, Trout
Trails is not a downloadable app, but it is compatible with all
types of electronic devices.
Each of the nearly 300 destinations features extensive
information, including trout species available, regulations,
presence of stocked or naturally reproducing fish, driving
directions, area lodging, restaurants and note-worthy information
(such as presence of fast water, canoe/kayak/tube accessibility,
best times to fish, what bait or lure to use, etc.).
“We know more and more anglers are using the Trout Trails map to
plan future fishing trips, and with these latest additions we ensure
those folks can find a world-class trout fishing opportunity in
practically every corner of the state,” said Elyse Walter,
communication specialist with the DNR’s Fisheries Division.
Information about each Trout Trails site also is available in a
Researchers Track New Zealand Mud Snail in
New video illustrates key identification
points of this invader
tiny invader is threatening prized trout streams in Michigan’s
northern Lower Peninsula. A mere 1/8-inch long, the New Zealand mud
snail is barely distinguishable from a grain of sand, but over time
its invasive habits can affect the quality and quantity of trout and
other fish in the Au Sable, Pere Marquette and Boardman rivers where
it has been found.
New Zealand mud snails were first discovered in the United States in
Idaho’s Snake River in 1987. Since then, infestations have spread
throughout the western states and into areas of the Great Lakes. The
discovery of New Zealand mud snails in the Pere Marquette River in
August 2015 signaled the first detection in a Michigan inland
waterway. Within the next year, populations were confirmed in the
Boardman and Au Sable rivers. The U.S. Geological Survey has
animated map illustrating the New Zealand mudsnail’s movement through
What harm can a snail do?
This brown to black mudsnail, a native of New Zealand, is
considered invasive and is prohibited in Michigan due to the
environmental harm it can cause to rivers, streams and lakes.
Because the snail reproduces by cloning (females develop complete
embryos without fertilization), just one snail can start a
One snail can produce over 200 young in a year. Since no natural
predators or parasites exist in North America, exponential
population growth occurs unchecked, year after year. In some
locations in western states, researchers have documented snails
reaching densities of 300,000 per square meter. With that many mud
snails, food for other stream invertebrate populations can become
Fish that feed on native invertebrates like mayflies and caddis
flies may find it more difficult to forage. In fact, Seth Herbst,
the aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Michigan Department
of Natural Resources Fisheries Division, said that fish will consume
New Zealand mud snails, but due to the snail’s thick shell and a
tightly closing “hatch” called the operculum, they offer the fish no
nutritional value and actually are commonly indigestible by trout
and excreted alive. “In addition,” Herbst said, “substituting mud
snails for native food sources can reduce the growth and condition
and ultimately the abundance of key sport fish including trout.”
What is Michigan doing to
combat the problem?
Once New Zealand mud snails were positively identified in the
Pere Marquette River, the DNR and the Department of Environmental
Quality began surveying heavily utilized rivers across the state.
Since the discoveries in the Boardman and Au Sable rivers, no new
mud snail locations have been identified. Surveying efforts will
continue through the 2017 field season.
a project supported by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the
DNR and Michigan State University are working together to understand
how widely distributed New Zealand mud snails are in the Pere
Marquette River and how these invaders may be affecting native
“We are also taking the opportunity to talk to anglers about their
behaviors, whether they travel to multiple fishing spots in a single
day, and whether they are washing their gear between visits,” said
Dr. Dan Hayes, a professor and associate chair of MSU’s Department
of Fisheries and Wildlife. “Their responses help us understand
potential vectors for New Zealand mud snail transportation.”
A chemical treatment targeting sea lamprey in the Pere Marquette
River is scheduled for summer 2017. MSU researchers will use this
opportunity to determine what, if any, effect the lampricide
treatment has on mud snails.
With support from the
Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program, a group of citizen
scientists soon will be involved in monitoring for New Zealand mud
snails in the Au Sable and other popular fly-fishing destinations. A
partnership between Oakland University, Grand Valley State
University, Michigan Trout Unlimited and Anglers of the Au Sable
will provide training in mud snail monitoring and sampling
techniques to volunteers from the angling organizations.
Trained volunteers will take to the Au Sable River later this year
and will branch out to other popular fly-fishing locations in the
next two years to take water samples for environmental DNA testing,
collect invertebrate samples from riffles, and spread the word to
other anglers about the importance of cleaning gear and boats to
prevent the spread of New Zealand mud snails.
“Local anglers are familiar with invertebrate communities, they are
frequently on the water, and they are familiar with their home
waters,” said Dr. Scott Tiegs, an associate professor in the
Department of Biological Sciences at Oakland University.
Tiegs, who is leading the citizen science project, also will spend
time with all 20 chapters of Michigan Trout Unlimited to share
techniques for ensuring that mud snails are not accidentally
transferred from stream to stream.
What can you do?
Invasive species management begins with prevention. Though the
snails have been found in three river systems, it is not too late to
prevent their spread to other rivers and lakes. Since it takes only
one New Zealand mud snail to start a population, prevention requires
The most important means of prevention is practicing good
recreational hygiene. After a visit to one of Michigan’s lakes,
rivers or streams, be sure to clean, drain and dry your boat,
trailer and gear before heading to a new destination.
The New Zealand mud snail’s small size requires careful examination
and cleaning of places where plants, sand or debris can be found on
poles, nets, waders, boots, buckets, kayaks, canoes and flotation
devices. Anything that has been in the water or at the water’s edge
should be inspected before it is packed or loaded.
New video illustrates key
Department of Environmental Quality recently released a
new video providing an overview of New Zealand mudsnail
identification. The video is the premiere in the “MDEQ Minute”
series, offering 60-second views on a broad range of topics
including new and potential invasive species in Michigan.
If you think you have found a New Zealand mudsnail in a waterway
outside of the Pere Marquette, Boardman or Au Sable rivers, report
your finding using the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network
www.misin.msu.edu, or download the MISIN app to your smart
DNR Offers Saginaw Bay Walleye Clinic, With
Mark Martin, May 9-10
Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Skills Academy will offer an
in-depth opportunity to learn about Saginaw Bay walleye fishing
Tuesday and Wednesday, May 9 and 10, at the Saginaw Bay Visitor
Center in Bay City, Michigan.
The two-day Saginaw Bay Walleye Clinic will begin May 9 with a tips
and techniques session, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Instructors Captain
Mark Martin – Walleye Trail World Champion and full-time Hall of
Fame professional walleye fisherman – and Captain Brandon Stanton of
Team Gunsmoke Sportfishing and Guide Service will cover the
equipment and skills needed to catch Saginaw Bay walleye. The class
will take the novice angler through rod and reel selection, rigging
and presentation techniques, and natural history tips about walleye
in Saginaw Bay.
On the second day of the clinic, running 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.,
participants will have an opportunity to experience hands-on,
one-on-one time with Martin’s pro-staff as they board pro boats and
fish Saginaw Bay.
Cost for the clinic is $165, which includes lunch both days and pro
boat trips. Participants are encouraged to bring the fishing gear
they already have.
Registration is limited to 28 participants.
Sign up for the Saginaw Bay Walleye Clinic in the
For more information, contact park interpreter Valerie Blaschka
at 989-667-0717 or
Saginaw Bay Visitor Center is
located inside Bay City State Recreation Area at 3582 State Park
Drive in Bay City. A
Recreation Passport is required
for entry into the recreation area and the Saginaw River Boat
The DNR Outdoor Skills Academy offers in-depth, expert
instruction, gear and hands-on learning for a range of outdoor
activities at locations around the state.
Learn more about the Outdoor Skills Academy at
Spring Birding Events in Michigan & State
is home to a variety of important bird habitats and an exciting
array of public birding events and birding trails. Now is the time
to start making plans to get out and enjoy the spectacular diversity
of birds in Michigan.
“Michigan has so many great opportunities for birders and wildlife
watchers, with more events popping up all the time,” said Holly
Vaughn, Department of Natural Resources wildlife communications
coordinator. “There is no better place to begin birding than
Michigan, and there are opportunities to observe birds anywhere you
may be in the state.”
In addition to the many festivals listed below, Michigan is home to
a growing number of birding trails, with six already existing and
Michigan’s birding trails are
open to the public and provide great opportunities for family
Spring birding events in Michigan include:
“These birding events contribute significantly to the local
economies, and attract attention to the value of local birds and
habitats,” said Caleb Putnam, Michigan bird conservation coordinator
for Audubon Great Lakes and the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources. “As birders from across the country converge on
Michigan’s diverse habitats, the energy continues to grow for
conservation in Michigan.”
Birding is a great way to enjoy the diversity of Michigan’s wildlife
and their habitats and to build a true appreciation for the
uniqueness of the state’s natural resources. Birding events and
trails are made possible through the efforts of Audubon chapters,
government agencies, land conservancies, private industries and many
dedicated individuals working together to create opportunities for
people to experience the outdoors and visit local communities.
Common yellowthroats and scarlet tanagers are among the many bird
species that can be found on Michigan’s birding trails and that will
be celebrated with birding events around the state this spring.
New Fishing Licenses Required As Of April 1st
10APR17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds
anglers that a new fishing season began Saturday, April 1,
coincided with the new regulation cycle; 2016 licenses were good
only through March 31, 2017.
Five options are available when making a purchase. All fishing
licenses are good for all species.
|Resident Annual - $26 |
|Non-Resident Annual - $76 |
|Senior Annual (for residents age 65 or older) - $11 |
|24-Hour (resident or non-resident) - $10 |
|72-Hour (resident or non-resident) - $30 |
A temporary 10-percent discount on non-resident annual licenses
enacted two years ago has expired, returning that license to its
original cost of $76.
Those targeting lake sturgeon and/or muskellunge also will need to
obtain free fishing and harvest tags from their local license
When anglers purchase licenses at retail stores, they often receive
copies of the current Michigan Fishing Guide. For those making the
purchase in 2017, they should consider visiting
see the latest version. The online guide includes any regulation
changes made since its February 2016 printing, ensuring those who
fish are aware of the current rules.
Residents and non-residents also can purchase the Hunt/Fish combo
license for $76 and $266, respectively, which consists of a base
license, annual fishing license and two deer tags. There also is a
Hunt/Fish combo license available to senior residents for $43. A
base license is not required when purchasing just a fishing license.
Michigan’s fishing licenses generate revenue that is invested into
the state’s fisheries, including providing greater access to
world-class fishing opportunities, improving fisheries habitat in
inland lakes and streams, and increasing the health and quantity of
fish stocked in the state.
The DNR Fisheries Division depends primarily on angler dollars
(through license sales and federal excise tax dollars for fishing
tackle) to manage the state’s fisheries. Buying a fishing license,
even if you do not plan to fish, can make a big difference to the
future health of Michigan’s prized freshwaters.
There are two simple ways to purchase fishing licenses in
Visit your local license retailer or DNR Customer Service Center
and make a purchase in person.
Use the E-License system to buy a license online 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. Just visit
mdnr-elicense.com on your
computer, smart phone or tablet to get started.
For more information on fishing in Michigan, visit
Large Trout Stock in SE Michigan Huron
River & Spring Mill Pond
Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently stocked 3,350
adult trout in the Huron River at Proud Lake
Recreation Area (Oakland County) and
Spring Mill Pond at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County).
The Huron River was stocked with 900 brown trout and 1,650 rainbow
trout, both sized 15 to 21 inches. Spring Mill Pond was stocked with
200 brown trout and 600 rainbow trout, also measuring 15 to 21
This annual stocking activity uses unneeded brown and rainbow trout
broodstock from Michigan’s state fish hatcheries. Every year there
are surplus adult trout in the hatchery system, which then are
stocked in special regulation areas.
Huron River at Proud Lake Recreation Area is closed to fishing Oct.
1 through March 31. From April 1 through April 28 anglers are
limited to flies-only, catch-and-release fishing. Youth under the
age of 12 may keep one fish between 8 and 12 inches. Beginning April
29, all baits are allowed and anglers may keep up to five trout over
8 inches, but only three over 15 inches.
Spring Mill Pond at Island Lake Recreation Area is closed to
fishing March 15 through March 31. From April 1 through
April 28th anglers are limited to
artificial lures only, catch-and-release fishing. Youth under the
age of 12 may keep one fish between 8 and 12 inches. Beginning
April 29th, all baits are allowed and anglers may keep up to
five fish over 8 inches, but only three fish over 15 inches.
2016-2017 Michigan Fishing Guide for complete
regulation details. For more information about
this stocking effort, contact the DNR offices at Proud Lake at
248-685-2433, Island Lake at 810-229-7067, or the Waterford
Fisheries Office at 248-666-7445.
DNR Advice for Finding a Feathered Friend
Nesting in their Yard
residents may get a surprise this spring in their gardens, flower
boxes or even in the landscaping by their office buildings. Bird
nests can be found in some unusual locations.
Ducks nests, particularly mallard nests, seem to appear just about
everywhere in the spring. Female mallards often build nests in
landscaping, gardens or other locations that people may consider
inappropriate. While finding a duck’s nest in an unexpected location
may be a surprise, there is no need for concern.
“She will be a very quiet neighbor, and with her cryptic coloration
she may go largely unnoticed,” said Holly Vaughn, Department of
Natural Resources wildlife communications coordinator. “Leave the
duck alone and try to keep dogs, cats and children away from the
If she is successful and her eggs hatch, the mother duck will
lead her ducklings to the nearest body of water, often the day they
“Don’t worry if you do not live near water, the mother duck knows
where to take her ducklings to find it,” said Vaughn.
The female mallard will sit on the nest for about a month prior to
the eggs hatching. If the nest fails on its own – something that
happens regularly – Vaughn advises to just wish her luck on her next
Canada geese sometimes build nests near houses or in parks, often
near water. Similar to mallards, Canada geese will lead their young
to water soon after they hatch. Adult geese can be quite protective
of their nests and their goslings and may chase people or pets away
by hissing and running or flying toward the intruder. If possible,
try to avoid the area. If this is not possible, carry an umbrella
and gently scare the bird away.
Those fortunate enough to have a bird’s nest built in their yard, in
a tree or on the ground may have noticed that the baby birds are
starting to outgrow their nests. Baby birds learn to fly through
trial and error. They may feel they are ready to fly, but their
flight feathers might not have fully grown in yet. It is common to
find baby birds on the ground after an attempt to fly. If this is
the case, please do not touch them. Their parents will continue to
take care of them, even when they are on the ground.
Touching a baby bird will not cause the adults to abandon it;
however, if you move a baby bird, the parents may be unable to find
and care for it. It is better to leave the baby bird alone to be
raised by its parents.
In the event that you find a chick on the ground that is sparsely
feathered, it may have accidentally fallen from the nest before it
is ready to fledge (learn to fly). If you know where the nest is,
you can put the chick back in the nest ONLY if you can do so safely.
Migratory birds, their nests and their eggs are protected by the
federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and must be left alone. Unless you
have a license, taking a baby bird or eggs from the wild is breaking
licensed wildlife rehabilitators may
possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless a person is licensed,
it is illegal to possess a live wild animal, including birds, in
The only time a baby animal may be removed from the wild is when it
is obvious the parent is dead or the animal is injured. A licensed
rehabilitator must be contacted before removing an animal from the
wild. Rehabilitators must adhere to the law, must have gone through
training on proper handling of injured or abandoned wild animals,
and will work to return the animal to the wild, where it will have
the best chance for survival.
A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found by visiting
mi.gov/wildlife or by calling a
spring now sprung, a sleeping Michigan giant is waking up – and now
is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to see it.
Springtime is a Great Time to Experience
Much like Gulliver, tied down to the ground by the Lilliputians,
when this giant awakes, the tendrils holding it stretch a great
distance – 12,500 miles, in fact.
However, this giant isn’t Lemuel Gulliver, Paul Bunyan or even Babe
the Blue Ox.
It’s Michigan’s growing system of designated trails, ready for
endless spring and summertime opportunities to relax, have fun,
travel, learn and explore.
From hiking beside beautiful streams through the secluded forests of
the Upper Peninsula, to riding side-by-side over a scenic trail in
the northern Lower Peninsula, to biking and kayaking and riding a
horse, Michigan is known nationally as “The Trails State” because
our trails system is – giant.
Fresh off the snowmobile and cross-country skiing season,
Michigan Department of Natural Resources trails staff is ready for
“It’s been a long, gray winter, but things are springing to life on
Michigan’s trails,” said Paul Yauk, the statewide trails coordinator
for the DNR. “It’s a new season. The birds are migrating north,
animals are peeking out of forests, the morels are coming soon …
what an amazing time to get out onto the trails and see what is out
is home to 12,500 miles of state-designated trails – including both
motorized and non-motorized – and more than 2,600 miles of rail
trails (the most of any state in nation).
Hiking in Michigan can be an adventure just in itself, with trails
that run the gamut from paved, flat surfaces to tough, rugged
terrain that requires boots.
“Public lands provide a wide variety of experiences and levels of
difficulty,” Yauk said. “Put those boots on and get out there.
“Hiking is fun for everybody, a family adventure. Take a friend, ask
a neighbor. Grab someone you know and take a walk or a hike," he
said. "Michigan’s natural resources are second-to-none. Now’s a
great time to see for yourself.”
Hiking is a wonderful way to experience the state's unique array of
scenic views, abundant wildlife, cultural resources and vibrant
Trails are everywhere – from local parks to regional or state
parks or trails.
Iron Belle Trail, for example,
is the longest state-designated trail in the nation, covering about
2,064 miles from Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the western
Featuring two routes, one for hiking and one for biking, the Iron
Belle runs through 48 Michigan counties and 240 townships, making it
easy for anyone in the state to hit the trail.
More than 1,200 miles of the Iron Belle Trail are designated as
the western side of Michigan, the hiking route mostly follows the
North Country National Scenic Trail, traversing the west side of the
Lower Peninsula and bordering the south shore of Lake Superior in
the northern part of the Upper Peninsula.
The Iron Belle Trail – intended as Michigan’s signature trail –
continues to expand as partners throughout the state plan and
develop more and more trail segments.
More than $34 million in federal, state and local funds has been
invested in the trail since 2013.
“The Iron Belle Trail is a perfect example of communities and
partners coming together for a common reason – to make this trail a
one-of-a-kind destination,” Yauk said.
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund approved about $5 million
in grants for Iron Belle Trail projects in December, and the DNR
recently awarded $350,000 in grant dollars to 16 communities across
the state for further Iron Belle Trail development.
The DNR encourages Scout groups to hit the trail with the third
annual Iron Belle Challenge, set for Saturday,
The challenge, a hiking event offered in conjunction with National
Trails Day, highlights the Iron Belle Trail and offers Scouts the
opportunity to earn a commemorative patch for participating.
Last year’s hike attracted nearly 1,100 hikers who trekked more than
“The past two years we have had great participation from both the
Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts USA,” said Ray Rustem, DNR
youth programs specialist. “The Iron Belle Challenge has welcomed
Scouts to hike all over the state, in locations like Detroit, Battle
Creek, Cheboygan and Ironwood, to name just a few.”
Registration forms for the Iron Belle Challenge can
be found at
In addition to the Iron Belle Trail, Michigan offers a wide variety
of hiking trails across the state. The DNR maintains many of these
trails, which can be found in Michigan state parks, on state forest
lands or within wildlife preserves.
Many of the DNR hiking trails are called “pathways” because they
loop through forests and along ridges, rivers and lakes. Many of the
pathways are located near or are adjacent to state forest (rustic)
campgrounds and in state parks and recreation areas – making for a
perfect weekend getaway.
state’s trail system also includes several linear trails. Linear
trails – also called "out-and-back" or "destination" trails – go
from one point to another and typically follow an old railroad
track, river or other land feature. They cover long distances.
More information about the wide range of Michigan
hiking trails is
available on the DNR website at
Aside from the chance to get out and enjoy Michigan’s great
outdoors, hiking trails also offer an easy and inexpensive way to
get some exercise.
Outdoor exercise has some unique advantages over a gym, according to
DNR statewide recreation programmer Maia Turek.
“There are plenty of reasons to take your workout outside,” Turek
said. “Enjoying nature’s scenery will distract from your effort or
fatigue, so you’ll work out longer. You’ll burn more calories
because the varied terrain of a park or trail helps keep you out of
a fitness rut and you’ll be happier – breathing fresh air can create
a feeling of euphoria.”
Opportunities to explore Michigan on trails don’t stop with
hiking – there are trails for a variety of outdoor interests,
including biking and mountain biking trails, equestrian trails,
water trails and off-road vehicle trails.
Yauk said Michigan has something to offer for everyone, especially
in the spring.
“It’s something you have to see for yourself,” he said. “Michigan
offers so many opportunities to get outdoors and walk or bike or
kayak. We have 103 state parks to explore and thousands of miles of
trails. Michigan is waking up, and this is the season to see it.”
One caveat to keep in mind before hitting the trail, Yauk added. If
you mountain bike or ride horses, please avoid trails if they are
very wet and muddy so as not to damage the trails and the
maps and other information on Michigan’s trails,
Check out previous
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DNR - MI Free ORV Weekends June 10th - 11th & August 19th - 20th
Michigan Department of Natural Resources invites residents and
out-of-state visitors to ride DNR-designated routes and trails
during two Free ORV Weekends, taking place June 10-11 and Aug.
19-20. Off-road enthusiasts will not need to possess an ORV license
or trail permit on these dates, saving riders up to $36.25.
This opportunity is a great way for ORV enthusiasts to explore
Michigan's vast system of 3,660 miles of trails and consider
purchasing an ORV license or trail permit for the season. Throughout
the year, fees generated through ORV licenses and trail permits are
reinvested back into the ORV system.
These important dollars help fund trail expansion, maintenance and
infrastructure improvements, such as bridge and culvert construction
and repair, as well as law enforcement and the offsetting of damage
created by illegal use.
"We hope ORV enthusiasts will enjoy their off-road experience
during Free ORV Weekend and purchase an ORV license and trail permit
for the season," said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and
Recreation Division. "It's the perfect opportunity to explore the
trails that help build Michigan's reputation as the 'Trails State.'"
In addition, the first Free ORV Weekend also lines up with the
Summer Free Fishing Weekend
June 10-11, when all fishing license fees will be waived. Residents
and out-of-state visitors can enjoy fishing on both inland and Great
Lakes' waters for all species of fish. All fishing regulations still
Free ORV Weekend not only offers access to 3,660 miles of off-road
trails, but also includes use of the state’s five scramble areas,
including St. Helen’s Motorsport Area, Black Lake Scramble Area,
Silver Lake State Park, Bull Gap and The Mounds.
During Free ORV Weekends, all ORV rules and
laws still apply. Riders should remember that:
>Operators under age 16 must have a valid safety training
certificate. Michigan will accept ORV/ATV education certifications
that are issued by other states and provinces.
>Operators and passengers must wear a U.S. Department of
Transportation-approved crash helmet and protective eyewear.
>Riders are encouraged to become familiar with the ORV Handbook
of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws, available online, at DNR Customer
Service Centers or anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
For more information, contact Jessica Holley at 517-331-3790 or
Rob Katona at 906-228-6561.
Learn more about ORV trails, maps, permits
and other details at www.michigan.gov/orvinfo.
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.