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Regulation Change Affects Smelt Fishing

Close-up view of a rainbow smelt in someone's hand15JAN19-If you're fishing for smelt this year, make sure you know about a legislative change, signed at the end of 2018, that alters how anglers can target smelt in Michigan.
The previous state statute let people use any number of hooks attached to a single line, while fishing for smelt, alewife or other bait fish in the Great Lakes or recognized smelt waters. Now, anglers fishing for those species can use no more than three lines per person, with no more than six hooks or lures on all lines. All hooks attached to an artificial bait or “night crawler harness” are counted as one hook (note: for crappie/perch rigs and umbrella rigs, each hook is counted as part of the total six allowed). This means anglers may use up to six hooks on one line or spread the six hooks out over up to three lines.
For more information on fishing regulations, see the current Michigan Fishing Guide, available at fishing license vendors and online at michigan.gov/fishingguide. Questions? Contact Christian LeSage, 517-284-5830 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.


Don’t Forget About Mandatory Muskie Harvest Registration

snowmobile and fishing shanty on a frozen lake15JAN18-With Michigan's ice-fishing season well under  way, the DNR reminds anglers who harvest a muskellunge that there is mandatory registration. The muskie harvest limit is one fish per angler per license year.
A muskellunge harvest must be reported within 24 hours of the catch. Reports can be made online through the DNR’s Harvest Reporting System (
michigan.gov/registerfish), toll-free by calling 844-345-FISH (3474), or in person at any DNR Customer Service Center during normal state business hours and with advanced notice of arrival.
Fisheries managers use the registration information to evaluate muskie harvest across the state, helping them better manage those fish populations.
The general possession season for muskellunge is open through March 15 for all Great Lakes and inland waters and the St. Marys River. For more information, check out the 2018 Michigan Fishing Guide at
michigan.gov/fishingguide or contact Cory Kovacs, 906-293-5131, ext. 4071 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.


Michigan State Parks: 100 Years Young and Going Strong

Michigan state parks turn 100 in 2019!15JAN18-With 103 state parks – from Milliken State Park in Detroit, to Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park on the western end of the Upper Peninsula – Michigan's enviable collection of outdoor recreation destinations is a draw for more than 27 million visitors every year. But it didn't happen by accident. 
Almost 100 years ago, Michigan's state parks system was established, moving forward a vision to acquire lands for great outdoor spaces where the public could enjoy leisure time in some of the most beautiful woods and water found anywhere in the country. Today, no matter where you are in Michigan, you're never more than a half-hour away from a state park, state forest campground or state trail system!
If it's been awhile since you've been in a Michigan state park, check out the video above for a bird's-eye view of some of these special places.
"Over the past 100 years, we are all fortunate for the vision and passion of those who had the foresight to secure these priceless natural treasures for future generations," said DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson. "During this centennial celebration year, we invite old friends and first-time visitors to explore four seasons of fun. It's time to get to know your Michigan state parks all over again."

Take advantage of this yearlong celebration by visiting michigan.gov/stateparks100 to learn more about the rich history, find events near you, listen to podcasts, watch videos, and many other ways to enjoy and support Michigan's award-winning state parks system. For more information, contact Maia Turek, 989-225-8573.


Celebrating a Decade of Success: DNR Announces $100,000 Available in UP Deer Habitat Improvement Grants

A crew of migrant workers plants seedlings to improve deer habitat on a project in Marquette County.15JAN19-Over the last decade, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has invested over $630,000 of hunting license sales revenue to enhance deer habitat on private lands in the Upper Peninsula.
That significant investment has been made through the Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative, a competitive grant program offered through the DNR’s Wildlife Division.
“Over 80 projects in nearly all of the U.P.’s 15 counties have benefited thousands of acres of deer habitat,” said Bill Scullon, DNR field operations manager in Norway and administrator for the grant initiative. “Partners have contributed over $450,000 in matching funds, which have contributed to expanding the impact of projects.”
For this year, the DNR has announced a March 1 deadline to apply for a total of $100,000 in deer habitat improvement grant funding.
Groups eligible for these grants include organizations with a formal mission to promote wildlife conservation and/or hunting, such as sportsmen’s clubs, conservation districts, land conservancies, industrial landowners with more than 10,000 acres, or private land affiliations where two or more unrelated persons jointly own 400 or more acres.

"There are three primary goals applicants should strive to meet," Scullon said. "The projects should produce tangible deer habitat improvements, build long-term partnerships between the DNR and outside organizations and showcase the benefits to the public."
Scullon said the total amount of grant funding available is $100,000. The maximum amount of individual grants is $15,000 and the minimum is $2,000.
Now in its eleventh year, the initiative is supported by the state’s Deer Range Improvement Program, which is funded by a portion of deer hunting license revenue.
Previous projects funded under the initiative include planting of red oak, conifers and wildlife orchards; rehabilitation of historic wildlife openings; native prairie restoration, and scarification for conifer regeneration. Some past grant recipients have also facilitated youth hunting opportunities on improved private lands.
Project applications must be postmarked by Friday, March 1, and successful applicants will be notified by Monday, March 18. The complete grant application package is available on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants.

For more information or questions regarding eligibility, please contact Bill Scullon at 906-563-9247 or scullonh@michigan.gov.


Coming to a State Park This Winter? Come Prepared

By THERESA NEAL - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Trail Between the Falls is closed until further notice.14JAN18-Dealing with mild winter conditions is sometimes more challenging than preparing for a whole lot of cold and snow.
A trio of visitors to Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the eastern Upper Peninsula were reminded of this recently when a hike on a relatively mild winter day turned into a hazardous situation.
The incident underscores the importance of being prepared for the location and the wintertime conditions.
Early winter rain showers had produced a sheet of ice that covered 4 inches of snow. This frosty glaze encased park features, including the 4-mile-long trail between the spectacular Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls.
Three young men who attempted the trail hike became stranded along the banks of the wide, winding river. After sliding down an embankment, they were unable to get back up.

Their call to 9-1-1 from the remote location went through. With flashlights in hand, park rangers and emergency personnel soon began their own trek to try to rescue the men.
Sheriff’s deputies and EMS workers were there, along with state police troopers and the U.S. Border Patrol. All were risking their own safety to affect the rescue of the men.
“The trail was covered in glare ice, especially the stairways,” said Eric Johnson, a park officer who led the rescue effort. “Despite walking slowly and carefully, we all fell multiple times. The ice, plus pitch darkness and cold temperatures, made for a treacherous situation.”
Campers enjoy breakfast at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the eastern Upper Peninsula.After two hours, the three men were located, stranded at the bottom of an icy ridge. One man was showing signs of hypothermia, including confusion and fatigue, and was struggling to move.
Emergency personnel formed a human chain to pull the men away from the river. They used ropes to get everyone to the relative safety of the embankment.
“Fortunately, this situation has a positive ending. Park rangers are familiar with the terrain and were able to organize the search efficiently by asking the right questions to figure out where the men were along the trail,” said Tahquamenon Falls State Park Manager Kevin Dennis. “Without park rangers assisting with the search, these visitors would have been exposed to the cold even longer, with potentially dire consequences.”
Even mildly cold environments can lead to hypothermia. Symptoms of exposure to cold conditions develop quickly, including shivering, shallow breathing, confusion and loss of coordination.
All these concerns can be avoided by wearing proper clothing and layering.

Use the following checklist to dress before winter activities:

  • No cotton touching skin: The key is to avoid cotton materials. Cotton will absorb sweat and water and stay wet, causing a person to become cold. Start with a polyester blend, or merino wool, as a first layer, which will provide heat even when wet.
  • Fleece or wool sweater: Follow that first non-cotton layer up with one or two layers of insulation, such as a fleece or wool sweater.
  • Wind/waterproof jacket: The top layer should be waterproof or water resistant. A rain jacket, that can be unzipped after warming up during outdoor activity is ideal.
  • Hat, gloves or mittens: A hat and gloves are important for any winter activity. Mittens are best for those who tend to get cold fingers. If people get warm, they can always take their hat and gloves off for a few minutes – they may be amazed at how quickly they cool off.
  • Warm footwear: Footwear should also start with a non-cotton sock. Wool or polypropylene socks are soft, warm and lightweight. They don’t bunch up inside boots and will keep feet warm, even if sweating. Winter boots or waterproof hiking boots are necessary. Ice-traction devices can be invaluable during mild winters, which are often characterized by icy conditions.
  • Snow pants or gaiters: Snow pants are great for cold weather, but some people opt to wear gaiters, which fit over boots and cover pants up to the knee. Gaiters keep snow and water out of boots without the bulkiness of snow pants.

Beyond dressing properly, tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Leave a note, a text or a voicemail.
“Visitors to the most wintry of our Michigan state parks should be prepared for conditions when they arrive, even if they only plan to stay a few minutes,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “A quick walk to a scenic vista could become a serious situation if unexpected circumstances occur, perhaps leaving a person injured or stranded, unprepared to deal with nature’s elements.”

The Lower Tahquamenon Falls are shown on a cold, wintry Saturday.

Not all of Michigan’s 103 state parks have the steep terrain of the Porcupine Mountains, or the inherent danger of the Upper Tahquamenon Falls, but all the parks possess the potential for serious challenges for visitors who arrive unprepared to deal with a variety of changing weather-related conditions.
Visitors should make sure vehicles are packed for an emergency during winter adventures. Bring a shovel, blankets, a bucket of sand or cat litter for traction, a flashlight, water and snacks. These items can help drivers remove a vehicle from a ditch or snowbank or make the wait for help to arrive more tolerable.
“Our park is open year-round, so people can experience the waterfalls in the winter,” Dennis said. “We encourage visitors to do their part and come prepared for winter conditions. This way, they can enjoy their visit, and everyone can stay safe.”
The River Trail at Tahquamenon Falls State Park is now closed due to unsafe conditions until further notice.

Get additional winter safety tips in this video with DNR Conservation Officer Jennifer Hanson, who patrols in Gogebic County.

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.


Enjoy A Historic Summer as a Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper
Apply by February 1st

couple that volunteers as keepers stands in front of Tawas Point Lighthouse11JAN19-The Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program is now accepting applications for keepers for May 1 through Oct. 29. Those selected will get to live in the restored keeper’s quarters at the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse, located in Tawas Point State Park off Tawas Bay in Lake Huron.

Each participant pays a $75 per-person fee and provides roughly 35 hours of service each week in and around the historic lighthouse that attracts visitors from all over the world.

Keeper duties include greeting visitors, giving tours, providing information about the lighthouse and routine cleaning and maintenance. Keepers stay in the second story of the keeper's quarters attached to the lighthouse. Accommodations include two bedrooms sleeping up to four adults, a modern kitchen, bath and laundry. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay at the lighthouse.

The lighthouse keeper program looks for teams of two, three or four adults – especially those with knowledge of lighthouse lore or Great Lakes maritime history – but there is no requirement for such a background. Prospective keepers should be physically able to climb up and down the 85 lighthouse stairs and have excellent customer service and public speaking skills.

The application and additional information are available at the Lighthouse Keeper Program webpage. For more information, contact dnr-tawaskeepers@michigan.gov. The application period is open through February 1st.

(Archived) Enjoy A Historic Summer as a Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper

Tawas Lighthouse bedroom view06DEC18-Winter may have just begun, but it's the perfect time to start making summer travel plans. Looking for uncommon travel experiences? How about a two-week stay at the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse, located in Tawas Point State Park off Tawas Bay in Lake Huron?
Starting today, the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program will accept applications for volunteer keepers for May 1 through Oct. 29. Those selected – the program gets more than 100 applications a year – will get to live in the restored keeper’s quarters. Each participant pays a $75 per-person fee and provides roughly 35 hours of service each week in and around the historic lighthouse that attracts visitors from all over the world.

Tawas Lighthouse interior"The Tawas area is known as Michigan's Cape Cod," said Hillary Pine, Tawas Point Lighthouse historian. "It's a lovely area favored by bird-watchers, sailors, history enthusiasts and others. We make sure our volunteer lighthouse keepers have plenty of time to enjoy Lake Huron, Tawas Bay and other recreational
Keeper duties at this nationally accredited museum include greeting visitors, giving tours, sharing information about the lighthouse, and routine cleaning and maintenance. Lodging is in the second story of the keeper’s quarters attached to the lighthouse. Accommodations include two bedrooms that sleep up to four adults, a modern kitchen, bath and laundry. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay.

Tawas Lighthouse keepersPine said the program looks for teams of two, three or four adults – especially those with knowledge of lighthouse lore or Great Lakes maritime history, but that background is not required. Prospective keepers should be able to climb up and down the 85 lighthouse stairs and have excellent customer service and public speaking skills.
"We give our volunteer lighthouse keepers historical information and on-site orientation to help prepare them for their experience," Pine said. "They take great pride in helping to promote and preserve the lighthouse … and who wouldn't love waking up to a beautiful view of the bay every day?"

Applications will be accepted through February 1st. The application and additional information are available at michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse. For more information, email dnr-tawaskeepers@michigan.gov or contact Hillary Pine at 989-348-2537.


Stewardship Volunteers Needed in Southern Michigan State Parks

DNR staff member shows volunteers example of invasive plant11JAN19-State parks in southern Michigan will host a number of volunteer stewardship workdays in January.

Volunteers are needed to help locate and cut non-native, invasive shrubs that threaten to crowd out native plants and disrupt balance in high-quality ecosystems. Workdays are an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors while restoring Michigan's ecosystems and learning about its inhabitants.

Workdays will take place:

  • Saturday, Jan. 19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County)
  • Sunday, Jan. 20, 1 to 4 p.m. at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
  • Saturday, Jan. 26, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Sunday, Jan. 27, 1 to 4 p.m. at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)

More information about volunteer stewardship workdays, including a calendar of opportunities, is available at michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers.

To volunteer, please register by completing and submitting the stewardship volunteer registration form.


State Forest Roads Inventory Completed

By KATHLEEN LAVEY - Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Almost all of the state forest roads in the Upper Peninsula are open to ORV traffic.07JAN18-After two years of mapping and reviewing the condition of state forest roads maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources across both peninsulas, an initial inventory that provides a snapshot of the road network is complete.
One significant result of that work is a compilation of interactive maps showing where off-road vehicle use is allowed on Michigan’s state forest roads, which will be published online (michigan.gov/forestroads) and updated each spring after that.
“Forests roads are a resource to help people get out and enjoy Michigan’s public forests,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.
The inventory and road assessment were required by Public Act 288 of 2016, which provided a time frame for inventory and classification of roads. The law focused particularly on which roads should be open to off-road vehicle traffic.
Roads in the northern Lower Peninsula were inventoried during 2017, and roads in the southern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula were inventoried during 2018.

“Roads have always been important to forest management, whether you are figuring out how to get forest products out of the woods or if you’re trying to get out there for recreation and all of these activities that people love,” said Scott Whitcomb, unit manager of the Pigeon River Country State Forest in the northern Lower Peninsula, who has been instrumental in the road inventory.
The inventory didn’t involve getting out and driving over every mile of road – there simply wasn’t time for that. Instead, the effort to catalog the roads used computer mapping technology to consolidate previously mapped roads into a single, comprehensive database.
“We’ve been collecting information on roads for a very long time,” Whitcomb said. “What we did here was flip them into a new platform online.”
An interactive map and printable maps were provided online, which were used to solicit public comment on the road inventory and issues connected with opening or closing certain roads to ORVs.
Various roads or road segments were proposed to be opened or closed to ORV use. Members of the public could drop a pin on one of the maps to mark an area and express their concern about it. They also could comment by email or mail.
Thousands of miles of state forest roads are now open to ORV use.
A total of 84 people commented on nearly 5,600 miles of forest roads in the Upper Peninsula. There, 5,582.06 miles (99.1 percent) of roads are open year-round; 50.28 miles (0.89 percent) of roads are closed year-round and 0.48 miles (0.01 percent) of roads are closed seasonally.
There were 77 comments regarding nearly 370 miles of forest roads in the southern Lower Peninsula. In that region, 8.95 miles (2.43 percent) of roads are open year-round; 285.92 miles (77.67 percent) of roads are closed year-round and 73.25 miles (19.9 percent) of roads are closed seasonally.
There are more than 7,500 miles of state forest roads in the northern Lower Peninsula, with 6,308.6 miles (84 percent) of roads open to ORV use, while 1,213.6 (16 percent) miles of road were closed by a land use order of the DNR director. More than 2,000 members of the public weighed in on that decision.
“We had hundreds of pin drops with people telling us everything from, ‘This is a great idea, I can’t wait’ to ‘You guys are crazy, this is going to cause problems,’” Whitcomb said.
DNR road evaluations considered user conflicts, the condition of the road and a review of current land use orders. An example is the Pigeon River Country State Forest. It’s home to Michigan’s elk herd and focuses on quiet recreation.
“There’s a lot of public land where ORVs are the best use,” Whitcomb said. “The Pigeon River management plan differs from other state forests in that it emphasizes quiet recreation and scenic values.”
A few other northern Lower Peninsula areas that are focused on quiet recreation also are closed to ORVs. Those include Jordan Valley, the Mason and Deward tracts and the Sand Lakes quiet area.
The maps are a work in progress and will be updated annually as DNR staff in the field monitor road conditions or find mapping errors. There are some proposed changes currently under consideration for the northern Lower Peninsula, with a decision pending by the DNR director and Michigan Natural Resources Commission.
Roads that are currently open could be closed to ORVs or other vehicles in the future if erosion threatens the forest or fish habitat in nearby waters, for example.
“Getting our forest roads into an inventory system on the map gives us a baseline that we can begin working with to manage the forest better,” Whitcomb said.
Comments from the public will be evaluated each year. Several criteria will be used to make evaluations, and recommendations will be reviewed by DNR staff members and the public before the DNR director makes decisions.
The goal is to have forest roads that are safe and provide access to various users, while ensuring that forests and waterways aren’t negatively impacted.

Take a look at the road maps and learn more about Public Act 288 at michigan.gov/forestroads.

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.


Share Your Thoughts with the DNR at Upcoming Meetings

03JAN19-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 January. 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.

January meetings


DNR Reflections on the Year That Was 2018

02JAN18-For the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 2018 has been busy. The DNR, with the help of many partners, has made great strides in its ongoing efforts to take care of the state’s natural and cultural resources and provide outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities.

Here are a few highlights of how the DNR spent 2018.

Providing quality outdoor recreation opportunities

angler poses with state record black buffalo fishThe DNR continued its work to ensure excellent opportunities for hunting and fishing, both of which contribute billions of dollars to the state’s economy each year.
Fourteen state-record fish have been caught in Michigan in the last 10 years, pointing to the abundance and health of our fish populations.
The DNR stocks more than 25 million fish each year, in more than 1,000 locations across both peninsulas. Forty percent of all recreational fishing in Michigan depends on stocked fish.
In 2018, the DNR expanded the recently created Fishing Tournament Information System – a statewide, online registration and reporting tool that makes it easier for tournament managers to meet the requirement of having all bass fishing tournaments registered – to include all bass and walleye tournaments. To date, the system has received more than 2,000 bass tournament registrations and results reports.

The DNR is continually improving habitat on the 4.5 million acres of public hunting land it manages. Hunters can explore seven managed waterfowl areas, 19 grouse enhanced management sites (known as GEMS) that allow walk-in hunting, and more than 180 state game and wildlife areas. These locations also offer abundant wildlife watching opportunities.

waterfowl hunter holding firearmSo far this year, hunters have contributed almost $200,000 to wildlife management by purchasing Pure Michigan Hunt applications that give them a shot at a prize package valued at over $4,000, as well as licenses for elk, bear, spring and fall turkey and antlerless deer, and first pick at a managed waterfowl area. The application period ends at midnight December 31st.
Michigan’s 103 state parks continue to provide the scenic spaces, natural resources and access to outdoor recreation opportunities that attract tens of millions of people every year.
With 12,500-plus miles of state-designated trails and pathways – one of the largest, interconnected trail systems in the country – Michigan is known as The Trails State. This trails system offers plenty of social, economic and health benefits, catering to a variety of users, including bicyclists, hikers, ORV riders, cross-country skiers, snowmobilers, horseback riders, paddlers and others.
The system also includes the
Iron Belle Trail, Michigan’s signature hiking and biking trail extending more than 2,000 miles from the far western tip of the Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit.

father and two sons on bikes on bridgeThere was renewed interest sparked in 2018 in the Iron Belle Trail Fund Campaign, marked by an event in Ann Arbor where more than $10.5 million in private donations was announced.
“Quality outdoor recreation resources and opportunities mean a lot to the people who use and value them, and to the communities they serve,” DNR Director Keith Creagh said. “The Iron Belle Trail offers so many beautiful places where people make memories, improve their health, and recharge their energy. The state and our many partners are on an ambitious timeline to get the remainder of these connected miles in place.”
To date, the DNR and partners have built and engineered more than 100 miles of new trail to complete completed the Iron Belle Trail’s 1,422 miles of existing hiking and biking trails, with just over 600 remaining to be connected.
In October 2018, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation announced a $100 million investment of parks and trails in Southeast Michigan, including segments of the Iron Belle Trail.

With the creation of a new State Water Trails program, the DNR announced this month that eight waterways, totaling 540-plus miles flowing through more than a dozen counties, have been selected as the first state-designated water trails in Michigan.

two people in kayak paddling on riverDNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson said that water trails are an increasing trend in Michigan and nationally, as interest in paddle sports and other water-based recreation continues to grow.
Water trails feature well-developed access points, often are near significant historical, environmental or cultural points of interest and often have nearby amenities like restaurants, hotels and campgrounds.
“These state-designated water trails will encourage close-to-home outdoor recreation and healthy lifestyles while boosting local economies, giving even more reason to call Michigan The Trails State,” said Paul Yauk, the DNR’s state trails coordinator.
The DNR’s staffed shooting ranges, located in southern Michigan state parks and game areas, made improvements to accommodate a growing number of shooting sports enthusiasts. Updates this year included expanding parking, adding new handgun shooting stations and installing a well to provide potable water, with construction of new accessible parking and walkways planned at three ranges in 2019.

Looking to get outdoors in 2019? Check out michigan.gov/dnrcalendar.

Taking care of Michigan’s woods, waters and wildlife

DNR forester marks a boundary for timber saleThe “Good Neighbor Authority” allows state natural resource agencies to assist the U.S. Forest Service and the federal Bureau of Land Management on timber and watershed restoration projects across the country.
In 2018, the DNR increased its Good Neighbor Authority efforts from the previous year, preparing 2,400 acres for timber sale and producing 38,500 cords of wood from the four national forests in Michigan – the Huron and Manistee national forests in the Lower Peninsula and the Ottawa and Hiawatha in the Upper Peninsula.
This state/federal partnership will grow to more than 7,500 acres in 2019.
In 2018, oversight of the state’s Registered Forester program transferred to the DNR from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The move was part of a restructuring process for this voluntary program that encourages higher standards for Michigan’s foresters.
Changes to the program include an up-to-date online database and a new complaint review process.

“The new program is the ideal source for landowners to find highly qualified foresters to help them manage their forest land,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.
Nearly two-thirds of Michigan’s 20 million acres of forest are privately owned; the state manages an estimated 4 million acres of public forest.

pile of cut timber at state game areaThe DNR also manages 360,000 acres of state game areas. At game areas throughout Michigan, DNR staffers have been harvesting timber to create early successional forest habitat.
The selective cutting of mature pine and aspen stands encourages the growth of young forests, which provide vital habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock, deer, elk and golden-winged warblers.
“This important work may look destructive while in progress, but the result is outstanding habitat for many game and non-game wildlife species,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason. 
Late in 2018, in partnership with Pheasants Forever and the Hal and Jean Glassen Foundation, the DNR launched its new Adopt-A-Game-Area program, which encourages individuals and organizations to sponsor grassland habitat projects on state-managed lands they use and value.

“Grasslands give important benefits to both wildlife and people. In addition to providing habitat and food resources for many wildlife species, grasslands also improve water and air quality,” said Al Stewart, DNR upland game bird specialist.
Stewart said grassland pollinators, like bees and monarch butterflies, help to generate crops that keep the country fed. Throughout Michigan, many grasslands are being converted to agriculture and development. Grasslands now are one of the rarest habitat types in the world.
Expanded support of this program, through sponsorships, will provide valuable nesting, brood-rearing, foraging and winter habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including deer, turkeys, pheasants, ducks, rabbits, songbirds and pollinators.

Whitetail buck in a fieldThis year, the DNR has been intensely focused on mitigating impacts from chronic wasting disease on Michigan’s white-tailed deer population. This fatal disease has been found in free-ranging deer in Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent, and Montcalm counties.
Following public engagement meetings and surveys, hunting regulations were changed for the 2018 deer hunting seasons to address concerns of CWD. The DNR also provided additional staffed deer check locations as well as drop boxes for hunters to submit their harvested deer for testing. More than 30,000 deer were checked and tested this year.
The coming year will see continued efforts to maintain the health of Michigan’s deer herd. For the latest information and updates on chronic wasting disease, visit michigan.gov/cwd.
The DNR also keeps a close eye on the health of Michigan’s fish, working continuously with Michigan State University’s Aquatic Animal Health Lab to be at forefront of disease identification, but also regularly analyzing groups of wild fish to test for diseases and performing fish health inspections at state hatcheries and on hatchery-reared fish.

In 2018, the DNR’s Office of the Great Lakes completed restoration of historical environmental impacts on the Menominee River, started the Saginaw Bay Fish Reef restoration project and made strides in implementing goals established in the Michigan Water Strategy.
The OGL staff also worked in communities to protect coastal resources, helped establish an alliance of Great Lakes island communities and facilitated the development of shared harbor visions in waterfront communities.
As it has each year since its introduction in 2014, the
Invasive Species Grant Program – implemented by the Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environmental Quality and Natural Resources – provided roughly $3.6 million in 2018 for projects designed to prevent, detect, eradicate and control invasive pests on the land and in the water.
Because of this grant program, more than 285,000 acres of land and water have been surveyed for invasive species; more than 18,000 acres have been treated for invasive terrestrial and aquatic plants; and millions of people have been reached with educational information about invasive species.
“It’s clear that Michigan’s Invasive Species Grant Program is accomplishing many of the goals set for the program at the very start,” said Creagh. “The fight to stop, contain and eradicate invasive species from Michigan’s woods and water is critical to the long-term protection of these valuable natural resources, and this grant program is helping in that fight.”

Protecting the state’s natural resources and citizens

conservation officer recruits learn to identify fish speciesLocated in every county of the state, Michigan conservation officers are first responders who provide lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. They are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety and protect citizens by enforcing Michigan’s laws and regulations.
“A conservation officer has chosen to not only protect our people and local communities as first responders – they have devoted their career to being front-line defenders of our natural resources,” said DNR Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler.
As community first responders, several conservation officers were involved in lifesaving actions during 2018, including saving a woman from drowning, rescuing people involved in snowmobile and kayak accidents and those stranded in Lake Huron and on the edge of a cliff overlooking Lake Superior. As a result, eight conservation officers received the Michigan DNR Lifesaving Award.

The DNR Conservation Officer Academy graduated 24 new conservation officers in 2018. The new officers were selected from nearly 500 applicants to be a part of Recruit School No. 9 – the DNR’s 23-week training academy based in Lansing.
“Our division selects the most highly qualified candidates to receive additional training that no other law enforcement agency in the state offers,” Hagler said. “Our officers are molded into quality people who are embedded within the communities they serve.”
As Michigan’s oldest statewide law enforcement agency, the DNR Law Enforcement Division continues to expand its abilities to protect our natural resources. The 252 officers budgeted for the 2019 fiscal year is an all-time high.

Connecting people with the outdoors

Since the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, over 1,000 educators have received the DNR’s free wildlife curricula for their classrooms, information that helps give students an understanding of Michigan’s wildlife and their habitats. Kindergarten through high school educators can get these resources for use in the second half of the school year. Featured species include waterfowl, black bears and elk.
The DNR recently – after two years of mapping and reviewing the condition of the state forest roads it maintains across both peninsulas – completed an initial inventory used to create interactive maps showing where ORV use is allowed on these roads. The maps will be available online at
michigan.gov/forestroads and updated each spring.
Look for an early 2019 “Showcasing the DNR” story detailing the efforts to map state forest roads, a resource to help people get out and enjoy Michigan’s public forests.

line of ORVs on roadThe DNR’s work in providing GIS products and services gained national recognition at the annual Esri User Conference, when the department earned a Special Achievement in GIS Award for its innovative application of mapping, data analytics and thought leadership.
“Within the past 20 years, the DNR has implemented an enterprise GIS system to support the growing needs and challenges of caring for Michigan’s natural resources and connecting the public to those resources,” said Dave Forstat, DNR GIS manager and chief data steward.
“As web GIS has become more prevalent, we’ve leveraged the benefits of increased communication and data accuracy to provide customers with the best possible data on trails, water, minerals, trees, wildlife, fish and other areas.”
This includes online tools – like the Open Data Portal, interactive maps, story maps and customized apps – aimed at connecting outdoor enthusiasts and natural resources professionals with the information they need.

This is just a brief glimpse of a year in the life of the DNR. More information about the department’s broad range of work to ensure healthy natural resources and outdoor recreation is available on the DNR website, redesigned in 2018 to make it easier to use, at

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.


DNR Urges Snowmobilers to Ditch Loud Exhaust Pipes and Cans

24DEC18-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is urging snowmobilers not to use loud exhaust pipes or cans and is reminding riders that laws against loud machine violations will be enforced strictly.
“We are continuing to get numerous complaints from the public about loud sleds,” said Ron Yesney, Upper Peninsula trails coordinator for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division in Marquette. “We’re looking to riders to help us curb this ongoing problem.”
Several of these complaints have led to private property owners revoking their permission to route snowmobile trails across their land.

“This diminishes our trail connectivity and decreases riding opportunities for everyone,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “In areas without trails, loud sleds are still a source of resident complaints.”
Under Michigan law, the muffler on a snowmobile must be in good working order and, when in constant operation, noise emission cannot exceed 88 decibels at 13.1 feet, as measured using the 2004 Society of Automotive Engineers standard J2567 for a stationary snowmobile manufactured after July 1, 1980.
The penalty for violating sound levels for snowmobiles is a civil infraction, carrying fines of over $200. Snowmobiles may be impounded.
“Enforcement efforts are necessary, but our long-term goal is to gain voluntary compliance from riders,” Yesney said. “Mountain, trail and race cans are strongly discouraged. Loud sleds give snowmobilers a bad name and give those opposed to motorized sports a voice.”

DNR conservation officers are seeing increased use of “trail can” exhausts.
“These are cans that are designed to pass a decibel test, but they are still very loud and undermine our efforts to secure trail easements and provide opportunities for snowmobilers to ride,” said Lt. Ryan Aho, a district law supervisor in Marquette. “Most trail cans will pass a decibel test if new, but may fail after a few thousand miles.”
Whether riding on or off trails, the DNR urges snowmobilers and dealers to use stock or original equipment manufacturer exhausts.
“Many thousands of hours of volunteer effort go into developing and maintaining Michigan’s snowmobile program,” Yesney said. “It only takes one sled with a loud exhaust to ruin riding opportunities for many.”

Hand in hand with complaints about loud sled violations are private property trespass complaints. The DNR suggests off-trail riders “know before they go” making sure the property they will be riding on is public.
“Riders who decide to trespass compromise the goodwill landowners have extended to the DNR, snowmobilers and trail groups and sponsors,” Yesney said. “Trespassing is another serious problem that oftentimes leads to landowner permissions being pulled and our being forced to shut down trail segments as a result.”
A committee was formed recently to develop information indicating exactly where it is legal to ride off-trail. The goal is to eventually have off-trail riding opportunities signed and mapped. Until these developments occur, it is crucial that snowmobilers ensure they are off-trail riding only on public lands.
“Whether snowmobiling on trails or off, we all need to work together for the greater good to prevent trespassing and loud sled violations from occurring,” Yesney said. “Taking loud cans or pipes off your sled and staying on the trail helps everyone.”

For more information on snowmobiling in Michigan, including current laws and regulations, go to michigan.gov/snowmobiling.


First Michigan Waterways Designated as State Water Trails


woman on a stand-up paddle board, on a Michigan river21DEC18-Eight waterways totaling 540-plus miles that flow through more than a dozen counties have been selected as the first state-designated water trails in Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources announced today.

The DNR and the Office of the Great Lakes partnered on the effort to finalize this first round of designations, which includes:

  • Central River Raisin Water Trail, 11 miles in Monroe County.
  • Chain of Lakes Water Trail, more than 80 miles in Antrim and Kalkaska counties.
  • Huron River Water Trail, 104 miles in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
  • Island Loop Route, 10 miles in St. Clair County.
  • Flint River Trail, 72 miles in Genesee and Lapeer counties.
  • Middle Grand River Water Trail, 87 miles in Clinton, Eaton, Ingham and Ionia counties.
  • Shiawassee River Trail, 88 miles in Genesee, Oakland, Saginaw and Shiawassee counties.
  • Upper Grand River Water Trail, 91 miles in Eaton, Ingham and Jackson counties.

Woman wearing a baseball cap, kayaking on a Michigan riverA water trail is a designated route on a navigable waterway such as a lake, river, canal or bay, that is designed and managed to create a positive outdoor recreation experience for the user. Water trails feature well-developed access points, often are near significant historical, environmental or cultural points of interest and often have nearby amenities like restaurants, hotels and campgrounds.

“Water trails naturally are an increasing trend in Michigan and throughout the country, as interest in paddle sports and other water-based recreation continues to grow,” said DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson. “We are pleased to help advance these opportunities by recognizing model public water trails that set the standard for future of Michigan’s water trails program.”

Over the last several months, the DNR has worked on creating a water trails program with the goal of announcing the first designations in 2018. Local water trail organizations with established water trail plans were invited to submit applications for designation. That outreach process was handled collaboratively with the Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee, the Michigan State Waterways Commission, the Michigan Trails Advisory Council and the Nonmotorized Advisory Workgroup.

All applications were scored based on criteria including whether a proposed trail:

  • Provides a quality trail experience.
  • Offers clear information for users.
  • Enjoys broad community support.
  • Has an appropriate water trail plan in place that addressed components like safety, stewardship, historic and cultural resources, education opportunities, funding, signage, management and development, local land and water use laws, and marketing and promotion.

Paul Yauk, the DNR’s state trails coordinator, said that Michigan is in a great position to work with partners to create a statewide water trails program that complements Michigan’s broader trails system.

“Outdoor recreation-based tourism is experiencing major growth right now,” Yauk said. “Designating these rivers as official water trails shines an even brighter light on some incredible natural resources. We fully expect that offering – and expanding – water trail opportunities in Michigan will encourage more outdoor recreation and healthier lifestyles, and also serve as regional destinations that will give a boost to local economies.”

Michigan has more miles of Great Lakes coastline than any other state and thousands of miles of rivers and streams. The use of waterways for transportation in Michigan is not new. Native Americans first used them for sustenance and trade; early European settlers used them to transport goods and timber; and, water resources were the foundation of Michigan’s earliest manufacturing and shipping industries.

“Today’s announcement celebrates our state’s connections to the Great Lakes coast and Michigan’s inland waters,” said Office of the Great Lakes Director Jon Allan. “We have made significant investments with community partners to build, market and maintain water trails. This program is the culmination of a commitment to public access and opportunities for recreation on Great Lakes waters – especially important as we see paddle sports gain tremendously in popularity.”

Ribbon cuttings for the newly designated water trails will take place during the 2019 paddling season. Watch michigan.gov/dnrtrails for more information, which will be provided early in 2019, on the application process for next year’s designations.


Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority Approves Agreement to Build Multi-use Tunnel and to Remove Pipelines from Bottom of Straits

Governor Snyder signs agreement that will increase stewardship, inspection requirements on Line 5

DEQ DNR MiEnergy Logos20DEC18-The Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) today approved an agreement with Enbridge Energy Limited Partnership to build a multi-use utility tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac. The tunnel will house a replacement segment for the Line 5 pipeline that sits on the bottom of the Straits and other utilities.

In addition, the authority, which held its inaugural meeting in St. Ignace, approved the transfer of a property right that will allow Enbridge to construct the tunnel in bedrock beneath the Straits.

Also today, Gov. Rick Snyder and leaders of the departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality signed a separate agreement with Enbridge. This Third Agreement carries forward provisions of two previous agreements with the company – one in November 2017 and one in October 2018. The Third Agreement requires Enbridge to undertake an enhanced inspection and stewardship regimen. The agreement also includes interpretations of the 1953 easement for the dual pipelines on the bottom of the Straits, as well as ongoing financial assurance requirements for the pipelines.

The approved agreements will soon be posted on the mipetroleumpipelines.com website.

“From the beginning of this four-year process, our fundamental goal has been to protect the Great Lakes against an oil spill through a solution we know will work,” said Snyder.

“Today’s actions will result in the removal of the oil pipeline from the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, maintain critical infrastructure connections between our peninsulas, provide energy security for residents of the Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan and create good-paying jobs," he said. "Enbridge will pay 100 percent of the costs for design, construction, operation and maintenance of the tunnel, and will shut down the current Line 5 segment in the Straits once the tunnel is complete.”

Public Act 359 required the MSCA to enter into an agreement to build a tunnel, provided the agreement met certain criteria. In keeping with those criteria, the agreement approved by the authority will:

  • Include a plan for recruiting, training and using Michigan workers for the tunnel project.
  • Allow for multiple utilities to use the tunnel.
  • Provide that the tunnel is built to last and will contain potential oil spills in the Straits of Mackinac.
  • Limit liability for the state, the authority and members of the authority.
  • Require that all necessary government approvals be obtained for the tunnel.
  • Prohibit the use of eminent domain to acquire property for the project.
  • Ensure the state bears no cost for design, construction, operation and maintenance of the tunnel.
  • Ensure that any privately owned portion of the project – including the above-ground entrances and any utility lines within the tunnel – is subject to taxation.
  • Reimburse the Mackinac Bridge Authority for any net loss of profit for leasing space for telecommunication lines.

The Tunnel Agreement contains milestones for construction progress as well as financial penalties for Enbridge for missed deadlines, provided delays are within Enbridge’s control. Once the tunnel is complete, ownership will be turned over to the MSCA, which will be able to lease space within the tunnel to additional utilities.
The increased stewardship mandated in the Third Agreement between the state and Enbridge will apply unless there is a delay beyond Enbridge’s control as defined in the agreement. The Third Agreement also requires that as soon as possible upon completion of the tunnel and construction of the Line 5 replacement segment, Enbridge will deactivate the dual pipelines in the Straits.

Previous agreements charge Enbridge with:

  • Replacing the portion of Line 5 that lies at the bottom of the St. Clair River near Port Huron with a new pipe in a tunnel beneath the river to protect drinking water supplies for a significant population in southeast Michigan.
  • Instituting accelerated risk-reducing measures at 13 priority Line 5 water crossings, in addition to requiring actions at 68 other crossings as identified with state input in a previous Enbridge report.
  • Assuring the Straits pipeline is not operating when high waves would severely hamper response to a potential oil spill. Enbridge staff must be present at the Straits to shut down the line within 15 minutes – even if power is lost – when wave heights hit 6.5 feet for at least an hour. The state will provide a new radar system to supply better, real-time wave-height data at the Straits.
  • Assuring that at least $1.8 billion in financial assurance be provided by Enbridge to respond to a potential oil spill in the Straits or anywhere along Line 5 in Michigan.
  • Paying for cameras to be installed at the Straits to support new regulations from the U.S. Coast Guard prohibiting ships in the area from dropping their anchors – one of the most serious threats to Line 5 and other utility lines on the bottom of the Straits.
  • Prohibiting heavy crude oil from running through Line 5 and not increasing the volume or type of petroleum products that move through the line.


State Awards $3.6 Million to Battle Invasive Species

Grants will support several promising new developments to fight invasive pests on land and in water

Close-up view of Hypena opulenta caterpillar, lime green with black spots

20DEC18-The Michigan departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, and Agriculture and Rural Development today announced that more than two dozen projects will share $3.6 million in Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program funding.
full list of grant recipients, project descriptions and award amounts is available on the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program website.

Since its start, the program has targeted four key objectives:

  • Preventing new introductions of invasive species through outreach and education.
  • Monitoring for new invasive species and the expansion of existing invasive species.
  • Responding to and conducting eradication efforts for new findings and range expansions.
  • Strategically managing and controlling key colonized species.

This year’s grant awards provide funding for several projects involving promising new methods of reducing the effects of terrestrial (land-based) invasive species:

  • Using new techniques to increase development of beech trees that are resistant to beech bark disease. These trees will be planted in the Upper and Lower peninsulas.
  • Grafting selected ash trees that have survived the emerald ash borer and testing them for resistance, with the goal of developing stock that could be used for restoration plantings.
  • Testing a newly approved biological control, Hypena opulenta – a moth from the Ukraine whose larvae primarily feed on invasive black and pale swallow-wort vines – to determine its ability to establish, reproduce and help control these vines in Michigan.

Hand over the water holding didymo (known as rock snot), an invasive aquatic plant Some of the grant dollars also will support a range of efforts to prevent and manage aquatic (water-based) invaders:

  • Understanding the effects of European frogbit on Great Lakes coastal wetlands and gauging the success of hand-harvesting as a management tool.
  • Determining if the presence of didymo (also known as “rock snot”) in the Upper Peninsula’s St. Marys River affects spawning locations or success for salmon, trout and whitefish, and if scraping and removing the invasive alga will reduce its spread.
  • Increasing retailer adoption and consumer awareness of the Reducing Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes (RIPPLE) campaign throughout the state.

Descriptions and photos of the referenced terrestrial and aquatic invasive species (and many others) are available on the Michigan Invasive Species website under Species Profiles and Reporting Information.

Grant program background and progress

In 2014 Gov. Rick Snyder and the state Legislature designated $5 million in annual funding to address invasive species. This support substantially enhanced Michigan’s Invasive Species Program for aquatic organisms, supported a formal program for terrestrial species, and initiated the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program.

This cycle marks the fifth year of program funding. To date, $18.5 million has been awarded to support 109 projects undertaken by units of government, nonprofits and institutions. Because of Michigan’s Invasive Species Grant Program:

  • More than 285,000 acres of land and water have been surveyed for invasive species.
  • Over 18,000 acres have been treated for invasive terrestrial and aquatic plants.
  • 147,000 people have been reached with invasive species education and promotion through direct contact, including face-to-face interactions at boat washes, workshops, trainings and other events.
  • An additional 10,042,072 people were reached through grantees’ “passive impression” efforts in areas including mail, newspapers, social media and handouts.

“It’s clear that Michigan’s Invasive Species Grant Program is accomplishing many of the goals set for the program at the very start,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “The fight to stop, contain and eradicate invasive species from Michigan’s woods and water is critical to the long-term protection of these valuable natural resources, and this grant program is helping in that fight.”

Support in every Michigan county

This year’s grants also will support 21 regional Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, the network of partnership organizations that work to manage and control invasive species. These CISMAs provide service to all 83 counties throughout the state. Proposed outcomes of CISMA projects receiving funding this year include:

  • Surveying 11,000 acres of land and water.
  • Treating at least 3,000 acres to eliminate invasive species.
  • Directly reaching more than 20,000 residents and visitors through workshops, site visits and education programs.

More than $9 million sought

In response to a May 2018 request for grant pre-proposals, 63 applications were received in June, seeking a total of approximately $9 million in funding. Thirty-seven applicants responded to the full proposal invitation, requesting $5.4 million in grants. Applicants were asked to commit to providing at least 10 percent of the total project cost in the form of a local match.

Learn more about invasive species – including control efforts, species identification and education and outreach opportunities – at michigan.gov/invasivespecies.

Michigan's Invasive Species Program is cooperatively implemented by the Michigan departments of Agriculture & Rural Development, Environmental Quality and Natural Resources.


Pristine Sand Dunes Part of 100-Acre Addition to Ludington State Park

Purchase to be funded by state sources, commitments from The Nature Conservancy and the Mott Foundation

An aerial view of part of the 100-acre land acquisition of sand dunes at Ludington State Park

19DEC18-One hundred acres of pristine sand dunes, wetlands and forests soon will become part of Ludington State Park in Mason County, Michigan. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced today that it has purchased the land and mineral resources from Sargent Minerals-Ludington, LLC – commonly known as Sargent Sands – a Michigan-based company, permanently preserving this valuable property for public recreation.
The 100 acres, adjacent to Ludington State Park, are comprised of sand dunes – about 60 acres of which have never been altered. The property is located in the northern section of a larger 372 acres that have been mined for sand for decades. Although surrounded by state park land on three sides, the Sargent property is not yet part of Ludington State Park, where mining does not occur.
“This purchase will permanently protect a beautiful tract of critical sand dunes, conserving a unique landform and its plants and animals for public enjoyment,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh, who approved the purchase during the Oct. 11 Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing. “We are very appreciative of the willingness of the Sargent family to work with the DNR on this purchase. Their generous actions will leave a considerable legacy for future generations.”

While active mining continues in the holding, much of the remaining land already has been mined and reclaimed by the company. The mining operation is operated on-site under a permit issued by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. The reclamation of mined lands is a requirement of the permit, which expires Dec. 31, 2021, and can be renewed.

Another view of the sand dunes that are part of a 100-acre land acquisition at Ludington State ParkThe $17 million acquisition of the 100-acre parcel will be funded by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, the Michigan State Park Endowment Fund, the Land Exchange Facilitation Fund – sources managed by the DNR or by an independent board associated with the department – and by commitments of $1 million each from The Nature Conservancy and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.
“The Nature Conservancy is thrilled to help protect this beautiful property as part of Ludington State Park for all of Michigan’s residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Helen Taylor, the conservancy’s state director for Michigan.
"The Mott Foundation sees this as a unique opportunity to protect land that is truly the front door of Ludington State Park,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the foundation.
The Sargent family previously donated land to the DNR, including a portion of property at the entrance to the park. Discussions continue with the Sargent family about opportunities for the DNR to acquire additional property adjacent to the park.

The Sargent land contains sand resources, an on-site processing plant and two lakes created by the mining operations. The DNR has retained $1.3 million in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants as part of the cost for a potential future acquisition. Other sources, including private donations, also are being sought.
Joe Engel, executive director of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, said the land acquisition is a tremendous gift to the Ludington community and its economic future, and a fitting tribute to the efforts of the Sargent family and the DNR. “We look forward to working with the folks in Ludington, as well as others across the region and state, to secure and preserve the remainder of this amazing, Lake Michigan treasure,” Engel said.

A view of the lighthouse at Ludington State Park

"Ludington is one of the crown jewels of our state parks system. For millions of people who love the Lake Michigan dune coast, it is the epitome of Pure Michigan,” said Glen Chown, executive director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy. “We’re proud to partner with the DNR, other land trusts and the local community on this important opportunity.”
Chown noted that local support is crucial to leveraging a significant amount of public dollars. “We are confident that people with a deep affinity for this amazing park will generously respond to the challenge,” he said. “We are thankful for the Sargent family's willingness to work with all of us on this important shoreline protection opportunity."
Ludington State Park is located north of the city of Ludington between the shores of Lake Michigan and Hamlin Lake. The park comprises nearly 5,300 acres and contains forests, sand dunes and beachfront access to Lake Michigan. More than 1 million people visit the park every year.

According to Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief, the department will establish a public planning process to determine how present and future recreational use of the newly acquired 100 acres fits into Ludington State Park’s overall management plan. Olson said that public input, at every stage, is an important part of the DNR’s statewide park management planning process.


Communities, Campuses and Utilities Invited to Apply for Tree City USA Designation

19DEC18-Time is running short for Michigan communities, college campuses and utilities seeking Tree City, Tree Campus or Tree Line USA designation. Interested? Apply or contact the DNR by the end of the year.
These annual programs are sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and administered by forestry agencies in each state. Applicants must meet criteria established by the foundation, which can be found online at arborday.org/programs/.
Specifically, communities wishing to be certified as a Tree City USA must have met these standards during 2018:

  • A tree board or department responsible for public tree management.
  • A public tree ordinance.
  • A tree-care program and annual budget of at least $2 per capita.
  • An Arbor Day observance and formal proclamation.

This program began in 1976 as a bicentennial project to promote tree planting in urban areas and call attention to the economic, health and aesthetic benefits trees provide.
“Michigan has seen a steady increase in the number of communities, utilities and, most recently, college campuses being certified,” said Kevin Sayers, the DNR's urban forestry program coordinator. “Last year, 117 communities, two utilities and five campuses achieved designations.”
Michigan currently ranks ninth among all states in total number of certified communities. They range in size from the village of Richland (fewer than 1,000 residents) to the city of Detroit (nearly 700,000 residents).
Online and paper application materials for Tree City USA are available at: arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/.
Send completed paper applications to DNR, Forest Resources Division, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909.

Questions? Contact Kevin Sayers at 517-284-5898.


Deer Cooperator Patch Always a Keeper; Help Create Design for 2019

Deer patch19DEC18-Since the early 1970s, the Michigan Deer Management Cooperator Patch – with a new look and design every year – has been a collector’s item for many hunters around the state. The DNR again is asking the public’s help in designing the next patch.
“We had a great response last year with over 200 submissions,” said DNR outreach assistant Emilie O’Grady. “We’re expecting this year’s contest to bring in even more creative designs.”
The DNR provides the patch as a thank-you to hunters who bring their deer to check stations during hunting seasons. At check stations, DNR staff members collect valuable data about the state’s deer population for a given season – things like the age and sex of the deer taken, locations where hunters have been successful, and an overall look at herd health.
The contest is open to everyone. Those interested in participating in this year’s contest should submit their designs by Feb. 1. Patch designs may be done in any medium, but must be hand-drawn or printed and include a maximum of seven colors.
Complete contest information and submission guidelines are available at
michigan.gov/deer under Cooperator Patches.

The winner will be contacted in early March.

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


NRC Honors Tony Demboski of Dickinson County for Lifetime Commitment to Conservation

Demboski award19DEC18-The Michigan Natural Resources Commission recently honored longtime conservationist and Upper Peninsula native Tony Demboski with the Thomas L. Washington Lifetime Commitment to Conservation Award.
The award was presented Thursday at the commission’s regular monthly meeting in Lansing.
“Working with the DNR, NRC, legislative groups and so many other organizations has been a real pleasure,” Demboski said. “I’ve always valued communication with these groups. Throughout my career, communication has been very important because without it, progress isn’t made.”
Demboski has been a voice for sportsmen and women in the U.P. for decades. Originally from Iron River, he has lived in Dickinson County for the past 38 years, currently residing in Quinnesec.
His passion for natural resources has led to his involvement in numerous outdoor recreation-focused organizations, including U.P. Whitetails Association of Dickinson County. A member for 29 years and a past president, Demboski works tirelessly to build and improve relationships – including with the Department of Natural Resources.

“Tony has a leadership style that brings people together,” said Stacy Welling Haughey, DNR Upper Peninsula regional coordinator. “He brings people to the table with his quiet, respectful approach to conflict management. His time, efforts and energy have been greatly appreciated.”
With his leadership in the organization, Dickinson County gained five walking trails, with completion of a sixth expected next year. The organization also established four annual scholarships totaling $8,000 for high school students in the county.
According to NRC Chairperson Vicki Pontz, Demboski is the quintessential volunteer for natural resources conservation in Michigan. “The many leadership positions he has held over the years indicate his level of commitment to natural resources in the U.P. and statewide,” Pontz said. “Tony is a tireless and humble worker who never asks for recognition.”
Demboski’s leadership and energy have been far reaching. As a member of the Upper Peninsula Sportsmen’s Alliance, and president for the past seven years, Demboski was quick to engage in the fight against chronic wasting disease in Michigan’s deer population. The alliance facilitated a proactive approach to CWD in the U.P., hatching an idea that led to the creation of the U.P. CWD Task Force in November 2017, before there was a confirmed CWD-positive deer in the U.P. Demboski serves on the task force.
The task force is led by NRC Commissioner J.R. Richardson of Ontonagon, who nominated Demboski for the award.
"It's an honor to present this award to Tony in appreciation for his commitment and dedication to Michigan's natural resources,” Richardson said. “His positive, can-do attitude and energy have made Michigan's U.P. sportsmen's and women's voices heard in Lansing. He will have an everlasting fingerprint on our state's natural resources."
Another example of the partnership between Demboski and Richardson is the creation of the Upper Peninsula Habitat Workgroup in 2014. This effort brought together state and federal government agencies, private landowners, conservation districts and businesses for conversations about landscape projects to improve deer habitat and game areas. This partnership resulted in funding from organizations and grant funding that soon will total more than $150,000 for habitat improvement on the ground and data analysis of critical deer wintering range areas.
In addition to his participation in the Bear Forum, the Michigan Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council, U.P. Bear Houndsmen Association, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, United Sportsmen’s Club, Sagola Township Sportsmen’s Club and Sportsman’s Off-road Vehicle Association, Demboski also has directly influenced the lives of many U.P. youth. For the past 16 years, he has taught hunter safety courses, introducing youth (and some adults) to the experience of hunting. This is one of his top priorities.
“Hunting is a way of life in the U.P.,” Demboski said. “A lot of people here hunt and fish to put food on the table.”
It’s the way Demboski was raised, and he enjoys sharing that passion with others.
After spending his youth in the Upper Peninsula, Demboski enlisted in the Air Force, serving his country for 20 years before retiring as a master sergeant in 1977. A Vietnam veteran, he received four medals during his career for outstanding duty performance.
After returning home, he worked as the Iron Mountain branch manager of AutoGlass Specialists, receiving the Manager of the Year Award and the Branch of the Year Award. He was promoted to supervisor for the state of Michigan, covering a span from Iron Mountain to Grand Rapids and beyond before his retirement.
Throughout this time, and continuing today, Demboski has taken up the charge to improve conservation and outdoor recreation in the Upper Peninsula, forming partnerships and forging relationships that have been instrumental in benefiting natural resources and those who enjoy the outdoors.
The conservation award is named for Thomas L. Washington, past director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs and a giant in Michigan conservation. During his life, Washington helped build coalitions of conservationists and environmentalists to achieve landmark initiatives that benefit Michigan residents to this day.
Nominations are submitted for consideration by a member of the NRC and chosen by the NRC in consultation with the DNR director.

For more information about the Natural Resources Commission, visit michigan.gov/nrc


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 © 2018 Carroll Broadcasting, Inc., All rights reserved.


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Streaming Technical: The audio stream is broadcast monophonically direct from our AM modulation monitor, you are hearing the same signal that is broadcast over the air (audio processing included). If you have an exceptionally good AM receiver with full 10kHz IF bandwidth, you will experience a hi-fidelity frequency response closely approximating that of the streaming service. WIOS's music is digitally "cleaned" and equalized to provide removal of most analog noise, clicks and pops and is enhanced for crisper highs and deeper lows on older recordings where that range had been previously been restricted.

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