Small Game Hunting Opens Sunday Statewide
around Michigan are getting ready to get outdoors! Sunday,
September 15th, marks the statewide start of
hunting season for cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, ruffed grouse, fox
and gray squirrel. Woodcock season, also statewide, follows less than a
week later on September 21st.
Before hitting the forests and fields, every small game hunter needs to
have a Michigan base license. A resident base license costs $11 and is
valid as a small game license.
The base license allows hunters to hunt for rabbit, hare, squirrel (fox
and gray), pheasant, ruffed grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, woodchuck,
woodcock, quail, crow, coyote (Michigan residents only) and waterfowl
during the open season for each species.
Hunting for pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse, woodcock or waterfowl?
Remember these extras (all of which are available via e-License:
Pheasant and sharp-tailed grouse require a free endorsement.
Woodcock hunters need a free woodcock stamp.
Waterfowl hunters 16 and older need a federal migratory bird hunting
stamp (also known as a federal duck stamp) and a Michigan waterfowl
Hunters coming from out of state also have options for a three-day or
seven-day nonresident base license. Base licenses can be purchased online
or wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold.
Before you go, get additional season dates and regulations information
2019 Hunting Digest or visit
Questions? Contact the
DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453
What's a Weir? Free Tour During Fall "Egg
Take" and Find Out
10SEP19-If you’ve ever wondered how the DNR gets the eggs it uses for
fish production or wanted to see big Great Lakes fish up close and
personal, think about catching a tour of one of the northern Michigan
The Boardman River Weir in downtown Traverse City, the Little Manistee
River Weir in Manistee County and the Upper Platte River Weir in Benzie
County will be open for free tours to the public and school groups from
mid-September through the end of October.
This is the perfect time to see these weirs – structures that block fish
from passing upstream – in action, because all three will be used to aid
fall fish collection. The DNR will be collecting surplus Chinook and Coho
salmon at the Boardman River Weir. Chinook salmon harvested at the
Manistee River Weir support the DNR’s work to collect fertilized eggs for
this key fish species. Additionally, the weir at Platte River State Fish
Hatchery helps staff collect Coho salmon in order to extract fertilized
eggs for continued production in the hatchery system.
During the tours, students and visitors will learn about salmon
biology, how weirs and fish ladders work, invasive species, state fish
hatcheries and the impact of egg-collection efforts on Michigan’s
fisheries. The programs tie in components of history, ecology, biology and
Tours will begin Friday at the Boardman River Weir,
October 2nd at the Little Manistee River Weir and
October 16th at the Platte River State Fish
Hatchery. Group tours are available by appointment.
Schedule a group tour now.
To learn more about state hatcheries and weirs, visit
Michigan.gov/Hatcheries. Check for updates at two of the weirs
throughout the season by calling their hotlines:
Platte River: 231-325-4611, ext. 21
Little Manistee River: 231-775-9727, ext. 6072
Tracy Page, 517-284-6033.
keep our waterfowl and other birds safe by removing trash from an
Important Bird Area in Saginaw County Saturday,
September 21st, World Cleanup Day. Join MI Birds, the DNR and
Michigan United Conservation Clubs' On the Water program and volunteer at
stewardship day at Shiawassee River State Game Area.
10SEP19-Celebrate something we all share: our public lands. Join
hundreds of thousands of people at sites throughout the country and take
National Public Lands Day, Saturday,
September 28th, the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort
for public lands. Enjoy the outdoors and lend a hand to help ensure these
spaces stay beautiful for all.
Find Your Trail During Michigan Trails Week,
it’s on foot or on horseback, a mountain bike or a snowmobile – or even in
a canoe – Michigan has a trail for you.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared September 22nd-29th
as "Trails Week" in Michigan, a great opportunity to hit the trails
for the first time, revisit familiar favorites or try out a new trail
With more than 12,500 miles of designated trails, including more
rail-trail miles than any other state, Michigan has earned its reputation
as the Trails State.
“It doesn’t matter the season, it doesn’t matter where you are in the
state, Michigan has your trail,” said Paul Yauk, state trails coordinator
with the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division. “It’s unbelievable the
number of trails available across the state. They’re a great resource to
help people stay healthy and active, explore history or just have fun.”
Michigan also boasts the Iron Belle Trail, the longest state-designated
trail in the nation. With two distinct routes – one for hiking and one for
biking – the 2,050-mile Iron Belle Trail is a catalyst for communities
across Michigan to connect to each other. The trail stretches from Belle
Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the western Upper Peninsula.
Michigan Trails Week not only celebrates trails on land, but also water
trails. Earlier this year, Michigan announced its first-ever designated
water trails and launched the Pure Michigan Trails and Trail Towns
program, which recognized six trails and four trail towns for having broad
community support and a sustainable maintenance and marketing plan and
providing users with a quality trail experience.
“Michigan’s vast and diverse trails system plays a big role in stimulating
tourism and encouraging healthy lifestyles for all ages,” said Ron Olson,
DNR Parks and Recreation chief. “We deeply appreciate all of our trail
partners who are critical to sustaining quality trails throughout the
Learn more at
Paul Yauk, 517-331-0111.
Open House to discuss Cuts, Prescribed Burns
& More-State Forests
such as prescribed burns, timber harvests and tree thinning all are
planned regularly to help keep Michigan’s 4 million acres of state forest
The DNR finalizes plans for management activity in each forest management
unit two years in advance. This fall, recommendations for 2021 are being
presented at open houses in several locations. At open houses, people can
talk to foresters, wildlife biologists and other DNR professionals
regarding these plans.
Open houses coming up during September include:
Gwinn Forest Management Unit: 2-6:30 p.m. Wednesday,
September 18th, at the Marquette Operations
Service Center, 1990 U.S. 41 South, Marquette.
Sault Ste. Marie Forest Management Unit: 3-6 p.m. Tuesday,
September 17th, at the Naubinway Field
Office, W11569 U.S. 2, Naubinway; and 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at
the Kinross Township Hall, 4884 W. Curtis St., Kincheloe.
Shingleton Forest Management Unit: 4-7 p.m. Thursday,
September 26th, at the Wyman Nursery, 480 N
Intake Park Road, Manistique.
See a full open house schedule.
About a month after each open house, a public compartment review
meeting also will take place. That’s where foresters present their final
decisions on management activities. Upcoming compartment review meetings
Escanaba Forest Management Unit: 9 a.m. Thursday,
September 12th, at the State Office
Building, 305 Ludington St., Escanaba.
Roscommon Forest Management Unit: 9 a.m. Tuesday,
September 17th, at the Roscommon Customer
Service Center, 8717 N. Roscommon Road, Roscommon.
See a full compartment review schedule.
For more information, including a link to the
interactive forest map showing details of all forest management
activities, visit the public input section of the DNR’s
Making Michigan’s Outdoor Recreation More Accessible
By DIANA PAIZ ENGLE - Michigan Department of Natural Resources
That's all it took. Flat on my back, head raised slightly, core muscles
straining as I rode a sled 20 miles an hour down the summer luge track at
the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex inside Muskegon State Park in West
Nine seconds to travel 300 feet is fun for just about anyone. Speaking for
myself, as someone with a disability, it was more than fun – it was a
thrilling personal first.
The truth is that people with physical disabilities don't often have
opportunities to experience speed independently. People who use
wheelchairs encounter a lack of both adaptive equipment and barrier-free
People who are blind, as I am, face challenges that are not physical, but
obstacles of people's misconceptions.
My first summer luge experience took place after last week’s meeting of
the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Accessibility Advisory
Council, whose members, appointed by the DNR director, represent
disability communities, recreation organizations and industry, and other
state government departments.
I was there as a member of the DNR Accessibility Team, an internal team
that serves as a liaison between the department and the council. The
council had gathered at Muskegon State Park to hear from park supervisor
Greg Sherburn and Jim Rudicil, executive director of the winter sports
complex, about existing accessibility features and future improvement
in its 10th year, the summer luge is the world’s first universally
accessible wheel luge track. It includes three different ways for people
to transfer from a wheelchair or other mobility device to a sled at the
top of the track.
"We want to meet the needs of all customers," Rudicil said. "It's an
important part of our mission. We embrace the philosophy of universal
accessibility and work to solve obstacles."
This fall brings construction projects at the winter sports complex and
the park that will enhance visitor experiences for everyone in 2020.
Work on a dual zipline breaks ground in October. Rudicil said that his
team's commitment to universal accessibility led to a final design that
added 300 feet to the original 1,000-foot length.
"Now, when it debuts next year, the zipline will be an even more exciting,
accessible experience for everyone," he said.
The winter luge also will be lengthened to improve accessibility. Rudicil
feels that luge is a sport where people with disabilities can compete
alongside athletes without disabilities.
"Luge requires upper body strength, position and memory,” he said.
“These are attributes that, for example, might already exist in someone
who uses a wheelchair or someone with a sight impairment."
are not standing still in the park outside of the sports complex.
The channel campground – the larger and more popular of Muskegon State
Park's two campgrounds – has closed early for the demolition of two
"The channel campground has accessible campsites but, at roughly 50 years
old, the toilet buildings were not accessible," Sherburn said. "With the
opening of two modern facilities next spring, we'll be able to fully meet
the needs of all channel campers."
A “Brock Dock” – a hard, level path on the beach – gets people of varying
mobility levels close to the water's edge. Like many features created to
improve accessibility, it also is used by the general public.
"People who don't want to burn their feet in the sand appreciate the
‘Brock Dock’ too," Sherburn said.
The dock is not the only way for people with mobility challenges to get
to the lake.
Muskegon State Park has received one of five track chairs donated to
the DNR by Kali's Cure for Paralysis Foundation. These battery-powered
chairs can go off road, handling trails, sand, snow and up to 8 inches of
The other track chairs donated by Kali's Cure are available to use free of
charge at Belle Isle Park, Mayberry State Park, Tahquamenon Falls State
Park and the Waterloo Recreation Area.
Watch a video about how the track chairs work.
May, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined DNR Director Dan Eichinger and DNR Parks
and Recreation Chief Ron Olson at Grand Haven State Park in a ceremonial
kickoff of the state parks centennial.
With more than $6 million spent on accessibility and infrastructure there,
Eichinger said that the park exemplified DNR visitor-focused investment.
"Grand Haven," he said at the ceremony, "is a testament to the future
of Michigan state parks.”
Well, as they say, the future is now.
Cindy Burkhour of Access Recreation Group is a longtime member of the
Accessibility Advisory Council. Among the myriad projects she has been
involved with over the years, she helped design the transfers for visitors
with disabilities at the summer luge and at a DNR-led project at Ocqueoc
Falls, the nation's first accessible waterfall.
Check out a video of Ocqueoc Falls in Presque Isle County.
"I have seen a cultural, attitudinal shift," she said. “More and more
people see how accessible features like raised firepits, adaptive picnic
tables and accessible toilet/shower facilities benefit everyone, not just
people with disabilities."
Burkhour credits creative thinking and considering accessibility at a
project start with elevating accessibility within the DNR.
"Michigan is far ahead of other state parks systems," she said.
Wilderness State Park at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula, has
been seeing an increase in visitors of varying mobility levels in the
campgrounds and the day-use area, park supervisor Burr Mitchell said.
At the same time, he was confronting aging infrastructure at the park and
was approached by Eagle Scouts looking for a project.
With funds from sources including the Michigan Natural Resources Trust
Fund, Disabilities Network of Northern Michigan and park visitors,
Wilderness State Park debuted a host of accessibility enhancements this
The park now boasts a barrier-free campground registration building and
toilet/shower building in the Lakeshore Campground and a wide range of
barrier-free rustic, modern and full-hook-up campsites developed to
provide a wider range of camper amenities.
"Having a disability doesn't change what you want your camping experience
to be from what anyone else wants," Mitchell said.
That includes the desire to splash around and have fun in Lake
Michigan. This summer, the park added Mobi mats that offer a portable,
steady surface across sand to the water's edge.
But another piece of adaptive equipment has made an indelible impact on
park visitors and staff – the floating chair. With someone safely strapped
in the seat, the chair can go into the water, as the armrests and wheels
allow it to float.
"Twice this summer, we witnessed visitors able for the first time to be in
the water, enjoying it together with their friends and family," Mitchell
said. "Everyone was in tears."
More information about accessible parks, beaches, trails, hunting,
fishing and more is available at
You can make a donation to improve accessibility at your favorite state
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
Share Your Thoughts with the DNR at Upcoming Meetings
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.
boards, commissions, committees and councils will hold public
meetings next month. The public is encouraged to attend. The links below
will take you to the webpage for each group, where you will find specific
meeting locations and, when finalized, meeting agendas.
Please check this page frequently, as meeting details and agendas may
change and sometimes meetings are canceled.
Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee –
September 19th, 9 to 11 a.m., Belle Isle Nature Center, Detroit
(Contact: Barbara Graves, 517-284-6135)
Lake Erie/St. Clair Citizens' Fishery Advisory Committee –
September 24th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Belle
Isle Nature Center, Detroit (Contact: Jim Francis, 248-666-9157)
Lake Michigan Citizens' Fishery Advisory Committee –
September 17th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Michigan
United Conservation Corps Headquarters, Lansing (Contact: Jay Wesley,
Michigan Historical Commission – September
19th, 10 a.m., First Universalist Church of Concord, Concord
(Contact: Michelle Davis, 517-335-2585)
Michigan Natural Resources Commission –
September 12th, 10:30 a.m., Northern Michigan University -
Ballroom, Marquette (Contact: Cheryl Nelson, 517-284-6237)
Michigan Trails Advisory Council -
September 11th, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Northern Michigan University,
Marquette (Contact: Annalisa Centofanti, 517-284-6112)
Off-road Vehicle Advisory Workgroup –
September 11th, 8 a.m. to noon, Northern Michigan University,
Marquette (Contact: Jessica Holley, 517-331-3790)
Timber Advisory Council – September 20th,
8:30 to 9:30 a.m., conference call; dial 888-557-8511, access code
8718230 (Contact: Kimberley Korbecki, 517-284-5876)
Underwater Salvage and Preserve – September
11th, 1 p.m., Michigan Library and Historical Center, Lansing
(Contact: Sheri Giffin, 517-335-2591)
Upper Peninsula Citizens’ Advisory councils - Joint meeting -
September 11th, 3 p.m., Northern Michigan
University - Northern Center - Ballroom 1, Northern Michigan University,
Marquette (Contact: Stacy Welling Haughey, 906-226-1331)
Preserving Michigan's Underwater Heritage
By CASEY WARNER
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
a nickname like the Great Lakes State, it’s clear that Michigan has strong
ties to the four mighty lakes that surround it.
For hundreds of years, these inland seas have provided a transportation
route for people living, playing and doing business in Michigan.
Vessels from canoes to steamers to schooners and modern ore freighters
have sailed the Great Lakes through the years. Many ships sank before
reaching their destination due to storms, shoals and human error.
An estimated 6,000 vessels have been lost on the Great Lakes, about 1,500
of them in Michigan waters. These shipwrecks remain remarkably preserved
by the lakes’ cold, fresh water, offering a unique look at Michigan’s
“Shipwrecks in the Great Lakes are very uniquely situated, and they’re
preserved incredibly well compared to most shipwrecks in marine
environments. It’s basically because there’s no salt in the water and
there are no critters in the water that directly eat these kinds of
things,” said Wayne Lusardi, state maritime archaeologist with the
Michigan History Center, in the documentary “Sunken
Treasure,” produced by the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council,
Inc. The council is a private, nonprofit organization that manages a
system of state-designated underwater preserves created to protect and
interpret Michigan’s shipwrecks.
cold, clear waters of the Great Lakes have preserved the most intact
collection of wooden shipwrecks in the world, and Michigan’s waters hold
the greatest concentration of those wrecks, according to Ron Bloomfield,
who serves on the council and works as collections manager/faculty with
the Museum of Cultural and Natural History/Museum Studies Program at
Central Michigan University.
“In salt water, wood disappears fairly rapidly,” Bloomfield said. “There
are many vessels in Michigan’s waters that still have viable wood
surviving after almost two centuries on the bottom.”
Though the Great Lakes waters preserve the shipwrecks, some with their
masts still upright, bringing parts of the wrecks to the surface
compromises them – iron rusts, wood dries out and crumbles, paper yellows
Read a sidebar story about the sinking of the Selvick.
Until about 40 years ago, it wasn’t uncommon for divers to take
artifacts from the wrecks to keep as collectors’ items.
“Each shipwreck is a time capsule representing a specific, sometimes
tragic moment. To see them, whether through a clear-bottom canoe or diving
goggles, is to sense the lives of people from the past,” said Sandra
Clark, director of the Michigan History Center, part of the Department of
Natural Resources. “Because Michigan wants future generations to explore,
research and enjoy them just as we do now, we have protected them.”
In 1980, Michigan adopted laws protecting the shipwrecks on its Great
Lakes bottomlands – no one can bring anything up from them without a
permit, issued by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and
Energy, based on a clear plan for how the item will be preserved and
shared with the public.
In recent years, recognizing the importance of protecting the shipwrecks’
historic resources, Great Lakes divers have fostered a dive ethic known
as, "Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but bubbles."
Michigan’s underwater preserves
in 1980, a system of volunteer-managed underwater preserves was created.
Today there are
13 preserves around the state, from the Keweenaw Underwater
Preserve at the tip of the Upper Peninsula to the Southwest Michigan
Underwater Preserve near the state’s southern border. These preserves
include approximately 7,200 square miles of Great Lakes bottomland – an
area larger than the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
One of the preserves, Thunder Bay in the northeastern Lower Peninsula, was
designated a national marine sanctuary in 2000. The
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve,
managed through a state/federal partnership between the Michigan History
Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is the
only freshwater sanctuary in the national system.
Thunder Bay features the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, a
free visitor center with exhibits and activities, and the Great Lakes
Maritime Heritage Trail along northeast Michigan’s Lake Huron shoreline.
“One of the best things about our preserves is the tie-in with various
stages of Michigan's history of settlement. From the earliest Mackinaw
boats and wooden schooners, through changes in sail configuration from
square-rigged sails to fore-and-aft schooners, the development of swinging
keels to allow entry into shallow harbors, and on to the first
under-powered side-wheel steamers, then to propellers, the changes from
small hatches between masts to the clear deck plan on the modern bulk
freighter, and the transition to iron and steel vessels,” said Dan
Friedhoff, who serves on the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council and on
the board of directors for the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve.
are examples of each of these stages of shipbuilding advances within
Michigan’s underwater preserve system, sometimes all within a single
“Some areas also have interesting geologic dive sites, with clay banks,
rock mazes, or underwater cliffs and waterfalls from ancient river
systems,” Friedhoff said.
Bloomfield agrees that the resources contained within the preserves –
including other cultural and natural features as well as shipwrecks –
provide a unique historical perspective.
“They are a capsule history of Michigan’s settlement, growth, and
prosperity. In one preserve alone – Straits – you have a large modern
freighter lost in 1965 (Cedarville) resting not too far from a
110-foot-long brig that was lost in 1856 (Sandusky),” he said. “The rest
of the collection includes vessels of many shapes and sizes that traversed
the waters of the Great Lakes from the early settlement of Michigan
through the present day hauling goods, foodstuffs, people and their
possessions, and raw products like iron ore and wood, both significant to
Michigan’s economic wellbeing.
"This juxtaposition of older and more recent wrecks is found in most of
the other preserves as well.”
Small items, such as plates, bells, ships’ rigging, cargo and other
artifacts that often remain where they were left many years before, also
help tell the stories of the shipwrecks and their times.
“The shipwrecks here that are from the middle 19th century, some are
literally intact just as if they can still sail again if you took the
water out of them. The masts are still standing, the rigging is still in
the mast, the artifacts may be distributed about the deck or in the
cabin,” Lusardi said in “Sunken Treasure.”
“And it’s a fantastic opportunity to see the vessels like this that are
so well preserved.”
It’s an opportunity that brings divers from far and wide to visit
preserves are known to hold some the finest dive sites in the world –
including intact wooden wrecks, unheard of in saltwater diving – drawing
in divers from around the globe,” Friedhoff said. “Photos from Michigan
preserves are featured in dive magazines worldwide, and when people travel
this far to dive our wrecks, they often extend their visits to experience
shipwrecks in multiple preserves, to the benefit of nearby businesses and
Most of the underwater preserves have dive charter services. There are
boat ramps, marinas and other facilities for divers with their own boats.
Shore-access diving also is available from many preserves.
Many of the popular dive sites are marked by buoys that volunteers with
the Michigan Underwater Preserve Council have placed.
The Michigan Underwater Salvage and Preserve Committee, which advises the
DNR and other state agencies on policies and permits concerning shipwrecks
on Great Lakes bottomlands, has been working to secure funding and permits
to put more buoys on wrecks for the safety of the wrecks and divers.
The Great Lakes’ most famous shipwreck – the wreck of the Edmund
Fitzgerald, which lies at the bottom of the southeastern portion of Lake
Superior (just over the border in Canadian waters) – is protected from
diving as a gravesite. Visitors can see some of the ship’s artifacts on
display, and learn more about this and other wrecks, at the Great Lakes
Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point in Paradise.
A view from above
For those who prefer to stay dry, there are glass-bottom boat tours,
museums and interpretive trails that tell the dramatic and sometimes
tragic stories of sailors and their ships.
The Underwater Salvage and Preserve Committee also is working with DNR to
create an online map for armchair shipwreck explorers and to build a
strategy to connect more people, including kayakers, snorkelers,
glass-bottom boat tourists, divers and people exploring museums and
heritage trails on land, to Michigan shipwrecks and underwater preserves.
“We believe that people value what they know about and preserve what they
value,” Clark said of this planned outreach effort.
The culture preserved through the remains of these vessels – ship
construction, shipboard life, cargo – provides a tangible link to the past
for the diver to experience firsthand and the nondiver to experience
through imagery and video.
“You do not have to be a diver to truly appreciate the history and
significance of a shipwreck in the Great Lakes,” Bloomfield said. “There
are many terrestrial archaeological sites in the state of Michigan;
however, there are no places on land that I know of where you can see a
brig that was built in 1848 still relatively intact and upright. In
Michigan, you can see one preserved in 70 feet of Lake Michigan water to
the west of the Mackinac Bridge.”
Many of the thousands of Great Lakes shipwrecks have been found, but it’s
likely that many more will be discovered with the availability of modern
technology that makes it easier to scan the bottomlands and to remotely
dive to greater depths.
Find more information about Michigan shipwrecks and underwater preserves
Anyone with information about the illegal removal, alteration or
destruction of shipwrecks and associated artifacts can call or text the
DNR Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.
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
Citizen Tips Lead to Gladwin Man with Illegal Panfish
receiving multiple tips from local anglers about possible over-fishing on
Gladwin County’s Lake Lancer, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
conservation officers spoke with the suspected man twice in one day while
he was at the lake. The second contact of the day led to a voluntary
search of the 67-year-old Gladwin man’s garage freezers, where officers
discovered a significant number of panfish – ultimately issuing a ticket
for illegally taking more than 1,400 panfish.
Conservation Officer Mark Papineau said he had received many reports about
a fisherman who frequented the lake.“The angler’s vehicle often was
spotted in the parking lot of a private boat launch and the angler himself
was witnessed fishing Lake Lancer several times per day,” Papineau said.
Based on the leads, Papineau and Conservation Officer Joshua Wright
conducted a marine patrol at the lake the morning of August 14th.
When the officers arrived at the boat launch, they saw a vehicle with a
boat trailer that matched the reported vehicle description. During their
patrol, the officers contacted an angler . The angler presented a fishing
license and was found to have 13 panfish in his possession – he was within
the daily limit of 25 panfish.
When the officers returned to the boat launch later that morning, the
suspect’s vehicle and boat trailer were gone. Checking the area later in
the day, Papineau and Wright noticed the angler’s vehicle and boat trailer
had returned. After about an hour, the man returned to the dock. Spotting
the officers, the Gladwin man immediately said, “I’m not over my limit.”
Wright asked him how many fish he had, and he repeated that he was not
over his limit.
The conservation officers continued talking with the man and learned that
he was in possession of 24 panfish. The angler confessed to the 13 panfish
he caught earlier in the day, too, and invited the officers to follow him
to his residence to obtain those fish as evidence.
At his Gladwin residence, the man consented to let Papineau and Wright
search his garage chest freezers, which held the 19 panfish caught earlier
in the day – six additional fish to what the man had originally claimed.
Additionally, the officers found more than 70 bags of filleted panfish.
The legal panfish daily limit includes 25 per day, in addition to two
days’ worth of processed fish. In total, the man exceeded the limit by
more than 1,400 fish.
Papineau and Wright confiscated the fish and issued the angler a ticket.
Once the fish is no longer needed as evidence, it will be donated to a
local food bank or church.
“Thank you to the anglers who reported the suspicious activity to
Conservation Officer Papineau,” said Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law
Enforcement Division. “It’s because of honest people like this that
Michigan’s natural resources can be protected for and enjoyed by future
If you witness or suspect a natural resource violation, call or text
Report All Poaching hotline, available 24/7, at 800-292-7800. Learn
more about the work of Michigan’s conservation officers at
ICYMI: See How Grant Dollars are Helping
Fight Invasive Species
probably heard about the problems caused by invasive species, but do you
know what is being done to fight them in Michigan?
In case you missed it, the state of Michigan recently
released an online story map that lets people explore ongoing
projects across the state that aim to protect Michigan’s forests, waters
and open spaces from invasive species.
Since 2014, the Michigan Legislature has provided $3.6 million annually
to support projects dedicated to preventing and managing invasive species
through the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program. Now, you can learn
more about all of those projects in one place.
Read the full story here.
Park Rangers Recognized for Exemplary
lifesaving actions of four DNR park rangers this year were recognized by
the department at the Aug. 8 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources
Commission meeting in Lansing:
Andrew Lundborg helped rescue a kite surfer at Grand Haven State Park
July 18. After a visitor noticed the victim in distress and being swept
away by the current, Lundborg entered the water with a life jacket and
successfully threw a rescue line. Upon pulling the victim into shallow
water, he helped the fatigued man to shore. Lundborg's actions kept the
man from being pushed into the rocks of the pier or taken farther away
Nick Sparks and Chad Cook immediately took action to help a park
patron who encountered trouble while kayaking July 25 at Sterling State
Park. The kayaker was overpowered by strong waves in Lake Erie, and the
kayak was taking on water. Sparks and Cook launched a rescue boat and
located the kayaker after a thorough search.
Zachary Bierlein helped save a Holly Recreation Area visitor on the
evening of May 31. Bierlein found a young woman at Heron Beach
unresponsive after overdosing on heroin. After the woman's breathing
became labored and her pulse started to decline, Bierlein began CPR upon
a 911 responder’s instruction. He performed CPR for 10 minutes until
paramedics arrived. Paramedics said that if Bierlein had arrived five
minutes later, the woman would have died.
"I believe we have some of the most dedicated park rangers within
Michigan state parks," said DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson.
"These men and women not only ensure that our parks run smoothly, but they
address just about any issue that arises."
Learn more about the important work of
park rangers and other DNR staff at
Ron Olson, 517-284-6135.
Rock Reef Fish Spawn Habitat Restoration
Underway Saginaw Bay
been more than 20 years in the making, but this month a fish spawning
habitat restoration dream becomes a reality for Saginaw Bay. The DNR and
Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy have built a coalition
to restore a 2-acre rock reef at the Coreyon Reef site, about 11 miles
northeast of the mouth of the Saginaw River.
The restoration project focuses on the trailing edge of a historic rock
reef complex that existed naturally in the bay until it was heavily
degraded by sand and sedimentation from long-standing erosion in the
Restoration efforts began this month and should be completed by early
fall. Once done, the restored reef will be roughly 2 acres and reach a
peak of about 5 feet off the bottom in 18 feet of water. The rock, placed
by Great Lakes Dock and Materials, LLC from Muskegon, is crushed limestone
and glacial cobble. In all, approximately 22,500 tons of rock will be used
to build the reef, carefully placed in precise positions and dimensions by
barges and cranes.
“Many fish species use critical and limited rocky habitats, like cobble
and gravel, to spawn on because it can protect their eggs from predators
and ensure they get enough oxygen to incubate,” said Dave Fielder, a DNR
fisheries research biologist.
“Walleye, lake whitefish and lake trout are expected to benefit the
most from this habitat restoration – but other fish may use the reef,
including cisco, which are being reintroduced in the bay through a new
stocking program, or smallmouth bass," Fielder said. "We hope the reef
restoration will promote a more resilient fish population for the
Principal funding for the project came from a $980,000 U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency grant, with funds originating from the
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The final project total is $1.379
million and includes $25,000 from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative and
various agency funds from within EGLE.
Dave Fielder (DNR), 989-356-3232, ext. 2572 or
Bretton Joldersma (EGLE), 517-256-1773. For more information on
this project, including a list of involved partners, visit MichiganSeaGrant.org/SaginawBayReef.
New Story Map Documents Michigan Invasive Species Grant
its inception in 2014, the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program has
allocated over $18.5 million in grants to universities, non-profits and
units of government to prevent, detect and manage invasive species in
Now, you can see all 112 grant-funded projects in one place with the
MISGP story map, a digital multimedia tool that allows you to
explore efforts in your area and across the state to protect our forests,
waters and open spaces from the effects of invasive species. You can
access the story map on the MISGP website at
The story map tracks MISGP progress through program metrics and
includes an interactive funding dashboard that allows users to
cross-reference grant funding by project category, recipient type and
Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas now provide technical
assistance to public and private landowners in every county of the state.
CISMAs are groups of non-profit and government agencies, businesses and
volunteers working together to tackle invasive species in their regions.
The story map is an easy way for users to explore local CISMA projects and
access CISMA services.
Summaries of grant-supported studies on managing invasive species
including Eurasian watermilfoil, phragmites and oak wilt are available on
the story map, with links to final project reports. Local and statewide
prevention and outreach efforts also are featured, with easy access to
Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program is a joint effort of the
Michigan departments of Natural Resources; Environment, Great Lakes, and
Energy; and Agriculture and Rural Development. Total program funding is
set by the Legislature and the governor during the annual budget cycle.
Local, state, federal and tribal units of government, nonprofit
organizations and universities may apply for funding through the MISGP to
support invasive species projects conducted in Michigan. The 2019 request
for proposals can be found at
Michigan.gov/MISGP. Full project proposals are due by Sept. 3.
Michigan's Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by
the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, the Department of
Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.
Harrison Boy Scouts Honored
with DNR Partners in Conservation Award
20 consecutive years a Boy Scout troop from Harrison, Michigan, has spent
one weekend a year volunteering to guard lake sturgeon from illegal
harvest during the fish species’ annual spawning run. For its dedication
to this species, and to Michigan’s natural resources, Scouts BSA Troop 645
earned the Department of Natural Resources Partners in Conservation award
during the August Natural Resources Commission meeting.
“Troop 645 epitomizes the goal of involving the next generation in our
state’s conservation efforts,” said Kristin Phillips, chief of the DNR’s
Marketing and Outreach Division, in honoring the group with the award.
“The example this group of young people is setting today will leave a
lasting mark on our state’s natural resources.”
Every spring, mature lake sturgeon – a fish species that is threatened
in Michigan and rare throughout the United States – become vulnerable to
poaching as they briefly leave Black Lake for spawning sites upstream in
the Black River.
In 1999 a group of local conservationists formed the Black Lake Chapter of
Sturgeon for Tomorrow. Their efforts focused on helping the DNR protect
and restore sturgeon populations in northern Michigan lakes and streams.
One of the primary efforts has been to coordinate an annual “sturgeon
watch,” where hundreds of volunteers stand guard along the Black River
during the spawning season (mid-April through early June) to report
suspicious activity and deter the unlawful take of this iconic fish.
When the troop learned about the project, it began a partnership with
Sturgeon for Tomorrow, said Stan Smith, assistant scout master for Troop
645. This year has marked two decades of that partnership.
“We travel to the area and camp on state forest land each Mother’s Day
weekend,” he said. “The kids had a blast that first year, and we have
enjoyed the event every year since.”
In addition to the time the scouts dedicate to guarding the sturgeon, they
also spend an afternoon working on a service project that protects the
DNR Partners in Conservation awards are given six times a year to
individuals or organizations for exemplary contributions to conservation
in Michigan. Award nominations are made by DNR staff members.
11th Grader Wins 2019 Bear Cooperator Patch
the August 8th Natural
Resources Commission meeting in Lansing, the Michigan Bear Hunters
Association announced 11th grader Annie J. Laurenz of Wheeler Township as
the 2019 bear cooperator patch design contest winner.
Each year, MBHA coordinates the Michigan bear cooperator patch program and
conducts a patch design contest for K-12 students.
“An important thing that we’ve been able to do with the Bear Patch Program
is to give people a perspective of the importance of what the bear hunter
can do for the resource,” said Michael Pedigo, vice president of the
Michigan Bear Hunters Association. “Keeping kids involved is a very
important aspect of this program as well.”
K-12 students from public, private and home schools around the state are
eligible to submit their design. Contest entries for the 2020 bear
management cooperator patch design are due by December 1st.
First-, second- and third-place winners are invited to the annual MBHA
convention and receive $100, $50 and $25 awards, respectively.
Proceeds from the sale of bear cooperator patches provide resources about
black bears for students throughout the state as well as other
informational and educational materials.
Anyone with an interest can purchase bear cooperator patches. Patches are
$5, including postage and handling. Hunters 10-17 years old with a valid
bear hunting license may receive a free patch.
Michigan Bear Hunters Association website to order a bear patch and
for contest information.
Questions? Call the DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453.
Pocket Park Offers Opportunities of a Lifetime
By JOHN PEPIN - Michigan Department of Natural Resources
a stand of tall pine trees, tucked into the northeast corner of the Upper
Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Escanaba, sits a magical place – a place
where discoveries to last a lifetime can be found.
Just a week ago, a couple of young boys from Alabama, ages 8 and 9,
discovered this unassumingly.
In Delta County to visit friends, the boys came to the fairgrounds with
one of their contemporaries and found the Pocket Park – a place where the
boys caught bluegills from a pond shaped like the Upper Peninsula.
“The two kids had never caught a fish before and had the best time,”
said Jo Ann Alexander, a co-organizer of events at the facility. “By the
time they left the park, they knew how to bait a hook, set the hook and
take a fish off the hook.”
same week, two youth from Texas had a similar experience, taking their
first shots with bows and arrows and a pellet gun.
In 1998, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources renovated an old
maintenance area to build the park, with the help of a $250,000 Michigan
Natural Resources Trust Fund grant. That same year, construction of the
fishing pier and pond began.
In 1999, the public was first welcomed to the park, which sees its highest
numbers of visitors during the U.P. State Fair week every August. Each
year, the park draws thousands of visitors.
The DNR Pocket Park caters especially to children, but adults will find
many things to explore here as well. During fair week, many DNR staffers –
including conservation officers, wildlife and fisheries biologists and
others – are on hand to answer park visitor questions.
From 2000-2005, construction at the park included the archery and
pellet gun ranges, a fire tower display, 11 native plant gardens –
featuring hundreds of plantings – and the planting of about 150 native
2006, another trust fund grant was received in the amount of $178,300 to
renovate an existing maintenance facility into a classroom and an
accessible restroom. That renovation was completed in 2008.
Last year, a $150,000 appropriation from the state’s general fund was
received to address priority maintenance and repairs at the park,
including repairing a leaking roof and replacing structural supports on
the porch of the classroom building.
“We know that without some kind of connection to the natural world, the
next generation will be less likely to carry forward all of our gains
toward resource protection,” said Jon Spieles, facility manager of the
park. “The DNR Pocket Park demonstrates our interest as an agency in
connecting with all of Michigan by exposing families and kids to the
shooting sports and fishing to make that connection.
try like crazy to help fairgoers and visitors throughout the year
understand the great opportunities to recreate in the outdoors and to feel
confident and comfortable when they go.”
The park’s classroom is used for numerous educational activities,
including off-road vehicle and hunter safety training.
Alexander said many year-end school trips were taken to the park in May
“For many kids, it was their first time at the park,” she said. “After
they learned it would be open all summer long, a lot of kids have been
coming, and we have seen much higher attendance.”
In fact, July attendance hit a record at the park and June wasn’t far
behind, said Bryn Beauchamp, field and maintenance manager at the park.
“It’s primarily family groups and a lot of grandparents with their
grandkids,” Beachamp said. “The average age of the kids is around 7 or 8.”
In addition to the main attractions, the park also offers numerous
exhibits and information booths during fair week.
Exhibits this year include live hawks and owls from the Chocolay Raptor
Center, Michigan reptiles provided by the U.P. Children’s Museum, two
local taxidermists and a Native American education demonstration.
In addition, booths will be staffed by the Girl Scouts, the DNR’s Becoming
an Outdoorswoman Program, DNR conservation officers and fire prevention
specialists, with Smokey Bear celebrating his 75th birthday at the park.
There will also be an “Ask the DNR” question booth and booths for selfies,
including one with a moose mount.
make the world go around at the Pocket Park, especially during fair week,
when roughly 200 time slots must be filled to cover the open four-hour
shifts. Entry to the fair, a free meal, T-shirt and gift bag are provided
Sportsmen and sportswomen, DNR staffers, clubs, various groups,
individuals and families volunteer to help others – some for several
shifts or days, with many returning each year.
“All of them truly enjoy seeing the delight on children’s faces when they
catch a fish, shoot an arrow at a 3-D bear or deer target, or hit the
bull's eye with a pellet gun,” said Kristi Dahlstrom, Alexander’s
counterpart in organizing activities at the Pocket Park during fair week.
“It is surprising how many children today have not experienced these types
of outdoor recreation, and with families and long-distance relatives
coming to the fair together, it is a great way to introduce children to
these fun activities in a true U.P. outdoor setting. The DNR Pocket Park
is also a place where people of all capabilities can participate.”
During the off-fair part of the Memorial Day to Labor Day season, the
park’s fishing pond and archery and pellet gun ranges are available for
use by supervised groups. The park is open to the public daily, and by
appointment to host family gatherings, picnics, youth organizations,
school groups, sports associations, scouting campouts, meetings and public
There is no charge to visit the Pocket Park.
Two decades after the park was first opened, it remains an important place
in Delta County – an oasis located just off the fairgrounds midway, where
there are benches for a rest, picnic tables to eat lunch and a fun and
nurturing space where young visitors can find valuable first fishing and
Perhaps best of all, it is a place where the sounds of children laughing,
playing and enjoying life abound.
To learn more about the
DNR Pocket Park, contact either Kristi Dahlstrom at 906-226-1331 or
email@example.com or Jo Ann Alexander at 906-786-2351 or
Check out previous Showcasing the DNR
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Great Lakes Region Ruffed Grouse Hunters Needed!
Submit Your Birds for Testing
ruffed grouse West Nile virus surveillance project will enter year two
this fall. The collaborative study began in 2018, between Michigan,
Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources and the
Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study group.
The study is being conducted to learn more about West Nile virus (WNV)
exposure and infection in ruffed grouse in the Great Lakes region.
Recently, WNV has become a topic of interest due to a rise in ruffed
grouse testing positive for the disease. A study in Pennsylvania recently
reported that WNV may have contributed to population declines in areas of
lower-quality habitat or where habitat was scarce. In 2017, WNV was
identified in 12 ruffed grouse in Michigan. The virus was confirmed in one
ruffed grouse in the early 2000s in Minnesota and detected in Wisconsin
ruffed grouse in 2018.
“Evaluating various impacts on grouse populations from influences like
weather to the effects of disease is valuable information. By testing
birds from key areas in the state, we hope to learn the extent to which
ruffed grouse are being exposed to West Nile virus, and how it may be
affecting them,” said laboratory technician Julie Melotti from the
Michigan DNR Wildlife Disease Lab.
Participation from grouse hunters in the region will be an important
component of the study. We encourage grouse hunters to voluntarily submit
birds for testing.
Each state has a targeted sampling region and goal. During the 2018 grouse
season, Michigan received 209 of the 400 desired samples, from select
counties in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.
Additionally, the Michigan DNR has not documented any unexpected declines
in grouse populations across the state and has no data to suggest the
state’s populations are in peril. Further information on WNV in ruffed
grouse and how to obtain sampling kits in Michigan can be found on the
Michigan DNR’s WNV and Ruffed Grouse FAQ sheet.
Minnesota collected 273 sample kits of its 400-sample goal. This year,
Minnesota is broadening the sampling area to include the statewide ruffed
grouse range. Sampling kits will be made available on Sept. 3. For more
information on obtaining a sampling kit, please visit the
Minnesota grouse hunting webpage.
In 2018, Wisconsin confirmed its first three cases of West Nile Virus
in ruffed grouse. The Wisconsin DNR received 238 ruffed grouse samples
last year and plans to release 500 sample kits this year. Hunters
interested in assisting the DNR in the surveillance study can obtain test
kits from their local wildlife biologists. Contact information for the
Wisconsin DNR and additional information regarding ruffed grouse is
available online at
Wisconsin’s ruffed grouse webpage.
The final test results from the first year of surveillance still are being
analyzed and are expected by early fall. It is important to understand
that many factors influence annual variations in grouse populations in the
Great Lakes region.
The multi-year, multi-state design of this surveillance project is its
strength, and we are grateful to have the collaboration of our neighboring
states on this effort. These data, once received, will be looked at in
the broader context of other variables over time.