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Showcasing the DNR: A Visit to Michigan’s Most Remote State Park

By JOHN PEPIN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources 

A waterfall along Nelligan Creek tumbles south from Craig Lake State Park in Baraga County.22MAR19-It was a strange late November afternoon with a couple of inches of wet snow covering the twisting dirt road that cut through wetlands and wound up into the hills of hardwoods at Craig Lake State Park.
The temperature had climbed into the low 50s and the boiling clouds on the horizon told me it wouldn’t be long before rain would be falling. Rain showers, with snow and ice on the ground in late November – strange indeed.
These conditions added to the mystique of this most remote of Michigan’s state parks. Rugged and wild, Craig Lake State Park is known for its wilderness-style experience – a place in Baraga County glorious and peaceful.
It was “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, when many American consumers, with ferocity and dedication, famously hunt holiday shopping bargains.
I was among those who decided to take a break from the November-December holiday tsunami storm surge to opt for the outdoors, to get some big deep breaths of fresh air, here along the bubbling waters of Nelligan Creek.
The tannin-laden, whiskey-colored water, leached from the cedar swamps, bubbled out

Tamarack trees await impending rain showers at Craig Lake State Park.from under piles of snow and cascaded over ice-covered rocks. This little creek runs south, out of the park and across the highway, but not before providing a great deal of beauty and atmosphere to this wondrous place.
Just being here was a special treat so late in the season. After mid-November, those attempting to drive the road into the park often find themselves stranded, their vehicles stuck in the snow.
Today, I was fortunate. I could drive in farther than usual before parking to get out to walk the snow-covered dirt roadway.
There are six lakes here, three of them named for the children of Frederick Miller of the famed Miller Brewing Co. In keeping with the Miller beer theme, there is also a nearby lake, just northwest of the park, named High Life Lake.
Craig Lake, the largest of these lakes, and Teddy Lake were named for two of Miller’s boys, while Clair Lake – known for its smallmouth bass waters – was named for his daughter.
The family once owned thousands of acres around Craig Lake. They had also built a

A boating access site at Craig Lake State Park is shown.lodge, a caretaker’s residence and several outbuildings there. Unfortunately, tragedy would mar the idyllic setting the Millers had discovered in these tranquil north woods.
Miller, a famous beer brewer and former All-American tackle for Notre Dame, was among those who helped bring the old Boston Braves to Milwaukee.
He was 48 and his son, Frederick Jr., was 22, when they died in a plane crash in Wisconsin in December 1954. The Millers were flying in a private twin-engine plane piloted by two brothers, Joe and Paul Laird, ages 39 and 32, respectively.
“The Milwaukee crash occurred exactly a minute after Miller and the others took off for Winnipeg, Manitoba, for a pre-Christmas hunting trip in the brewery-owned B34 (Lockheed-Ventura) plane,” the Holland Evening Sentinel reported. “The younger Miller, a Notre Dame student, had driven from the school to make the trip.”
Just after the plane had taken off, witnesses saw sparks coming from one of the two engines.
“Paul Laird, at the controls, told the Civil Aeronautics Authority control tower he had engine trouble and was turning back,” the newspaper said. “The plane crashed before he could make the swing, however.
 

The National North Country Scenic Trail runs for more than 7 miles at Craig Lake State Park.“Flames 40 to 50 feet high burst out as the craft smacked down three quarters of a mile from the airport near a residential section.”
The wreckage of the plane came to rest in a snow-covered field. The men suffered severe burns and other injuries. All but the elder Miller were killed instantly. Frederick Miller succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital about five hours after the accident.
In the wake of the tragedy, the family sold its land to a Marquette-based logging company. The state of Michigan, which owned about 2,100 acres in the area, acquired some of the former Miller property.
“Through a series of purchases and land exchanges beginning in 1956, the state acquired several key parcels within the park area totaling more than 2,300 acres,” the Soo Evening News reported in 1970.
By that time, the new state park-to-be had been dedicated, but funding had not yet been appropriated for its development.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Glenn Gregg explained to the newspaper this park was expected to be different than all the rest.

Forests green and quiet await visitors to Craig Lake State Park.“This would be the first move the DNR ever has made to manage a park area for wilderness values, outdoor recreational activities and timber production,” Gregg said.
Craig Lake State Park was to be managed as a semi-wilderness park with limited development, but some of the back lands would be managed for logging and timber stand improvement, Gregg said.
Today, the park covers more than 8,400 acres and has maintained its sense of wilderness.
From the granite bluffs that tower behind Craig Lake to the numerous ponds providing homes for beavers, loons, fish, frogs and other wild creatures, to the quiet backcountry campsites and trails, this park remains a vital refuge from the numerous challenges to peace and quiet posed by the noise and pressures of daily living.
Craig Lake State Park has walk-in campsites and other camping options, including yurts and rustic cabins. The park has a main trail covering 8 miles, while the National North Country Scenic Trail runs for more than 7 miles here too.
Beyond hiking and camping, the park offers visitors opportunities to fish, hunt, paddle, bird watching and take photographs.
Craig Lake itself is 374 acres and features six islands and high granite bluffs along its northern shoreline. The forests here are quiet and green.
Rounding a corner, the tracks of a moose had been cut into the snow on the road. They looked as though they had been made with a cookie cutter. The hoof prints of this single meandering animal came from an old logging road that split a stand of pines.
The tracks continued as the side road headed to the southwest, stopping at a downed tree before sidestepping the road into a wide clearing. No sign of the moose, but I could almost feel the living, breathing moose within those tracks.
Not too far back, a ruffed grouse had pointed its head down and ran across the snow into a tangle of fallen tree trunks and low bushes. The skies were filled intermittently with small flocks of twittering goldfinches.
With the raindrops falling harder now, I turned around and headed back. On the way, I discovered another set of moose tracks not far from a bridge over the creek. I took a few more long looks at the countryside.
Moments later, I was turning back onto the highway heading into the gathering darkness of a dying afternoon.

To plan your visit to Craig Lake State Park, check out
Michigan.gov/CraigLake and see this park map. Find out more about special fishing regulations set for lakes at the park in a Baraga County section of the 2019 DNR Fishing Guide (pg. 28).

Read 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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DNR Reports Moose Survey Results to Michigan NRC

18MAR19-After this winter’s moose survey, wildlife biologists said the western Upper Peninsula moose population is growing at a long-term average of about 2 percent each year, with an estimated 509 animals living in that part of the state.
Michigan Natural Resources Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason reported the survey results Thursday to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at a regular NRC meeting at the Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire.
“The growth rate for this moose population is low, but remains positive,” Mason said. “Moose are continuing to maintain a foothold in the western Upper Peninsula, continuing to further extend the lineage of a population airlifted to the area from Canada in the mid-1980s.”

The western U.P. moose range covers about 1,400 square miles in parts of Marquette, Baraga, and Iron counties. The eastern U.P. population of moose is not surveyed but is estimated to be fewer than 100 moose. This population includes animals living within the Seney National Wildlife Refuge and Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
The aerial survey was completed in early February. Moose surveys are conducted every other winter by the DNR, with gray wolf surveys taking place during the interim winters.
“Overall, flying conditions were difficult, with flights cancelled on 23 days, primarily because of snow and high winds,” said Brad Johnson, a DNR wildlife technician who coordinates the survey. “On the days we could fly, conditions were good; snow covered most of the stumps and down logs and we had some snow on the conifers for most of the survey, all of which aided our efforts.”
Winter weather conditions preventing some survey flights did not allow wildlife staffers to complete the winter 2017 moose survey. This precluded the DNR from estimating moose abundance throughout the entirety of the western U.P. moose range.
However, an estimate was calculated for the core range, which in the past has supported 80-90 percent of the population. The moose estimate was 378 animals in that western U.P. core area.
Researchers think that if the survey had been completed, it would have yielded a total western U.P. moose population estimate of between 420 and 470 animals.
With the Moose Hunting Advisory Council’s recommendation to only allow hunting if a growth rate of greater 3 percent is maintained, the DNR is not recommending implementing a harvest at this time.

The same was true over the past several years.

For more information on moose in Michigan, visit www.Michigan.gov/Moose.

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DNR Conservation Officers Play Vital Role in Capture of Child Abduction Suspects in Chippewa County

18MAR19-Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers located a 5-year-old boy who was abducted Wednesday night, helping to arrest the suspected kidnappers as they tried to flee with the youth across the ice of Whitefish Bay to Canada.
The incident began about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, when the Chippewa County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a domestic dispute at a residence that involved a stabbing.
Investigators went to the home and began to piece together the details of what had happened.
George Stephen Cunningham, 53 – who is the boy’s biological father and a registered sex offender on a tether – and 68-year-old Jon Scott Stygler had gone to the house armed with knives, chemical spray and blunt objects.
The residence is located on Whitefish Road in Paradise, in the northeast corner of the Upper Peninsula. The boy was reported to be at the home with his aunt, a man and three other children.
Police said Cunningham and Stygler bound and gagged a woman outside the home, and then placed her in a parked vehicle. The two men then went inside, spraying the occupants with chemical spray, taping their mouths shut with duct tape and binding them using zip ties.
While the suspects searched the house for the boy, one of the victims was able to get free and stab at least one of the suspects. The men then left the house, taking the child.
They were reported heading north in a camouflage pickup truck. The vehicle was found parked in a driveway at a home on Blueberry Lane, situated about 5 miles north of the house.

DNR Conservation Officer Kevin PostmaAt about 10 p.m., sheriff’s deputies contacted Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Corporal Kevin Postma, asking for help because of a concern the suspects may resort to traveling with the child via snowmobile.
Postma contacted Conservation Officer Calvin Smith for assistance.
Smith hauled patrol snowmobiles to Postma’s location. While getting ready to begin their 60-mile drive to Paradise, the conservation officers were told to meet up with officers from several other agencies at the house on Blueberry Lane.
Police established a perimeter around the house and contacted the homeowner, who had no connection to the suspects or the child. After learning that the child and suspects were not at the house, Postma and Smith began looking for their tracks in the snow.

“There is only one road,” Smith said. “There is no other way to get away unless you have a sled.”

DNR Conservation Officer Calvin SmithPostma, Smith and sheriff’s Deputy Doug Mitchell located the suspects’ tracks and began following them. The footprints led to Whitefish Bay.
“The ice was turning to slush – if we got off our sleds, the slush was up to our knees,” Smith said.
Following the zig-zagging path about 3 to 4 miles across the slushy ice, the three officers caught up with the suspects.
Cunningham and Stygler were traveling on foot, pulling the child on a sled. The boy was in a sleeping bag, with instant meals the suspects had packed.
Cunningham had cut his tether off.

At about 1:10 a.m. Thursday, the officers stopped Cunningham and Stygler, who were arrested without incident. The officers confiscated the weapons and belongings the two men had with them.
Postma and Smith transported the child, Deputy Mitchell and the suspects on the DNR patrol sleds back to the house on Blueberry Lane, where deputies, Michigan State Police troopers and Whitefish Township EMS personnel were waiting.
“There was no way they were going to make it all the way to Canada,” Smith said. “They would have eventually fallen through the ice, which had recently been broken for ships by an ice breaker. They were not dressed for the conditions, especially with the wind. One of the suspects was even beginning to show signs of hypothermia.”
The suspects did not require medical treatment and were released to the custody of the sheriff. The young boy was cold, but in good condition.
“In addition to being prepared with equipment to navigate difficult terrain, conservation officers have received specialized tactical TRACKING training,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. “This is the second situation this week that our officers have worked with local law enforcement agencies, utilizing their search and rescue skills. I’m thankful to hear that our officers and Deputy Mitchell were able to rescue the child, and that he is doing well – given the situation.”
Cunningham and Stygler were arraigned Thursday on multiple charges in Chippewa County District Court in Sault Ste. Marie. Cunningham was jailed without bond; Stygler is being held on a $1 million bond, with a tether required should he post bail.
Deputies said the child has since been returned to his legal guardians and is doing well.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

For more information about conservation officers, visit Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.

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DNR Issuing Supplemental Deer Feeding Permits in Southern UP

13MAR19-Except within its chronic wasting disease surveillance areas, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has agreed to issue supplemental deer feeding permits in the southern part of the Upper Peninsula.
The action comes with average U.P. snow depths measured across the region nearly double that of a 15-year average for late February and March.
Feeding deer large quantities of food to supplement natural winter food resources – termed “supplemental feeding” – is allowed by permit in the northern U.P. counties beginning in January each year.
This type of feeding differs from “recreational feeding,” which is limited daily to 2 gallons of feed, placed within sight of a home or camp. Recreational feeding is allowed year-round across the U.P.
In southern U.P. counties – which typically exhibit milder winter weather conditions – free permits are issued for supplemental feeding dependent on weather conditions.
“The DNR uses total accumulated snow as an index of the severity of the winter,” said Terry Minzey, DNR U.P. regional wildlife supervisor. “In typical winters, impacts to the deer herd in the southern part of the region, based on snow accumulation measurements, can be forecasted by mid-January.”

Map of Upper Peninsula chronic wasting disease surveillance areas.Minzey said when conditions suggest the potential exists for significant winter deer mortality, regulated supplemental feeding is authorized by the DNR. This winter, the early part of the winter was fairly moderate, but conditions deteriorated in February.
Therefore, supplemental feeding permits are being issued in the southern U.P., except within chronic wasting disease core and expanded surveillance zones set up last October, after a doe tested positive for the disease in Dickinson County’s Waucedah Township.
As of March 4, there have been 56 days this winter with greater than a foot of snow accumulated on the ground in the U.P.
“We are monitoring deer in select areas,” said Chad Stewart, DNR deer, elk and moose management specialist. “At this time, most of the deer across the U.P. seem to be in fair shape.”

More snow is forecast for the region this weekend as temperatures warm, with the potential for rain and snow next week. Weather forecasters are predicting the snow pack to last on the ground into April, with temperatures trending in long-term forecasts to remain below average.

Stewart said peak winter mortality typically happens from late March through early May, and the factor most often attributed to high winter deer mortality is the length of the season.

Three deer braving the 2018-2019 winter in the Upper Peninsula."Though the intensity of a winter can play an important role in deer survival, the length of winter before spring green-up is often the most critical factor,” Stewart said. “At this point, it is too soon to know whether this winter will have a high negative impact on the deer herd.”
The DNR will continue to monitor the situation.
“Some deer have already succumbed to the winter; this is not uncommon and occurs every year,” Stewart said. “The DNR has more than 250 animals collared presently in the U.P., so if a large deer mortality event does occur, we will have an understanding of the magnitude.”
Stewart said it is important to remember the deer herd in the U.P. can suffer losses naturally with extreme winter conditions. Difficult winters have negatively impacted herd numbers previously – notably during the mid-1990s – and are expected to impact herd numbers in the future.
A lack of available high-quality deer wintering habitat remains a factor limiting the deer herd in the U.P.

“Extreme winter conditions can highlight just exactly how important our deer wintering complexes are in aiding survival of the U.P. deer herd,” Minzey said. “The department has recognized the importance of this habitat and is working collaboratively with sportsmen’s groups, private landowners and others on identifying, creating and managing this habitat to help mitigate the impacts of severe winters.”

Supplemental deer feeding permits are available by contacting DNR offices located in Baraga, Marquette, Crystal Falls, Escanaba, Newberry, Sault Ste. Marie and Shingleton (Cusino).

For more information on chronic wasting disease in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/CWD. Find out more about white-tailed deer and deer hunting at Michigan.gov/Deer.

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Do You Sell Live Aquatic Organisms? Annual Registration Now Required

close-up view fish tank with a RIPPLE cling13MAR19-Starting later this month, pet shops, nurseries and other businesses or individuals selling live, non-native aquatic species must register annually with the DNR. The requirement comes as part of legislation finalized at the end of last year that amended Sec. 41329 of Act 451, P.A. 1994, effective starting March 21, 2019.

Under the new requirement, a person or entity without this registration shall not sell or offer for sale or possess for the purpose of sale or offering for sale a live, non-native aquatic species.

Registration must be updated every year and expires Dec. 31 of the issuing year. It can be completed online at Michigan.gov/SellAquatics. The registering seller will receive a confirmation number that must be retained and conspicuously posted at the selling location. The DNR also has provided (at Michigan.gov/Invasives under the Laws tab) a downloadable certificate that sellers can print and add their registration number to, for easier posting.

"Annual registrations will give us a clear picture of the types of live aquatic species being sold in Michigan, which can help identify potential invasive species threats that could result from releasing unwanted pets or other aquatic organisms available in trade into Michigan's waters,” said Seth Herbst, the DNR’s aquatic species and regulatory affairs manager.

Questions? Contact Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

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DNR Wildlife Pathologist Cooley Earns MSU Outstanding Alumni Award

Michigan DNR wildlife pathologist Tom Cooley with an eagle13MAR19-Around the DNR, Tom Cooley’s name is indelibly tied to Michigan wildlife. A 40-year veteran employee of the department, Cooley is a wildlife pathologist at the DNR’s Wildlife Disease Laboratory housed at the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Lansing.
Recently, Cooley’s body of work was honored with the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Outstanding Alumni Award, given to those who have distinguished themselves by obtaining the highest level of professional accomplishments and who possess the highest standards of integrity and character.
DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason said the award is well-deserved.
“Tom is a key employee who is very effective at his job," Mason said. "We rely heavily on his knowledge and his insights about wildlife disease and parasitology.”
The
DNR Wildlife Disease Lab is responsible for monitoring the health and well-being of Michigan’s wildlife. It is known worldwide and provides critical, detailed information on diseases in the state that affect wildlife.

Cooley plays an integral role in that work. In the past decade alone, he has served as lead pathologist on more than 10,000 cases of wildlife mortalities. He also has authored or co-authored hundreds of publications and peer-reviewed papers, been interviewed as an authority about wildlife diseases, and written and taken photos for the state’s Wildlife Disease Manual.
Cooley’s award was presented earlier this month during ANR Week, an annual event hosted by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch.

Questions? Contact Holly Vaughn, 313-396-6863.

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Master Angler program's popularity takes off in 2019

Chad Kamm of Metamora, Michigan, holds the rainbow trout he caught on the Manistee RIver and submitted for Master Angler recognition.13MAR19-People love to fish Michigan waters. According to the state’s Master Angler program, they’ve been reeling in some real keepers the last few years. The program, managed by the DNR, enjoyed another successful year in 2018, accepting 2,698 fish.

The program has been in place since 1973 and recognizes large fish caught by recreational anglers. There were 522 more fish submitted in 2018 than in 2017, with anglers representing 28 states and Canada being recognized. The program has more than tripled in the last four years.

Of the entries accepted, 1,564 were in the catch-and-keep category, while 1,134 were in the catch-and-release category. Just over 500 anglers received certificates for fish that placed in the top five spots for both categories.

The most popular 2018 Master Angler entries by species included:

  • 251 bluegill.
  • 238 Chinook salmon.
  • 144 walleye.
  • 140 rainbow trout.
  • 137 smallmouth bass.

Master Angler entries for 2018 included two new state records, a 1.80-pound hybrid sunfish caught in Lake Anne in Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County) by Joel Heeringa of St. Joseph, and a 46.54-pound black buffalo caught on the Grand River (Ottawa County) by Brandonn Kramer of Muskegon.

The Master Angler program runs on the calendar year (January 1st to December 31st). Submissions already are being accepted for 2019 and will be until Jan. 10, 2020. Because program requirements may change year to year, be sure to carefully read the application before submitting it. A downloadable application and more program details are available at Michigan.gov/MasterAngler.

Questions? Contact Lynne Thoma, 517-284-5838 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

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Coyote Sightings and Tips to Prevent Conflicts

a coyote sits on the snow-covered ground13MAR19-This time of year, it’s not uncommon to hear about an uptick in coyote sightings around the state. That’s because coyotes are more visible during their breeding season (January to March), as well as in the spring and summer months when they’re caring for pups.
Coyotes are extremely adaptable and can be found just about everywhere: in forests, fields, farmlands, backyards, neighborhoods and cities. They’ve learned to survive in urban landscapes throughout Michigan. When food sources are available – things like trash bins, bird feeders and pet food – coyotes may become more comfortable around people.
To minimize potential conflicts and protect your small pets, DNR furbearer specialist Adam Bump has a few suggestions.
“The first thing to remember is never to intentionally feed or try to tame a coyote; leave wildlife in the wild,” Bump said. “Remove those appealing food sources, fence off your gardens and fruit trees, clear out wood and brush piles, and accompany your pets outdoors rather than letting them roam free.”

Additionally, there are some hunting and removal options:

Coyote hunting is open year-round. Michigan residents need a valid base license to hunt them. See the current-year Fur Harvester Digest for coyote hunting and trapping regulations.
On private property where coyotes are doing or about to do damage, a property owner or designee can take coyotes year-round; a license or written permit is not needed.
A
permitted nuisance control business can assist in the safe removal of problem animals in urban or residential areas.

Get more tips on understanding this species in the Coexisting with Urban Coyotes video or on the DNR’s coyotes webpage. Questions? Contact Hannah Schauer, 517-388-9678.

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The Power of Silence

By JOHN PEPIN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

“But my words like silent raindrops fell, within the wells of silence,” – Paul Simon

Three young ladies cook their hot dogs over the woodstove fire while winter cabin camping at Van Riper State Park.12MAR19-As the shadows fell and the world turned, I watched the stars – in their intriguing constellations – move across the cold skies of a late winter’s March night.
I made my observations over a period of hours, stepping outside the door of the woodstove-warmed cabin to stand and stare into the heavens.
I was feeling satisfied, full of supper. We cooked some bratwurst and hot dogs over the woodstove fire, and we warmed some chili in a cast-iron Dutch oven on top. I don’t know what it is, but there’s always something earthy and good about eating chili at a wooden table inside a cabin.
For the full effect, it’s best to eat the chili with a wooden spoon like Tuco and Angel Eyes did in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. For some reason, it always tastes better that way.
The later it got, the more the sounds from the black-topped highway – like a blaring ambulance siren and the whirring of the wheels of fully loaded logging trucks rolling east – died down. This surrendered the night to the sounds contained within the tall maples and pines that stood along the ice-locked riverbank.

Frozen bushes cast shadows across a frozen creek on a sunny March afternoon in Marquette County.On other nights, these sounds had included the faint hooting of a great horned owl, the yipping of coyotes and my whistling in hopes of contacting a little saw-whet owl that was no doubt hiding amid the dense forest, along the pathway, down by the river.
By midnight, the Big Dipper had moved into place almost directly overhead, a good distance from where it had been earlier in the evening.
I followed an imaginary line from its leading edge straight out into the blackness to the bright shine of the North Star – which is the last star on the handle of the Little Dipper.
The big and little dippers are each part of bear-shaped constellations called Ursa Major (the Great Bear) and Ursa Minor (the Lesser Bear), respectively.
Not far away in the sky was the “W” marking Cassiopeia, named for the vain queen of the same name from Greek mythology. To humiliate the queen, Neptune placed her in the sky on her throne with her head nearest to Polaris – the North Star. Doing this would force the queen to spend half of every night upside down.
It was much colder, the sky clearer.

A look outside past the cabin windowsill.As the nighttime turned into early morning, we inched closer toward 2 a.m. – the moment when the minute hand on the clock would spin ahead to 3 a.m. and we all would go tumbling, falling forward toward spring.
On this trip outside the cabin, an icy blue curtain had dropped over everything. The snow crunched loudly as my boots moved through the snow.
Once I stopped walking, there was a deep, penetrating silence.
Or was there?
American composer John Cage said there is no such thing as silence. He composed a controversial piece of music called “Four Thirty-Three,” which refers to the length of the music.
“Four Thirty-Three was conceived as a three-movement composition written for any instrument (or combination of instruments),” said conductor Charles Olivieri-Munroe in a 2011 essay on Cage. “The score instructs the performer not to play the instrument during the three movements (the first being 30 seconds, the second being 2 minutes and 23 seconds and the third being 1 minute and 40 seconds.)”

Campers engage in a card game inside the cabin on a March afternoon.Cage composed the piece in 1952. At a performance hall in Woodstock, New York that same year, pianist David Tudor lifted the lid of his piano and sat for 4 minutes, 33 seconds without playing anything.
The audience was confused.
“The music, Cage explained, was whatever sound the audience heard in the background,” a passage at poetry.org read. “Silence, he said, doesn’t exist, when one listens carefully.”
From as far back as 1897, pieces of music had contained phrases with blank measures, but nothing like this.
“Four Thirty-Three stands apart from these other experimental works in that it took the most radical approach in its experiment with silence,” Olivieri-Munroe wrote. “It basically pulled the painting from within its frame and had the viewer observe a blank space. It switched off the lights and left the listener in the darkness.”
 

The sun finds a wooded hillside to light up on a March afternoon.This was much the same circumstance I found myself in standing in the cold winter’s night, listening hard for what the woods would offer, enchanted by the starlight.
A year before Cage wrote his ground-breaking composition, he visited an anechoic chamber at Harvard University – a specialized room sound-proofed externally and designed so the walls, ceiling and floor absorbed all the sound in the room.
Cage was surprised to not find silence in the room.
“I heard two sounds, one high and one low,” Cage wrote. “When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation.”
Cage concluded we are all making music all the time.
“Until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death,” Cage wrote. “One need not fear about the future of music.”
Olivieri-Munroe said Cage’s realization of the impossibility of silence led to his composing “4’33”.”

Cage said the audience experiencing the premiere of his piece missed the point.
“There’s no such thing as silence,” he said. “What they thought was silence, because they didn’t know how to listen, was full of accidental sounds. You could hear the wind stirring outside during the first movement. During the second, raindrops began pattering the roof, and during the third the people themselves made all kinds of interesting sounds as they talked or walked out.”
With Cage’s intention for the piece in mind, the composition sounds different each time it is performed.
My own version of “Four Thirty-Three,” performed under the glittering stars, on a chilly night in Marquette County, yielded the sounds of my heart beating, a sound in my ear as though the silence was roaring – like when you hear the “ocean” through the horn of a seashell – and what I could swear was the sound of a meteor sputtering across the black sky.
Back inside the cabin, the warm orange glow of the fire still pulsed through the smoky glass on the woodstove door. On my last walk outside, a little later, the moon had risen low in the eastern sky.
This time, I heard the cracking sound of a hardwood splitting from the cold. The abrupt noise came from way back in the tree stand near the cabin. Not far away – and so loud it smashed the relative quiet into a million pieces – came the yacking yelp of a gray fox.
I imagined he had climbed into a tree and was saying his piece to the moon shining in third quarter. I put my hands into my jacket pockets and crunched back through the snow to the cabin door.
The woodstove smoke slowly wafted from the stone-fashioned chimney. One last look around and then I ducked inside the cabin, hoping to get at least a little bit of sleep before the sun would stretch its long golden arms up over the horizon – bringing on the challenge of another day.

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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Northern Michigan and UP Ice Shanty Removal Dates are Approaching

ice shanties07MAR19-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that mandatory ice shanty removal dates are approaching. Regardless of the date, shanties must be removed before the ice is unable to safely support them. In warmer weather, the ice quickly can become unsafe for anglers to retrieve their property.

The deadline for removal from waters in the northern Lower Peninsula is midnight Friday, March 15. Counties in this area include Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Isabella, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford.

  • Ice shanties in the southern Lower Peninsula may be used daily as long as the ice is safe, and they are removed each day.
  • On Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters, ice shanties must be removed by midnight Friday, March 15th.
  • For all Upper Peninsula counties, shanties must be removed by midnight Sunday, March 31st.
  • Following the mandatory removal dates, ice shanties still may be used but must be removed daily from the ice.

Shanty owners whose structures fall through the ice are subject to penalties of up to 30 days in jail, fines of $100 to $500, or both. If a shanty is removed by a government agency, the court can require the owner to reimburse that agency for an amount up to three times the cost of removal.

DNR conservation officers also remind individuals going onto the ice to use extreme caution as temperatures begin to rise in the spring. The repetitive thawing and refreezing of ice weakens its integrity, decreasing its ability to support additional weight from people, snowmobiles, ORVs and shanties. Deteriorating ice, water currents and high winds increase the probability of pressure cracks, which can leave anglers and others stranded on ice floes or at risk of falling through the ice.

For more information, watch the Michigan DNR ice safety tips video.

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 Michigan.gov/DNR.

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DNR Reminds Snow Mobile Riders to Watch for Moose

A moose walks along a road Saturday in the village of Champion in Marquette County.07MAR19-Heavy snowfall across much of the Upper Peninsula this winter is making conditions fantastic for snowmobiling, but not so great for moose and deer, resulting in riders and wildlife winding up on the same trails.
“The deep snow conditions can make using the packed snowmobile trails and roads attractive to wildlife, particularly deer and moose, because using trails makes it much easier for them to move,” said DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell. “We are getting reports from across the Upper Peninsula about deer and moose not wanting to leave the roadways or trails.”
In portions of Marquette and Baraga counties where moose are concentrated –particularly along Trail Nos. 5 and 14 – snow mobile riders are reminded to be on the lookout for moose on the trails.

Trail No. 5 runs north from southern Marquette County past the Silver Lake Basin and the Yellow Dog River, where it connects with Trail No. 14, which runs west past Mount Arvon to L’Anse in Baraga County.
“Moose will use the trails to avoid the deeper snow,” Roell said. “If snow mobile riders encounter a moose while riding, they should observe it from a distance and not chase the animal.”
Moose are not frightened by snowmobiles or other vehicles.
“Moose may stand their ground and refuse to leave the trail and could become aggressive,” Roell said. “Trail users encountering a moose on the trail should pick an alternate route or wait for the moose to move out of the trail before proceeding.”
Riders should not approach moose.
“If the animal shows interest by slowly walking towards you, or has its ears laid backwards, or the hairs on its back raised, put some space between you and the moose by backing up or turning around and leaving the area,” Roell said. “There are fines for harassing wildlife. It’s best to remember wildlife always has the right of way.”

For more information on moose in Michigan, visit the DNR’s webpage at Michigan.gov/Moose.

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Dead Fish May Show Up as Ice Begins to Thaw

dead fish floating in a lake06MAR19-Winter conditions – very cold temperatures and heavy snow over ice, for example – can kill fish and other aquatic creatures like turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish. When ice and snow start to melt in the spring, it’s likely that people will begin to discover those deaths.
"Winterkill is the most common type of fish kill," said Gary Whelan, the DNR Fisheries Division’s research manager. "As the season changes, it can be common in shallow lakes, ponds, streams and canals. These kills are localized and typically don’t affect the overall health of fish populations or fishing quality."
Shallow lakes with excess vegetation and soft bottoms are prone to winterkill. When aquatic vegetation under ice and snow dies from lack of sunlight, it uses up dissolved oxygen as it decays, and that creates fish kill conditions. Canals in urban areas also are susceptible due to run-off and pollution from roads and lawns and septic systems, again using up dissolved oxygen through the decay of vegetation and organic materials in sediments.

“Fish and other aquatic life typically die in late winter but may not be noticed until a month after the ice melts, because the dead fish are temporarily preserved on the lake bottom by the cold water. Once the water warms up, bacterial activity results in the dead fish coming to the surface,” Whelan said. “Fish also are affected by rapid water temperature changes due to unseasonably warm weather, leading to stress and sometimes mortality.”


Fish can get easily stressed as they often have low energy reserves in late winter and food is scarce. That equals less adaptability to low oxygen and temperature swings.


Anyone spotting a fish kill in larger quantities – 25 fish or more – should report it using the Sick or Dead Aquatic Species form available under the fish icon at
Michigan.gov/EyesInTheField. People also can contact local DNR offices. It’s important to report observations as soon as possible, allowing fisheries staff to collect the best-quality fish for analysis.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/FishHealth or contact Gary Whelan, 517-284-5840 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839

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Don't miss Conversations & Coffee with DNR fisheries staff

hands holding a Michigan DNR fishing guide and a green DNR coffee mug06MAR19-Wondering where the walleyes are? Sizing up salmon this season? Looking to lock down the ins and outs of local regulations? If you’re interested in talking with DNR fisheries staff about local and statewide issues important to you and your community, stop by one of the upcoming “Conversations & Coffee” events around the state this month and next.
The DNR has hosted those outings the past several years to give people an opportunity to meet with Fisheries Division managers and biologists, discuss local issues and management activities and get answers to specific questions. To encourage conversation, the meetings are very informal; at many, no formal presentations are planned. Refreshments will be provided.
These forums also are great opportunities to catch up on local and statewide fishing regulation changes that affect anglers.

The meeting schedule includes:

  • March 25th, 6 to 8 p.m., Escanaba
  • March 26th, 6 to 8 p.m. (Central), Iron Mountain
  • April 2nd, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Newberry
  • April 4th, 6 to 7:30 p.m. (Eastern), Munising
  • April 8th, 6 to 8 p.m., Mattawan
  • April 9th, 2 to 3 p.m., virtual meeting via Zoom
         (courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant)
  • April 9th, starting 6:30 p.m., Bay City
  • April 10th, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Waterford
  • April 16th, starting 6 p.m., Sault Ste. Marie
  • April 23rd, 6 to 8 p.m. (Central), Ironwood
  • April 24th, 7 to 9 p.m., Ishpeming
  • April 25th, 7 to 9 p.m., Houghton

For more detailed information about the meetings or other questions, visit Michigan.gov/Fishing or contact Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839

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Become a DNR Off-Road Vehicle Safety Education Instructor

An adult ORV safety instructor guides young riders through a cone course

05MAR19-If you love to ride the trails and you know how to do it safely, you could be the right fit for the DNR’s ORV 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 academy – all expenses paid – to learn policy and procedure, classroom management and teaching concepts. Attendees will explore many aspects of ORV operation, including basic hands-on skills on off-highway motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, utility-type vehicles and winching recovery equipment. Active instructors also are invited to brush up on knowledge and skills and experience changes in equipment.

Each academy is limited to 24 students; enrollment is first come, first served. Academy, lodging and meals will be provided if the candidates use the DNR-provided accommodations. Two ORV instructor academies are offered:

  • Friday-Sunday, May 3rd - 5th, Roscommon, at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center.
  • Friday-Sunday, June 7th - 9th, Escanaba, at the state fairgrounds.

Rear view of an ORV on a muddy trail, with another ORV up aheadThose interested in becoming certified ORV instructors must:

  • 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.

To receive an application, call Erica Moore, 517-284-5991. After a completed application is submitted, a background check will be conducted. Successful applicants then will be contacted to schedule their attendance at one of the ORV instructor academies.

Questions? Contact Cpl. John Morey, 989-619-3784.

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Battling Oak Wilt Disease

By KATHLEEN LAVEY - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

A closeup of oak leaves on an infected tree, which are an unusual mix of brown and green, with both colors contained in the leaves. 01MAR19-In state forests and on urban streets, the oak is a mighty tree. Towering nearly 100 feet tall, it can live up to 150 years and offers plenty of shade under its heavily-leafed, spreading branches.
But oaks – especially trees in the red oak family – face a threat from a disease known as oak wilt, caused by a fungus with microscopic spores that can infect and kill a red oak within weeks.
“The leaves begin to turn brown, with parts of them still green,” said James Wieferich, a forest health specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “When the leaves start dropping in the middle of summer, that’s when we get a lot of oak wilt calls.”
Wieferich said there’s good news and bad news about oak wilt.
The bad news: you cannot save a red oak that is already showing symptoms.
The good news: simple actions, such as refraining from pruning oak trees between April 15th and July 15th and covering accidental bark wounds with paint, can help keep healthy trees from being infected.

Pressure pads, which are a symptom of oak wilt, are shown from Grand Traverse County.On city streets, those steps help keep tree loss to a minimum. In state forests, plows and selective cutting help keep the disease at bay.
People who spot a tree with symptoms of oak wilt – in the city or the forest – are encouraged to check the DNR’s interactive oak wilt map at Michigan.gov/ForestHealth to report it.
So, what is this infection that can take down a towering oak?
Oak wilt is caused by the fungus Bretziella fagacearum. It spreads from tree to tree by underground root contact, through tiny, sap-feeding beetles that carry spores from fungal pads on infected trees into wounds on healthy oaks.
Spores also can be found on recently cut firewood from trees that died of oak wilt. This is one of the reasons why the DNR and other agencies advise against moving firewood.
Oaks in the red oak family, including black oak, northern red oak and northern pin oak, are most susceptible to the disease, which kills trees by interrupting the flow of sap.

Michigan DNR forest technician Scott Lint runs a vibratory plow treatment around an oak wilt-infected tree in the Manistee National Forest.Trees in the white oak group are less susceptible because they have a different internal cell structure that prevents rapid spread of the infection through the tree. Trees in the white oak group have rounded leaf edges and include white oak and swamp white oak.
The highest risk of infection occurs from April 15 through July 15, but it is prudent to avoid pruning or injuring oak trees until they have lost leaves for the winter.
If pruning or removing oaks cannot be avoided during the high-risk period, or a tree gets damaged, immediately cover wounds with tree-wound paint or latex-based paint. Treating tree wounds with paint is not usually recommended; doing so to combat oak wilt is the exception.
Infected trees will usually begin to display symptoms beginning in June through September. The symptoms include the leaves showing two colors during these months and rapid leaf drop from the tree’s upper crown.

Those trees are usually easy to spot in a backyard. DNR staffers also are keeping an eye out for oak wilt in state forests and taking measures to stop its spread.
“We prioritize our treatment efforts in new areas where there is not a lot of oak wilt,” said Scott Lint, a forest health specialist with the DNR.
Those areas include Otsego and Cheboygan counties in northern Michigan. In the Upper Peninsula, control efforts are focused on Menominee, Iron and Dickinson counties.
Other priority spots include state campgrounds and trail access sites where people come to enjoy the woods.
“For the rest of the state forest, we prioritize by the quality of the oak,” Lint said. “We tend to prioritize high-quality northern red oak rather than pin oak.”
Once an infection is spotted in a priority area, DNR staffers bring in a piece of heavy equipment known as a vibratory plow. It creates a deep trench to separate the roots of the infected tree from trees outside the perimeter.
“All of the trees within that circle have the potential to become infected and die,” Lint said.
Other oak trees within the circle are cut down. Sometimes they are salvaged for timber; other times they are left in place.
Within a treated area, new trees that sprout from stumps are likely to die from oak wilt because they are connected to the infected underground root system, where the disease can linger for a few years.  The roots of new oaks that generate from seeds aren’t deep enough to become infected. 
“Once we do the plowing, we have removed the risk of oak wilt spreading,” Lint said. “New seedlings that originate from seed will grow in that same area uninfected.”

Tips to avoid oak wilt:

  • Don’t prune oaks from mid-April through the summer.
  • If oak trees must be pruned or removed during the risk period, or a tree gets damaged, immediately cover wounds with tree-wound paint or latex-based paint.
  • Don’t move firewood, especially if it comes from oak wilt-killed trees, as it can harbor the fungus.
  • If firewood is suspected of being tainted by oak wilt, cover it with a plastic tarp all the way to the ground, leaving no openings. This keeps beetles away so they can’t move spores onto healthy trees. Leave wood covered until the fall of the year following tree death to keep the disease from spreading.

If the presence of oak wilt is suspected:

Whether in the forest or in urban areas, land managers and property owners taking a few relatively simple steps can prevent oak wilt infection and keep oaks towering over our backyards, city streets and forests for decades into the future.

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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DNR Warns Snow Mobile Riders about UP Trail Hazards

A trail groomer works along Trail No. 5 in Marquette County. (Dan Grove photo)28FEB19-Blizzard conditions that ripped through parts of the Upper Peninsula Sunday have created numerous hazards for snowmobilers across parts of five counties.

The storm crippled travel for motorists, with nearly 20 inches of snow dumped over some parts of Marquette County and higher amounts registered farther north in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Winds that surpassed 60 mph were clocked along the Lake Superior shoreline. Highway travel along M-28 between Marquette and Munising was shut down, while heavy loads of snow collapsed some rooftops.
“The Sunday blizzard has adversely impacted snowmobile trails throughout the north central and western U.P.,” said Rob Katona, Michigan Department of Natural Resources central U.P. trails specialist. “Heavy snowfall, combined with strong gusty winds, have created snow drifts 8 feet deep and higher, with numerous trees downed throughout the trail system.”

Areas hardest hit include the snowmobile trails located in Marquette, Baraga, Ontonagon, Houghton and Keweenaw counties.
Snowmobile clubs are clearing drifts and downed trees with grooming tractors.
“However, many are not pulling their drags that create the smooth, groomed trail surface until they have cleared all the drifts and debris,” Katona said. “Some areas may not be cleared and groomed until late this week or over the weekend.”
Until trails are cleared, riders should expect to encounter deep snow, downed trees and rough trail conditions, with some trail segments impassable, especially in open areas.
DNR conservation officers conducted several search and rescues Sunday after riders buried sleds in drifts along trails.
“Snow mobile riders who are inexperienced in riding in deep snow conditions are strongly encouraged to avoid the areas hardest hit, in favor or riding in the southern portion of the U.P., where the weather was not as severe and abundant snowfall this season has produced great trail conditions,” Katona said.

Check the latest on trail closures and re-openings at Michigan.gov/DNRClosures. For the latest trail conditions, see groomer reports at msasnow.org/trail-reports.

For more information on snowmobiling in Michigan, visit the DNR’s webpage at Michigan.gov/Snowmobiling.

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Blizzard Strands Many Snow Mobile Riders in Marquette County

A groomer shot this image of poor trail conditions along Trail No. 5 in Marquette County.28FEB19-Snow and strong winds during Marquette’s most recent winter storm created blizzard conditions so intense, several snow mobile riders became stranded.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers responded to several emergency calls to aid snow mobile riders Sunday, working through the night into the early hours of the next day.
“There were multiple people lost and stuck on the trails in Marquette County,” said Sgt. Mark Leadman. “None of these were quick rescues; everything was dragged out due to the extreme winter conditions.”
The storm raged through the area, shutting down traffic along M-28 between Marquette and Munising, dumping nearly 20 inches of snow near Negaunee and producing wind gusts over 60 miles per hour along the Lake Superior shoreline.
In one rescue mission, two Marquette men, ages 30 and 31, were snowmobiling near Trail No. 8 when they got separated from each other due to low visibility from the blowing snow. Both of the riders' snowmobiles became stuck in 6-foot-tall snow drifts.

Around 11 p.m., Conservation Officer John Kamps began assisting Marquette County Search and Rescue personnel in locating the two men. After looking for about an hour, one of the riders was found near the Lindberg Gravel Pit, north of Marquette County Road 480.
It was several hours later before the second snow mobile rider was located, about a quarter mile from where the first man had been found.
“Both men were cold, but in good condition,” Kamps said. “Unable to get their snowmobiles out of the deep snow drifts, both of the men were taken by first responders to a warm location near the gravel pit.”
Kamps then left the first search-and-rescue effort to respond to a second call for help along Trail No. 8, this one from a 52-year-old Marquette man who was stranded near the crossroads of County Road 480 and M-553.
The man had been snowmobiling home when he became lost in whiteout conditions. His snowmobile got stuck in a 3-foot snow drift. Kamps and a volunteer search-and-rescue team member entered the trail on their snowmobiles in the crossroads area.
After about 90 minutes of searching, they located the man, cold, but in good condition. The man had abandoned his snowmobile and walked the trail for 3 or 4 miles, searching for help. The man was given a ride back on the volunteer’s snowmobile. He was dropped off at a warm location around 1:30 a.m., where he was able to call for a ride home.
In another incident, farther west, Leadman and conservation officers Josh Boudreaux and Brett Delonge responded to a Marquette County Dispatch call about three men from Ohio who were stranded along Trail No. 5. The men made several calls for help to emergency dispatchers after their snowmobiles became stuck in drifted snow covering the trail.
“The roads weren’t passable,” Leadman said. “Conditions were blinding with extreme drifts.”
Using GPS coordinates obtained from the 911 call, the conservation officers searched the trail for several hours before they located the three men around 1 a.m.
With the sleds stuck in the snow, the conservation officers transported the men on their patrol sleds a distance of about 7 miles before arriving at a convenience store located at Koski Corners.
They got to the store, which is situated at the intersection of M-95 and U.S. 41 West, at about 3 a.m. There they were able to call a ride to pick them up. Neither of the snow mobile riders required medical attention.
“Conservation officers receive unique search and rescue training, as well as training on how to operate snowmobiles and ORVs in intense weather conditions,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “We are thankful to have officers located in every Michigan county, who are able to use their department resources to navigate into difficult environments.”
During the storm, which was one of the fiercest to hit the area in some time, the Mackinac Bridge had also been closed, while countless local roadways were choked with snow and drifted over. Police and weather forecasters warned motorists that travel would be difficult to impossible during the storm, urging drivers not to travel unless necessary.
While the sun broke through the clouds Monday afternoon over Marquette County, whiteout conditions persisted near Munising, with M-28 remaining closed. Sections of several snowmobile trails remained impassable for trail groomers, with trees downed and drifts higher than 8 feet in some places.

The DNR reminds snow mobile riders to always Ride Right to help prevent accidents and get everyone back home safe.

Michigan DNR conservation officers are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

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Share Your Thoughts with the DNR at Upcoming Meetings

The Department of Natural Resources is committed to providing Michigan citizens the opportunity to share input and ideas on policy decisions, programs and other aspects of natural resource management and outdoor recreation opportunities. One important avenue for this input is at meetings of the public bodies that advise the DNR and, in some cases, also set policies for natural resource management.

The following boards, commissions, committees and councils will hold public meetings in March. The public is encouraged to attend. The links below will take you to the webpage for each group, where you will find specific meeting locations and, when finalized, meeting agendas.

Please check these pages frequently, as meeting details and agendas may change and sometimes meetings are canceled.

In addition, the public is invited to join DNR Fisheries Division staff at Conversations & Coffee events in March for an informal opportunity to discuss local issues and management activities, and to get specific questions answered. More information, including April event dates, is available at Michigan.gov/Fishing or by contacting Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839.

  • March 25th, 6 to 8 p.m., Bay College, Escanaba
  • March 26th, 6 to 8 p.m., CDT, Bay College West Campus, Iron Mountain

March meetings

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Hand-Netting Season Opens March 1st, Dip Netting Opens March 20th

close-up view of a gizzard shad in the palm of someone's hand26FEB19-Spring fishing is right around the corner, and that means Michigan’s annual netting seasons are about to get under way. The hand-netting season opens Friday, March 1st, while the dip-netting season starts up Wednesday, March 20th. Both seasons close May 31st. A Michigan fishing license is required.

The following species can be taken during both seasons: bowfin, carp, gizzard shad, goldfish, longnose gar, smelt and suckers. Waters open to hand netting include all Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and the St. Marys River, including all tributaries to those waters from the mouth to a half-mile upstream. Waters open to dip netting include all Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula streams, except designated trout streams and other streams, as noted.

All other waters are closed to these activities. Full season details, as well as descriptions of dip netting and hand netting, are available on page 23 of both the 2018 (available now) and 2019 Michigan Fishing Guide (available March 1), posted at Michigan.gov/Fishing.

The use of seines, hand nets and dip nets for minnows is allowed all year on all waters (except designated trout streams and those waters closed to minnow harvest), while cast nets can be used for alewives, gizzard shad, minnows and smelt all year on the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River, the Detroit River and the St. Marys River.

For those interested in dipping for smelt later this spring, visit the DNR’s smelt dipping and fishing opportunities webpage.

Questions? Contact Christian LeSage, 517-284-5830 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

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Summer and Fall Job Opportunities with DNR Wildlife Division

Three DNR seasonal state workers helping with Wildlife Division's goose-banding effort

26FEB19-If you or someone you know is seeking valuable experience working in wildlife conservation – or just an interesting job that gets you outdoors – consider applying for one of more than 200 summer and fall positions with the DNR Wildlife Division.
The division regularly hires additional staff to work these seasons at DNR state field offices, customer service centers and state game areas. Seasonal staff helps in several areas, such as:

  • Assisting with wildlife habitat maintenance and improvement, which may include cutting clearings and adjusting water levels.
  • Mowing, landscaping and facility maintenance duties.
  • Handling tasks related to wildlife surveys, nuisance animal control and equipment maintenance.
  • Collecting biological data and samples for wildlife disease monitoring.
  • Assisting hunters at DNR deer check stations.

“These positions are perfect for college students, those looking to re-enter the workforce, and seniors or retirees who want to be involved in the outdoors,” said Jennifer Schafer, Wildlife Division's human resources liaison.
Some seasonal positions currently are open for application, and more will become available in the spring. Learn more about
seasonal positions in the Wildlife Division – and other openings throughout the department – at Michigan.gov/DNRJobs; scroll to the Seasonal and Temporary Positions section.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Schafer at 517-284-6163.

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Learn New Outdoor Skills from the Experts February Through June

close-up view of a butterfly on a bright yellow flower21FEB19-What began with a handful of classes at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center in Cadillac, Michigan, has evolved into a statewide opportunity for in-depth learning about a variety of outdoor topics – from fly fishing to food plots to photography.

About 300 students participated in the DNR’s Outdoor Skills Academy during its first year in 2014. By 2018 that number had nearly doubled to almost 600 participants.

“Our classes offer more than just a brief taste of outdoor activities – we spend a full day or more teaching the needed skills to get out and try those activities,” said Ed Shaw, interpreter at the Carl T. Johnson Center and originator of the Outdoor Skills Academy. “We provide gear, hands-on experience and expert instructors.”

These instructors – also known as “pro staff” – are knowledgeable and proficient in the outdoor pursuits they teach. Among the upcoming classes, for example, are a whitetail food plot and habitat management clinic with staff from Killer Food Plots, a class on attracting butterflies with native plants taught by naturalist Craig Elston of CDE Nature, a walleye fishing clinic with professional anglers and a wildflower photography workshop by world-renowned photographer Tom Haxby.

close-up view of a Michigan white-tailed deerUpcoming classes include:

  • April 13th: Turkey Hunting Clinic
  • April 14th: Walleye Fishing Clinic
  • April 27th: Bass Fishing for Beginners Clinic
  • May 4th: Beginners Fly-Fishing Clinic
  • May 18th: Whitetail Food Plot and Habitat Management Clinic
  • June 8th: Attracting Butterflies with Native Plants

Get more details and register for classes at Michigan.gov/OutdoorSkills. Additional classes will be posted throughout the year, so check back often.

Questions? Contact Ed Shaw at 231-779-1321.

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Master Angler Program has Some New Rules for 2019

little girl dressed in winter gear on a boat, holding a pumpkinseed fish21FEB19-Anyone hoping to submit a catch to the DNR’s Master Angler program – which each year recognizes the largest fish of several dozen species – will want to pay close attention to the 2019 application.

A few new rules have been added to the program for 2019, including:

  • No more than one entry for fish of the exact same size will be accepted for each species. (For example, if you catch two 10-inch bluegills, submit just one.)
  • Each entry must include at least one photo showing the fish being measured. Color photos of the entire fish are required, too; entries received without color photos will not be accepted.

“The DNR’s Master Angler program has more than tripled in popularity in the last five years,” said Lynne Thoma, the program’s administrator. “We want to recognize as many anglers as possible for their fishing accomplishments, while retaining the integrity of this program. We feel these new rules will help us do that.”

The Master Angler program runs on the calendar year (Jan. 1 through Dec. 31), rather than the fishing license year (April 1 through March 31). The program includes more than 50 species of fish in both catch-and-keep and catch-and-release categories. All fish entered must be taken by legal Michigan sportfishing methods, during the open season, and in Michigan waters open to the public.

Download the 2019 Master Angler application at Michigan.gov/MasterAngler. People are encouraged to review the application every year for program changes. Applications can be submitted via mail or email; the current year’s form is due Jan. 10, 2020.

Questions? Contact Lynne Thoma, 517-284-5838 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.

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New Daily Limit for Yellow Perch Starts April First

View from above, of several yellow perch in a bucket06FEB19-If you’re planning to fish for yellow perch this spring, keep in mind that there’s a new daily possession limit – 25 fish, reduced from 50 – starting April 1st on nearly all state waters. Exceptions include:

  • Lake Erie, which will retain a 50-fish daily limit.
  • Lake Gogebic in Gogebic and Ontonagon counties, which will have the 25-fish daily limit, but with no more than five of those fish being 12 inches or longer.

The Michigan Natural Resources Commission approved the proposed fishing regulation change late last year, after extensive public and scientific reviews. The new regulation is effective with the start of the 2019 Michigan fishing season.
The DNR collected many comments from concerned anglers and others interested in reducing the daily possession limit for yellow perch. Lowering the statewide daily possession limit also supports consistent yellow perch regulations across waterbodies, particularly connecting waters, tributaries and drowned river mouths.

“The major goal for lowering the yellow perch daily possession limit was to better achieve an optimal balance between conservation and fishing opportunity, reflecting the importance and popularity of yellow perch in Michigan,” said Christian LeSage who works for the DNR’s Aquatic Species and Regulatory Affairs Unit. “Yellow perch are among the most sought-after game species in Michigan, and we want to ensure generations of anglers can continue to enjoy fishing for them.”
Starting March 1, the 2019 Michigan Fishing Guide will be available online and in printed copy form at fishing license retailers. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DNRDigests.

Questions? Contact Christian LeSage, 517-284-5830 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839

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Join in the Celebration of State Parks’ 100th anniversary


Still frame from state parks centennial video04FEB19-May 12th of 2019 officially marks the 100th anniversary of Michigan state parks,
and the DNR is celebrating this milestone all year long. You can join in the centennial
celebration by sharing memories and photos, attending special events, participating in
the new GeoTour, learning about the rich history of state parks and so much more.
Almost 100 years ago, the Michigan State Park Commission set the course for visitors to enjoy and explore our four seasons of fun.  Throughout this year our website will feature historic stories and centennial-related information on Michigan State Parks starting in May and running through September.
We will introduce our Campfire Storytelling Project during this celebration, too.  Seasoned storytellers will share their state park stories and you'll have an opportunity to share your own at spring and summer events around Michigan.  Each event will be edited down to a podcast hosted on our centennial website.

Schedule of events:

Tuesday, May 21st in Lansing (location TBD)
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

See our full story from January 18th further down on this web page.

Find more details about how to get involved at Michigan.gov/StateParks100.

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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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