Weekly Fishing Report Helps Anglers See
16JUL19-Michigan’s warmer weather is bringing more anglers out, but
hotter temperatures are pushing many fish into deeper, cooler water.
Walleye action throughout lakes Erie and Huron has been good, with anglers
catching fish on crawler harnesses. Catch rates for bass have been strong
throughout much of the state, too, especially along shorelines and near
docks. Boats targeting lake trout throughout the Great Lakes have seen
While the heat persists, your best times to hit the water are early
morning and evening. Check out the latest fishing news from across the
state by reading the DNR”s
Weekly Fishing Report. Get more information about fishing
opportunities and resources at
Geocachers Find Beauty and Treasures on
State Park's Centennial GeoTour
16JUL19-More than a month into the
State Parks Centennial GeoTour, geocaching fans in Michigan are
showing off their treasure-hunting smarts! Recent numbers show more than
7,500 "found" logs had been entered for caches, which have been hidden at
dozens of state parks throughout Michigan. That count includes nearly
1,200 individual geocaching accounts with at least one find. The most
popular cache, found 102 times, is at Interlochen State Park.
The tour is a partnership with the Michigan Geocaching Organization,
providing the chance to seek out 100 new caches while and enjoying the
outdoors in a new way during this
state parks centennial year.
Active geocachers on the GeoTour have recorded more than 1,700 favorite
points, so tagged because the geocachers really liked something about the
hide; it could be the location, the cache container or the overall
experience. The Bay City State Park cache, with 48 favorite point votes,
remains the most "favorited" cache of the tour. So far, three cachers had
managed to find all 100 GeoTour caches, but more are sure to follow.
"If you're totally new to geocaching and all of these numbers and terms
sound confusing to you, don't worry," said the DNR Parks and Recreation
Division's Stephanie Yancer, who helped coordinate the GeoTour. "It's
super easy to get started with geocaching, and people are finding it's a
great way to use smartphone technology to get you outdoors doing something
fun with family and friends."
Stephanie Yancer, 989-274-6182.
Before You Head to Kitch-iti-kipi This Week
Book State Park in Manistique draws thousands of visitors from all
over the state every summer, many to see Kitch-iti-kipi – Michigan's
largest freshwater spring, stretching 200 feet across and 40 feet deep. If
you're planning a trip early this week, the park staff wants you to know
that the self-guided observation raft will be unavailable for use Tuesday,
July 16, for needed repairs. The park is open, but the raft will not be
If you've never seen Kitch-iti-kipi up close, add it to your travel
bucket list. On the self-guided raft, you can see more than 10,000 gallons
a minute gush from fissures in the underlying limestone into the water
that remains a constant 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Get a peek at the park and spring in this 40-second video.
Questions? Contact park supervisor
Lee Vaughn, 906-341-2355. Get more information about camping,
beaches, programs and other outdoor fun at Michigan's 100-plus state parks
CWD Deer Regulations, Federal Wildlife
case you missed it, last week saw two important developments for Michigan
wildlife. At the national level, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Jeff
reintroduced the Recovering America's Wildlife Act, critical
bipartisan legislation that, if passed, would provide $1.4 billion for
state-led conservation efforts across the country, with roughly $27
million a year coming here to Michigan. Sponsors of the original
legislation include U.S. Reps. Dan Kildee, Rashida Tlaib and Fred Upton.
"Bold solutions are needed to safeguard our nation’s wildlife from
further decline,” said Dingell, in
her office's announcement. “The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act
represents a strong commitment to addressing the current biodiversity
crisis using innovative, state-based management that will safeguard our
nation’s environmental heritage for current and future generations."
Learn more about how this legislation could help Michigan at
In Lansing, the
Michigan Natural Resources Commission approved a series of deer
regulations aimed at slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease,
a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. The regulations
pertain to baiting and feeding deer, especially in areas of the state with
known occurrences of CWD.
For more on chronic wasting disease, visit
Michigan.gov/CWD. This website is in process of being updated with
Celebrating 100 Years of the Pigeon River Country
By SANDRA CLARK and KATHLEEN LAVEY - Michigan Department of
July 26, 1919, Ernest Hemingway – then a young man recovering from his
experiences in the Spanish-American War – said of Michigan’s “Pine
Barrens” east of Vanderbilt, “That Barrens Country is the greatest I’ve
ever been in.”
A hundred years later, we call the place where Hemingway loved to fish
and camp “Pigeon River Country.” Thanks to the passion, work and
stewardship decisions made by many people over the decades, it remains an
extraordinary outdoor treasure.
At 107,600 acres, Pigeon River Country is the largest block of
contiguous undeveloped land in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula — 12 miles wide
and 20 miles long — half the size of New York City.
is a forest where logging, hunting, camping and horseback riding occur,
and yet a “Big Wild” where you can sometimes sense only the sounds of
nature and the smells of earth, sky and water.
Pigeon River Country's uniqueness
The 100-year history of the Pigeon River Country is told in the
forest’s Discovery Center, opened a year ago by a group of dedicated
volunteers. The interpretive center is housed in a historic home that was
used as a residence for the forest supervisor until the early 2000s.
“We knew we wanted to tell the history, because the history is so
important,” said volunteer Sandra Franz, who was on the committee that
brought the Discovery Center to life. “We also wanted to inform people who
come out that it’s not a state park. It’s a state forest, and here’s what
makes the Pigeon River Country unique as a state forest.”
of those things is the elk herd. Many people visit hoping to see elk and
hear their bugle-like calls. The Pigeon River Country’s rich history also
makes it unique, while tying into the overall fabric of Michigan’s
lumbering and natural resources heritage.
A century ago, Michigan set aside the 6,468 acres of tax-reverted lands
that would become the nucleus of the Pigeon River Country State Forest.
The land had been logged, some of it burned by forest fires, some of it
cultivated by farmers who soon learned that it was not good crop land. The
forest continued to expand, mostly with lands purchased with deer hunting
Elk disappeared from Michigan in the late 19th century due to
unrestricted hunting and loss of their habitat. In 1918, seven Rocky
Mountain elk were brought to the area that would soon be the Pigeon River
The herd grew steadily, but poaching and diminished habitat quality
reduced its numbers from 1,500 in the early 1960s to 200 in the mid-1970s.
Since then, careful management of the open areas and forests that the herd
needs to thrive has helped it grow to more than 1,100 animals.
The forest's first champion
Lovejoy was the first champion of the “P.R.” as he called it. One of the
first students in the University of Michigan’s School of Forestry, he
advocated for the forest long before he became the state’s first Game
“Don’t we all want, yen for, need, some considerable ‘getting away’
from the crowds and the lawnmowers and the tulips? … Isn’t that [the]
yen for the Big Wild feel and flavor? I claim it is. …
I figger [sic] that a whole lot of the side-road country should be
left plenty bumpy and bushy … and some so you go in on foot – or don’t
go at all. I don’t want any pansies planted around the stump.”
Lovejoy’s legacy is large within the forest, Franz said. His influence
extended not only to the overall concepts that led to how the forest was
developed, but also to the smallest details.
overhead at the beams in the Discovery Center, for example. Lovejoy came
around as it was being built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps
in the 1930s. On one visit, he objected to the fact that the beams were
machined rather than hand-hewn.
“He had the carpenters take their axes and put chop marks in those
beams to make them look more rustic,” Franz said. “He had large ideas
about land use but also small ideas about details.”
Forest management and public input
From its beginning, the Pigeon River Country forest has presented its
managers with conflicting interests and hard decisions on how to balance
recreation, economic development, good forestry and natural resource
have always taken an interest in the forest and played a role in its
When lawsuits were filed over oil and gas drilling in the forest in the
early 1970s, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources put a special
management plan in place for the forest. Starting in 1974, the DNR
appointed a citizens’ advisory council to provide input on managing the
Those who love the forest celebrate its diversity, from upland
deciduous (trees that shed their leaves annually) forests to lowland
conifers (evergreen trees), from remote swamps to grasslands. But at the
heart of their passion are the peace and solitude of the forest, its
moments of bright sunshine and dramatic storms, its ability to inspire
connection to a wider world and to heal.
Pigeon River Country Discovery Center
Inside the Discovery Center, the welcoming fireplace invites
conversations like those of early conservationists Herman Lunden and P.S.
There’s a lot more to see here too. An elk peers out from a box car.
The small office of the park forester has artifacts donated from his
family, and the kitchen – large enough to cook for a family of seven,
guests and work crews – now houses hands-on activities for children of all
family’s bedrooms tell the stories of Hemingway, the rich experiences
offered by the forest and the memories that have been made there.
And from there, in the words of Ford Kellum, who quit his job working
for the Michigan DNR to fight against oil drilling in the Pigeon River
Country: “You’ve got your free-flowing rivers. … You’ve got lakes
that have no cottages around them. You’ve got trail roads that are just
two ruts. You’ve got the big trees; virgin or not, they’re big. … It’s
pretty. And you can get back into some of these places and have solitude.
People need a little of that.”
Find out more about the Pigeon River Country at
PigeonRiverDiscoveryCenter.org or the
Pigeon River Country Advisory Council webpage.
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
NRC Approves Deer
Regulations Related to Chronic Wasting Disease
series of deer hunting regulations aimed at slowing the spread of chronic
wasting disease were approved today by the Michigan Natural Resources
Commission at its regular monthly meeting in Lansing. The action came
after a thorough review of the best available science on CWD and multiple
opportunities for public input.
CWD is a fatal neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in
cervids (deer, elk and moose). The disease attacks the brain of an
infected animal and produces small lesions that result in death. There is
no cure; once an animal is infected, it will die.
Major deer hunting regulations, which were approved for the 2019 deer
seasons, unless noted otherwise, include:
Baiting and feeding
Continue a ban on baiting and feeding in the entire Lower Peninsula
that took effect at the end of January 2019. There is an exception to
this ban for hunters with disabilities during the Liberty and
Independence hunts. Qualifying hunters are allowed to use 2 gallons at a
time of single-bite baits during deer seasons.
Allow baiting and feeding in the Upper Peninsula except for a ban,
effective immediately, in the Core CWD Surveillance Area. This core area
comprises some 660 square miles, defined by major roadways within
portions of Menominee, Delta and Dickinson counties around the single
case of a CWD-positive deer found last year in the Upper Peninsula.
Consistent with regulations in the Lower Peninsula, there is an
exception to the baiting ban in the U.P. Core Area for hunters with
disabilities during the Liberty and Independence hunts.
Move the Liberty Hunt to the second weekend in September. Based on
this change, the 2019 Liberty Hunt will be held September 14th - 15th instead of
September 21st - 22nd as it was previously scheduled. The early antlerless season
– held on private land in select counties – will continue to be held the
third weekend in September (September 21st - 22nd).
Change the deer baiting start date for hunters with disabilities who
meet specific requirements. Baiting for these individuals can occur five
days before and during the second Saturday in September.
Require that scents placed to entice deer, whether composed of
natural or synthetic materials, be placed so that they are inaccessible
for consumption by deer and placed in such a manner to prohibit any
physical contact with deer.
In the Upper Peninsula, reinstate the antlerless option during
archery deer season for hunters hunting on the Deer License or Deer
Combo License in areas open to antlerless licenses.
Also in the Upper Peninsula, eliminate antler point restrictions in
the Core CWD Surveillance Area, and allow the use of crossbows in the
late archery season in the Core Area.
In the Lower Peninsula, add Barry, Lenawee and Midland counties to
the CWD Management Zone, where additional regulations will apply.
Also in the Lower Peninsula, implement a 4-point antler point
restriction across all Deer and Deer Combo licenses for Mecosta,
Montcalm and Ionia counties. This is part of an experimental APR to
determine the impacts of APRs on deer populations in an area of known
Require that established department goals for management of
antlerless deer be achieved, if this experimental APR is to continue.
Require that deer collected with a salvage permit as a result of
collision with a motor vehicle may not be removed from the county where
the animal was killed to prevent potential spread of CWD.
“We hope that by setting these specific CWD regulations we can limit
the movement of this disease in Michigan,” said Vicki Pontz, NRC
chairperson. “We appreciate all the comments we have received from across
the state. Michigan hunters are very passionate about deer and deer
hunting, and I look forward to working with them as we continue to
confront this threat to wildlife and our valued hunting tradition.”
In addition to the regular opportunities for hunters and others to get
information and share ideas about wildlife management and hunting
regulations, the NRC and DNR offered and promoted a number of additional
public forums specifically aimed at discussing proposed CWD regulations.
Those opportunities included:
Dedicated time for public comments during NRC meetings in May, June
and July and at Upper Peninsula Citizens’ Advisory Council meetings in
May and June.
Four CWD public listening sessions in May and June – one each in
Alger and Houghton counties and two in Menominee County – focused on the
Ongoing opportunity to submit opinions and ideas through a dedicated
public email address.
More than 175 people attended the special CWD public listening
sessions, while over 235 comments were received via email.
“Public input is an extremely important part of any discussion
surrounding the care of Michigan’s natural resources,” Pontz said. “We
want to thank the hunters and others who took the time to attend a public
meeting or write an email and share their ideas about how best to
strengthen Michigan’s wildlife populations for future generations.”
Chronic wasting disease first was discovered in Michigan in a
free-ranging deer in May 2015. To date, more than 60,000 deer in Michigan
have been tested for CWD and it has been confirmed in 120 free-ranging
deer in nine Michigan counties: Clinton, Dickinson, Eaton, Gratiot,
Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm.
More information about these new deer hunting and baiting regulations
also will be posted next week to the
Michigan.gov/CWD webpage. For additional questions, contact the DNR
Wildlife Division by email at
DNR-Wildlife@michigan.gov or by phone at 517-284-9453.
Meet Michigan's New Conservation Officers
communities throughout Michigan are gaining new conservation officers from
the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Since graduating in December
from the DNR’s 23-week Conservation Officer Recruit School #9 in Lansing,
the officers have traveled the state completing their field training
program and gaining diverse experience as probationary officers.
“The process for becoming a Michigan DNR conservation officer includes
several phases,” said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund. “We want to ensure that our
new officers are able to apply what they learned in the academy and use
those skills in real-life scenarios, in addition to learning new skills
from the field training officers they are partnered with.”
The new conservation officers received their permanent county
assignments prior to graduating from the academy. After graduation,
conservation officers must complete three phases of probationary training
before they move into their permanent county assignments.
While their primary mission is to enforce fish, game and natural
resource protection laws, conservation officers serve a unique role as
certified peace officers with authority to enforce all of Michigan’s
criminal laws. Because of their specialized training and equipment,
conservation officers often are first responders to situations involving
medical emergencies, missing persons and public safety threats.
The academy involved off-road training to operate specialized vehicles,
such as four-wheel-drive trucks, ORVs, snowmobiles and patrol boats –
everyday tools used by conservation officers to patrol Michigan’s natural
resources. Recruits took several trips to specialized training locations
throughout Michigan, including the Camp Grayling Training Center, the GM
Proving Grounds in Milford and the Ingham County Jail, in addition to
completing scenario testing at several parks.
Founded in 1887, the DNR Law Enforcement Division is Michigan’s oldest
statewide law enforcement agency. Learn more about the work of
conservation officers and explore the Recruit School #9
weekly blog posts and photos at
Meet Michigan's new conservation officers by region
Explore the regions below for more information on the new officers in
those areas, including officer photos, remarks from the officers’
lieutenants, and some comments from new officers describing their
motivation for pursuing a career as a conservation officer.
Peninsula - West (1)
Upper Peninsula - East (2)
Northern Lower Peninsula (3)
Northwest Lower Peninsula (4)
Central Northern Michigan (5)
Central Michigan (6)
Southwest Michigan (7)
South Mid-Michigan (8)
Southeast Michigan (9)
Keep Fire Safety in Mind This Summer
4th is the midpoint of summer fun in Michigan, with people planning
campfires, cookouts, fireworks and all kinds of other outdoor activities.
While many parts of the state have gotten enough rain to reduce the risk
of wildfires, it’s important to put safety first when enjoying the
Check out the DNR’s new
fire safety page, available at
Michigan.gov/DNREducation in the Safety Information section, for
Campfire safety. Always thoroughly douse your fire
with water before leaving it for the night.
Debris burning. You need to get a permit at
Michigan.gov/BurnPermit or from your local municipality before
you burn debris. Call 866-922-2876 for a permit in northern Lower
Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Keep your fire at least 10 feet away
from logs, stumps or other debris and make sure no branches are hanging
Firewise landscaping. This type of landscaping
protects your home or cabin by minimizing the number of shrubs, leaves
and trees that are close to the house. You can also learn more about it
National Fire Protection Association.
Fireworks. There are
new laws and restrictions for fireworks and when they can be
used. “Nationally, fireworks cause 18,500 fires per year and have
injured/or caused the death of 40 people on average,” said Lt. Jason
Wicklund, DNR conservation officer. “If you are using fireworks to
celebrate this fourth of July, remember that you are responsible for
where that firework ends up and the damage it may cause. Also, please
take into consideration pets, those suffering from post-traumatic stress
disorders and local ordinances that have a time frame on noises
So far in 2019, the DNR has fought more than 168 wildfires on over 818
acres around the state.
are in for the first round of environmental DNA testing for invasive
bighead and silver carp in tributaries of Lake Michigan. None of the 336
water samples collected in the Kalamazoo River, Spring Lake and Lake
Macatawa tested positive for the genetic material (eDNA) of invasive carp.
The eDNA surveillance program – a collaborative effort between the Great
Lakes states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – samples
high-priority locations for the presence of bighead and silver carp
genetic material. Results from additional monitoring efforts in Michigan
will be available later this summer.
Since 2013, the DNR has coordinated with the USFWS to implement the eDNA
surveillance program in Michigan’s major tributaries to all the Great
Lakes except Lake Superior, because it has been deemed very low-risk for
the introduction and establishment of invasive carp.
Results of these surveys are available on the USFWS website FWS.gov.
Testing for eDNA involves collecting water samples throughout a river
or lake and analyzing each sample for silver or bighead carp genetic
The 2019 sampling locations this year include Spring Lake and Lake
Macatawa, both drowned river mouths of Lake Michigan. According to Kelly
Baerwaldt, USFWS Region 3 Asian carp and eDNA coordinator, these lakes
provide the type of habitat and food resources that invasive carp prefer
and can hold eDNA longer than a high flowing river.
What if positive results are found?
May, eDNA testing on Lake Calumet in Chicago, just 6 miles downstream of
Lake Michigan, resulted in six positive detections – three each for silver
carp and bighead carp.
In response to these findings, the USFWS and partners dispatched two crews
to carry out intensive electro-fishing in Lake Calumet for three days. No
live silver or bighead carp were collected through this effort.
“A positive eDNA sample in Michigan’s waters would trigger a similar
response,” said Seth Herbst, aquatic species and regulatory affairs unit
manager with the DNR. “The state is prepared to implement a response
appropriate to the indicated risk level. Response actions would include
intensive monitoring to locate fish populations, and netting and
electro-fishing to capture and remove the invasive fish.”
It’s important to note that positive eDNA results don’t always mean live
fish are present. Other sources, such as boats or angling equipment that
have been in an area where invasive carp are established, also can deposit
eDNA into un-infested water bodies.
What is Michigan doing to prevent
“Along with our participation in the eDNA surveillance program, we
continue to be diligent with early detection efforts, such as conducting
fish population surveys, increasing awareness among anglers, and
invasive carp reporting website for anglers to share any suspicious
catches or observations that occur during their outings,” said Herbst.
Michigan’s management plan for invasive carp outlines the actions
to be taken if invasive carp are found in Michigan’s waters.
The state of Michigan is a part of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating
Committee, which develops and supports the annual
Asian Carp Action Plan, directing sampling and removal efforts and
testing technologies to deter invasive carp movement.
Michigan continues to push the implementation of the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers’ plan to reconstruct the Brandon Road lock and dam near Joliet,
Illinois, to install technologies to lessen the possibility of invasive
carp entering Lake Michigan from the Mississippi River.
For more information about invasive carp and the threats they pose to
Michigan’s waters, visit
Water Parks Are Making a Splash in Michigan State Parks
By CASEY WARNER - Michigan Department of Natural Resources
For 100 years, state parks have been known as some of the best places
in Michigan to experience a variety of outdoor fun – from boating and
fishing to swimming and hiking, plus camping and lodging for those who
want to make more than a day of it.
In recent years, Michigan’s state parks are attracting an even wider range
of visitors by offering unique ways to enjoy the outdoors, including disc
golf, geo-caching, yoga and stargazing opportunities at dark sky preserves.
The newest adventure available at state parks takes advantage of one of
Michigan’s most popular and defining features – water.
Inflatable water parks, also called aqua parks, add another dimension of
family fun at five state parks across Michigan. These floating playgrounds
feature a series of connected inflatable slides, runways, jumping pillows
and bouncers that are suitable for both kids and adults.
“We’re always looking for new ways to remain relevant to the public and
provide even more reasons to visit state parks,” said Department of
Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson. “In our quest to
get more kids and young people outside, we think the water parks add a
layer of adventure to the traditional beach experience and offer visitors
some pretty exhilarating, exciting ways to challenge themselves outdoors.”
way state parks have been able to enhance visitors’ experience with water
parks and other amenities is through partnerships with businesses offering
Water parks came to Michigan state parks in 2016, when concessionaire Jump
Island approached the DNR with the idea.
A Parks and Recreation Division team that works on state park innovations
was open to that idea.
“So we offered Jump Island a two-year contract to give it a try. That’s
typically how we approach new concession or business ideas, by offering a
short-term contract,” said Lori Ruff, concession and lease manager for the
Parks and Recreation Division.
At the end of the short-term contract, the business opportunity is opened
to competitive bidding as required by state law, Ruff explained.
The first aqua park opened at Holly Recreation Area in Oakland County in
2016, with Jump Island as the first concessionaire.
Other water park vendors soon followed, and the ventures have proven
successful for both the concessionaires – with gross sales ranging from
$112,000 to $373,000 in 2018 – and state parks.
concessionaires pay the state a percentage of their gross sales, which
goes into the DNR’s Park Improvement Fund.
The water parks also have helped draw more visitors to the state parks.
“WhoaZone and Jump Island before it have been wildly popular at Holly and
have increased beach visitation dramatically,” said Shawn Speaker, unit
supervisor at Holly Recreation Area and part of the innovation team that
initially brought the water parks to state parks.
Kale Leftwich, unit supervisor at Brighton Recreation Area in Livingston
County, said his park also saw a sharp increase in use – as measured in
sales of the Recreation Passport required for state park entry – when it
began offering a water park two years ago.
“Passport sales in 2017 jumped up roughly $46,000 over the previous year
without a water park,” Leftwich said.
He added that, while 2019 is off to a slow start, “hopefully that will
change when and if it ever stops raining.”
summer, there are five water parks located at state parks in southeastern
Michigan, the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.
Jump Island at Brighton Recreation Area, a water obstacle course situated
on Bishop Lake, features an inflatable iceberg, inflatable slides, runways
and more that give visitors the ability to balance, walk, run or slide on
New for 2019 at Brighton is Splash Island, a smaller version of the
floating structures in shallower water for smaller children 44-48 inches
tall. Most of the water parks, including Jump Island, have a height
requirement of at least 48 inches. Jump Nation, the company that operates
the water park, also will offer swimming lessons and yoga classes.
“Most of the comments we receive are positive. People enjoy something new
in the park and are glad to see something aimed at the youth audience.
They also appreciate the availability of food at the beach,” said Leftwich,
who added that the vendor operates a small barbeque and sells snacks and
Jump Island location on Budd Lake at Wilson State Park in Clare County
offers a water course with an inflatable iceberg, inflatable slides,
runways and more, where visitors can balance, walk, run or slide right on
Located in the Upper Peninsula on Lake Michigamme in Marquette County’s
Van Riper State Park, Water Warrior Island includes 20-foot water slides,
rock climbing walls, trampolines, floating walkways and a
ninja-warrior-like obstacle course.
Water Warrior Island also operates at Oakland County’s Bald Mountain
Recreation Area, with a course that challenges visitors to defeat a
20-foot wall, conquer a 25-foot slide, and swing and blast themselves into
the air while testing their strength and ability to climb, jump, balance
“This is our first year with Water Warrior Island. We have had a lot of
folks calling about it and coming in to look at it, but the weather has
not been very nice to get out in the water yet,” Adam Lepp, Bald Mountain
unit supervisor, said. “The customers that have used it really liked it
and want to do it again!”
at Holly Recreation Area’s Heron Beach features a course offering four
different routes with varying degrees of difficulty, with a gigantic
springboard, semi-circle step, wiggle bridge, half-pipe and more that
visitors can climb, jump, crawl and slide on. A special water play area is
available for kids at least 4 years old and 39 inches tall.
“Most people love the water parks, even if they aren’t using them,”
Speaker said. “Lots of people have shared with me they enjoy watching the
people out there having fun and think it’s a great addition to the beach.”
Check out a video on the water parks.
Ticket and reservation information, rules, height requirements and
hours of operation vary between each individual attraction. Links to the
water park websites and a map can be found at
The aqua park endeavor has been a win-win for both the vendors running the
facilities and the state parks hosting them.
DNR also offers a number of other opportunities for operating concessions
in Michigan state parks and other destinations.
Those interested in operating a business in partnership with state parks,
trails and waterways can visit
Michigan.gov/StateParkConcessions for a list of what is currently
out for bid.
The DNR is hosting the
Become an Outdoorpreneur program – designed to inspire new,
sustainability-minded entrepreneurs who will help enhance the visitor
experience at Michigan state parks, trails and waterways – in Traverse
City Aug. 2-4. Attendees can learn from seasoned "outdoorpreneurs" through
hands-on experiences, plus get business basics including a business plan
and potential return on investment with Davenport University.
To learn more about the abundant outdoor recreation opportunities at
Michigan’s 103 state parks, visit
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
ICYMI: Monument Men, Surveying Michigan's
early work of Michigan's "monument men" was critical to laying out the
boundaries of land throughout the state, often in very challenging
conditions. In case you missed it, that story – detailing the ways the job
has evolved over the years and how surveyors use both old-school and
modern tools and techniques – was shared in a recent Showcasing the DNR
Meridian Road. Baseline Road. Townline Road. Rangeline Road.
Section Street. These road and street names refer all the way back to the
early 1800s, when the U.S. Congress established a General Land Office and
created the Public Land Survey System.
Early land surveyors systematically divided Michigan into a grid of
1-mile squares, marked with wooden corner posts at half-mile intervals,
following a north-south meridian, an east-west baseline, township lines,
range lines and section lines.
Read the full story here.
In Wildlife? Check Out These Fall Employment Opportunities
27JUN19-Fall is a busy season for the DNR Wildlife Division.
The department hires more than 100 seasonal employees to work at various
locations throughout the state, including DNR field offices and customer
service centers, state game areas and the DNR wildlife disease lab.
These positions involve duties like CWD surveillance, banding geese and
ducks, entering database information, posting hunt areas, assisting the
public with questions and more. The jobs are perfect for college students,
those looking to re-enter the workforce and seniors or retirees interested
in getting more involved in the outdoors.
Get more details (including contact information) on these seasonal
wildlife job opportunities by visiting
Michigan.gov/DNRJobs and scrolling to the Seasonal and Temporary
All fall positions will be posted during July and August at:
GovernmentJobs.com/Careers/Michigan, where you can search for job
titles or filter by the department name.
Get To Know Michigan State Parks Through the
Eyes Of Storytellers
stories around the campfire is a time-honored tradition. Often, those
stories contain playful anecdotes and deeply personal memories.
As part of the Michigan state parks centennial, the DNR is hosting
storytelling events where you'll hear seasoned storytellers share
their personal park tales. At a recent event in Lansing, Alexis Horton,
the DNR's diversity, equity and inclusion officer, engaged the crowd with
her memories of introducing a group of students who'd never camped before
to the fun and camaraderie of s'mores and time outdoors at Waterloo
Listen to Alexis's story here.
Just this past weekend, the DNR hosted a campfire storytelling event in
Interlochen, with three more coming up July 20 at Van Riper State Park
(Champion), August 17th at Belle Isle
(Detroit) and September 21st at Yankee
Springs Recreation Area (Middleville). These events are more than just
listening to spoken stories; they're a way for people to connect with
Learn more about the centennial Campfire Storytelling Project at
Michigan.gov/StateParks100. Questions? Contact
Maia Turek, 989-225-8573.
Hunting Access Program Helps Landowners Earn
Money and to Better Manage Wildlife on Their Property
owners in more than a dozen counties have the opportunity to enroll their
land in the DNR's Hunting Access Program – and play a key role in helping
Michigan's deer population.
The program is enrolling private property in priority counties for deer
disease in portions of the southern and northern Lower Peninsula.
Landowners should have at least 40 acres of land with some wildlife
habitat (forest, brush, etc.) within a chronic wasting disease or bovine
tuberculosis priority county listed below.
Enrollment is open through September 1st. Priority counties for HAP
enrollment include Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Ionia, Iosco, Kent, Mecosta,
Montcalm, Montmorency, Newaygo, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego and Presque Isle.
Landowners in Alcona, Alpena, Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Montmorency,
Newaygo or Oscoda counties may be eligible for additional incentives.
“You can get paid to help with wildlife disease
management, support the local economy and reduce wildlife conflicts on
your property,” said DNR Hunting Access Program coordinator Monique
Ferris, who explained that most counties have
local conservation district staff available
to assist with enrollment. “Call today to learn what you could earn for
Since 1977, Michigan’s Hunting Access Program – one of the nation’s
largest and longest-running dedicated private-land public access programs
– has given landowners another option to earn income from their land for
allowing controlled hunting access.
Benefits to landowners include:
An annual payment based on acres of land
enrolled, type of land cover and type of hunting allowed.
Liability protection for the landowner through
Public Act 451.
Flexible options for hunting types and maximum
number of hunters allowed on the property.
The opportunity to promote Michigan’s rich
The ability to better manage wildlife on the
There is no extra cost for hunters to use HAP lands, but they are
responsible for reviewing rules for each property they plan to hunt
(available online), checking in at the property before each day of hunting
and respecting the landowners’ property.
For more information on enrollment, visit
Michigan.gov/HAP. Questions? Contact
Monique Ferris at 517-284-4741.
across the state, Michigan’s wetlands provide great year-round recreation
opportunities like birding, boating, fishing, hiking, photography and
hunting. Now through July 14th, the DNR’s Wetland Wonders Challenge offers
even more reasons to visit. Stop by one of the 14 Wetland Wonders
locations at state game and wildlife areas around Michigan, snap a picture
next to the official sign, and you could win a Cabela’s gift card valued
at up to $1,000.
But Michigan’s wetlands offer more than amazing recreation and prize
opportunities. They’re key to improving and maintaining the state’s
“Michigan’s wetlands are beneficial to humans and to wildlife,” said Holly
Vaughn, DNR wildlife communications coordinator. “They provide important
flood control functions, especially important when communities are
experiencing a great deal of rainfall, and help to filter water, making
our groundwater cleaner. Wetlands also provide nesting areas and resting
spots for migrating birds to stop and refuel for their long migrations.”
Besides serving a vital environmental function, Michigan’s thousands of
acres of wetlands are a great way to explore Michigan’s outdoors –
wetlands are teeming with a diverse array of species, and opportunities
abound for people who want to get involved in nature year-round. Whether
that’s by wildlife viewing, kayaking or hunting, wetlands should be every
outdoor enthusiast’s next stop.
Learn more about the state’s wetlands, Wetland
Wonders locations and the current contest details at
Holly Vaughn, 313-396-6863.
Profiling Two State Park Gems
This is part of a series of stories to mark the
centennial of Michigan state parks. On May 12, 1919, the Michigan
Legislature established the Michigan State Park Commission, paving the way
for our state parks system. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources
is celebrating this milestone throughout the year with special events,
podcasts, historical stories, videos, geocaching and more. Find more
By JOHN PEPIN-Michigan Department of Natural Resources
southern Schoolcraft County lie two fantastic Michigan state parks, each
situated along the shores of the Upper Peninsula’s fourth-largest lake –
the 8,400-acre Indian Lake, which is located north of Thompson and west of
Indian Lake State Park – which is divided
into a south and a west unit – offers a total of 217 campsites.
Palms Book State Park, located 15 minutes
away, along the northwest corner of the lake, is home to Michigan’s
largest free-flowing spring.
Combined, these two state parks offer visitors beautiful scenery, places
for picnicking, camping, ice cream and star gazing, boating, kayaking and
fishing, hiking, swimming and beachcombing. Visitors are also well within
range for a day trip from here to Fayette Historic State Park in
neighboring Delta County.
Though large, Indian Lake is shallow with a maximum depth of 18 feet, with
almost all the lake measuring 15 feet deep or less. Once referred to as
M’O’Nositique Lake, Indian Lake measures 6 miles north to south and 3
Despite the shallow depth, anglers – especially those with small boats –
come here to try to catch some of the nine species available, which range
from sturgeon and brown trout to muskies, panfish, walleye and northern
At one time, American Indians lived near the outlet of the lake in log
land for the south-shore unit at Indian Lake State Park was acquired in
1932. Development of the park started a year later with the help of labor
provided by the Depression-era saviors from the Civilian Conservation
Corps and the Works Progress Administration.
Campsites and other park features were constructed along the lakeshore
In 1939, land was acquired for the west-shore unit of the park, though
didn’t start here until more than two decades later, in 1965. Campsites at
the west side of the lake are situated farther back from the water, about
a quarter to a half-mile, providing a more secluded atmosphere for
The state park is located 4 miles west of Manistique.
Palms Book State Park is found at the northern end of M-149.
“It is a rewarding side trip for the vacationer touring the Upper
Peninsula, for here can be seen one of Michigan’s alluring natural
attractions – Kitch-iti-kipi, ‘The Big Spring,’” a park brochure reads.
A raft takes park visitors across the surface of the spring. A viewing
well in the watercraft allows views of sand boiling out of the bottom of
the spring, the pool cast in an emerald green color due to the minerals
tree trunks, lime-encrusted branches and fat trout appear suspended in
nothingness as they slip through crystal waters far below,” a brochure
reads. “Clouds of sand kept in constant motion by gushing waters create
ever-changing shapes and forms, a challenge to the imagination of young
and old alike.”
The spring maintains a constant 45-degree water temperature year-round,
with more than 10,000 gallons of water per minute gushing from cracks in
the underlying limestone.
Early proponent of the spring John I. Bellaire found it as a logging camp
dump and persuaded Frank Book of the Palms Book Land Co. in Detroit to
sell 90 acres around the spring to the state for $10 to preserve the area
as part of a state park.
Additional land acquisitions and exchanges brought the park to a total of
308 acres. Work crews constructed the first raft here over the oval-shaped
There is a concessionaire’s store at the park, along with swings and
grills for picnicking. No camping is permitted here.
Bellaire and an American Indian friend created Indian legends about the
spring to attract more visitors to the site he visited almost daily.
addition to the two state parks in this part of the peninsula, there are
other attractions in the area to visit, including the state fish hatchery
at Thompson, shoreline boardwalks with a picturesque lighthouse at
Manistique, along with more recreational opportunities within the Hiawatha
Cool day trips from here include the nature drive and other wildlife
viewing opportunities at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge, history and
ghost hunting at the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse, shops and restaurants in
Manistique, as well as places to walk along the shell-encrusted beaches of
Indian Lake State Park is situated along Schoolcraft County Road 442, not
far north of U.S. 2, which winds along Lake Michigan east to the Mackinac
Bridge and west and south to Escanaba, Menominee and the Wisconsin border.
Whether you’re a camper, a sightseer, a picture taker, painter, stargazer,
angler, boater, biker, paddler or hiker, these two beautiful state parks
are places that should be experienced – whether for a day, a week or more.
The emerald waters of the big spring await, like the sweeping vistas
found across Indian Lake, a place for beautiful sunsets, peaceful
contemplation, fun with a fishing rod, a kayak or family and friends.
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
A Little Ride Back – Peeking at our Past
By JONI GLEASON
19JUN19-Many of us who love horses and are passionate about the western
lifestyle have wished, at one time or another, we could go back to the
days when we relied on horses for everything: our transportation, to plow
our fields, to haul our goods.
There is “Someplace Special” where that’s possible: Mackinac Island.
Located between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas in Lake Huron,
Mackinac Island is small; only 8 miles around and about 11 miles from the
Motor vehicles were banned from the island in 1898 to preserve the charm
and protect the safety of its residents and visitors. It remains that way
today. People get around on foot, on a bike, or with a horse, and use
horses to accomplish all the island’s needs.
Mackinac island is home to over 600 horses in the summer when tourism is
at its peak. They then travel back to the mainland for the winter by
Visitors can bring their own horses to the island too, for the day or
arrange boarding at the Mackinac Island Community Equestrian Center, to
enjoy riding the over 90 miles of wooded trails in Mackinac Island State
I had an incredible opportunity to join Tom Seay for a filming of his
popular TV show “Best of America by Horseback” last fall. I brought my own
quarter horse, Scout, and Percheron mare, Majesty, along for the three-day
both Scout and Majesty over the ramp and into the cargo area of the ferry,
was a snap. It was the first time they had been on a boat, but they
managed to find their “sea legs” on the swaying deck accompanied by the
unusual and constant roar of the engines, but they handled it well.
After about 20 minutes we arrived!
A friend who was also on the island for this special ride, met us at the
dock along with her mule, near the edge of a very active downtown area.
This is the part where the time machine magically beamed me back to a
bygone era; busy main street traffic consisted of horses – lots of horses
and horse drawn vehicles of many different sizes and types: big, long
fancy carriages that hold lots of people, smaller taxi’s for just a few,
and drays and wagons hauling goods. Some were stopped to load and unload
people, some trotted by us.
There were bikes too – lots of bikes parked alongside the main street
shopping and restaurant area, and some whizzed by.
Except for gentle creaking and clanking of the pulling equipment, and the
cadence of horse hooves, it was pretty quiet for a major thoroughfare area
compared to what we’re normally used to.
I could actually hear people talking to each other, and to their horses
with gentle commands to “whoa” or “get up.”
had one eye, and both hands, on Scout and Majesty who seemed to be in awe
like me, and one eye on everything else.
I wanted to know about the people who did this every day. I wanted to know
how they really make this town work this way. My eyes were seeing it, my
ears were hearing it, my heart was definitely feeling it.
So much to take in, but like everyone else in this bustling little
1800’s-style town, we had things to do and somewhere to go!
We walked our horses past the downtown area, but once we were a block up,
I mounted Scout and ponied Majesty, who carried the bigger pack with our
basic needs for the weekend.
We rode on smaller, windy streets for almost 2 miles to the Mackinac
Island Community Equestrian Center. We encountered bike riders and walkers
along the way and an occasional carriage would pass, and every time we all
exchanged a friendly smile, head nod or hello.
People were happy here. Horses were happy here.
After Scout and Majesty were settled in their stalls, we met Tom Seay and
his crew and attended a brief orientation about what to expect for the
weekend, and then we were free to wander around the island for the
Of course, I headed out by horseback along with a few others to explore.
rode to one of the islands unique spots, Sugar Loaf, which is an immense
75-foot-high limestone rock in the middle of the forest, made by erosion.
But I heard a different tale about how Sugar Loaf was created from the
locals: a man’s face is clearly visible – etched right in the front of the
rock – so early settlers and Native Americans believed a spirit was
transformed to rock forever as punishment by a god because he fell in love
with a mortal woman he came to visit.
The next morning, we all gathered at the barn for coffee and muffins,
saddled our horses, and headed out in three medium sized groups along with
Tom and his co-host Kristen Biscoe.
Tom and his crew were so very personable and down to earth. I felt I was
with my best riding buddies as we navigated the trail system and took in
the sights of this beautifully wooded forest with views of the spectacular
Lake Huron visible every so often.
We talked about our horses and how fortunate we are to share our lives
with them and other like-minded people on adventures like this, and to be
here riding in such an incredible place.
The second day we rode to the Northwest part of the island along a
charming residential road close to the edge of Lake Huron. The road weaved
up along a grassy bluff making for a stunning view of the majestic lake.
The scene could have been plucked straight from a fairytale book,
illustrated with darling cottages on our right, complete with colorful
bunches of flowers here and there, and decorative fences and rocks all
perfectly placed to accent the story.
If you’ve never seen the Great Lakes, they appear more like the ocean
than a lake, and they can get just as rough when the weather gets nasty.
The weekend had been cool and a little rainy at times, so we could see
some white caps on the water’s surface.
We rode to a park called British Landing where we were able to take the
horses out on the beach. A few of the horses in our group were leery to go
close to the choppy waves hitting the shore, and their hooves sank a
little in the deep sugar sand. Yet, it was a thrill to ride on the beach
and let the horses take a drink of the crystal-clear water.
Monday morning came way too soon – we all packed up our gear and horses
and made our way back to town to board that ferry bound for the mainland –
back to our motor-filled world we know too well.
Yet, I was so grateful for the opportunity to spend some time in this
one and only place in our whole country that operates solely with
horsepower! I met some fascinating people too, who are passionate about
Mackinac Island and work so hard every day to sustain this lifestyle they
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has had a slogan for over 60 years: “Someplace
Special” and Mackinac Island truly lives up to it.
In addition to equestrian trails and campgrounds managed by the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources, the horseback-riding opportunities
highlighted in this story are available at Mackinac Island, which is
managed by Mackinac State Historic Parks – an agency within the DNR
responsible for a family of living history museums and parks located in
the Straits of Mackinac area.
To learn about the DNR’s riding opportunities,
Michigan.gov/Equestrian. Find out more about
Mackinac Island 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
DNR Announces Recipients of More than
$1.4 Million in Public and Private Iron Belle Trail Funding
than two dozen projects along different parts of Michigan’s Iron Belle
Trail will get a boost this year, sharing $1.4 million in public and
privately raised funds to help build connections along the state’s
Stretching more than 2,000 total miles, the Iron Belle Trail is the
longest state-designated trail in the nation. Currently just over 70
percent completed, the trail runs along two separate routes: a hiking
segment that mainly follows the North Country National Scenic Trail on
the west side of Michigan, and an 800-mile bike trail running between
Belle Isle in Detroit all the way to Ironwood in the western Upper
This year, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has awarded
$815,884 in mini-grants, while the private Iron Belle Trail Fund has
added another $650,000 to support multiple projects on the trail. Grants
from these two sources will leverage a matching $3 million in Iron Belle
“Momentum has been building for several years on the Iron Belle
Trail, and these grants will ensure that it continues,” said Dakota
Hewlett, Iron Belle Trail coordinator. “Several communities have used
the mini-grant process to study, engineer and, now, build segments of
the trail. It’s exciting to see these plans come together.”
The DNR received 36 applications for this grant cycle. Projects in 15
different counties received funding for signage, engineering,
feasibility studies and trail/trailhead construction. The DNR introduced
the mini-grants in 2015 as a way to build connections along the trail.
Each grant applicant could ask for a maximum of $50,000 and was
encouraged, though not required, to provide local match funds.
One community that applied for and received funding is Crawford County,
which will use $150,000 to engineer three potential Iron Belle Trail
projects in the Grayling area.
“This area has always been plush with outdoor attractions, with 70% of
its land being public. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to visit
these multiple attractions using non-motorized transportation,” said
Donald Babcock, managing director of the Crawford County Road
Commission. “With the advent of the Iron Belle Trail, many of these
opportunities can be combined to create a world-class trail, worthy of
drawing visitors not only from Michigan, but from out of state.”
fifth year of Iron Belle Trail funding includes the most money ever
distributed in a single mini-grant cycle. From 2015 through 2018, the
DNR awarded a total of $1,465,000 in grants for a variety of projects –
many of which have been completed or are nearing completion. These grant
dollars come from a General Fund appropriation for Iron Belle Trail
The Iron Belle Trail Fund is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization formed in
2016 to raise private funds that can be used to match public dollars to
complete this statewide project. This year’s funding includes trail
development and trail planning projects in Alger, Baraga, Calhoun, Grand
Traverse, Jackson and Saginaw counties.
"We are very excited to be able to provide private funding for these
great projects," said Steve DeBrabander, executive director of the Iron
Belle Trail Fund. "This truly is great example of a public and private
partnership that will benefit our citizens and improve the quality of
life in Michigan."
The 25 DNR mini-grant-funded projects include the following. (A map
showing the corresponding project numbers is available in the note to
editors at the end of this release.)
Crawford County, $50,000 for
the engineering of a project from Fletcher Road to Four-Mile Road.
Crawford County, $50,000 for
the engineering of a project from M-93 to North Wright Street.
Crawford County, $50,000 for
the engineering of project from North Wright Street to Otsego County
North Country Trail Association (Alger
County), $50,000 for design of the Laughing Whitefish River
North Country Trail Association (Baraga
County), $50,000 for construction of the Canyon Falls
DNR – Tahquamenon State Park (Luce
County), $49,980 for construction along the Tahquamenon
Polly Ann Trailway Management Council (Oakland
County), $3,081 for the purchase and installation of a bike
Carrollton Township (Saginaw County),
$50,000 for trailhead appraisal and design.
Calhoun County Road Department (Calhoun
County), $10,000 for construction of a safe road crossing.
Calhoun County Trailway Alliance (Calhoun
County), $15,000 for trail planning.
City of Frankenmuth (Saginaw County),
$16,000 for trailhead amenities and signs.
Bay City (Bay County),
$30,193 for signage, bike repair stations.
Otsego Lake Township (Otsego County),
$50,000 for trailhead design and construction.
Huron-Clinton Metroparks (Washtenaw
County), $38,742 for trailhead at Dexter-Huron Metropark.
Huron-Clinton Metroparks (Wayne
County), $43,360 for signage.
Van Buren Township (Wayne County),
$50,000 for design at Willow Run Creek and Van Buren Park.
Van Buren Township (Wayne County),
$50,000 for engineering of a trail route.
Grand Blanc (Genesee County),
$4,100 for a bike repair station and other amenities.
Corwith Township (Otsego County),
$7,000 for trailhead signage.
Crystal Falls Township (Iron County),
$15,000 for engineering of a Heritage Trail extension.
Battle Creek (Calhoun County),
$30,000 for trail signage.
Grayling (Crawford County),
$45,428 for a route study, public engagement.
Detroit Greenways Coalition (Wayne County),
$5,000 for Iron Belle Trail maps.
Au Sable Township (Iosco County),
$45,000 for trailhead design.
Dickinson County Bike Path (Dickinson
County), $8,000 for signage.
For more details about the Iron Belle Trail,
including an interactive map, visit
Learn more about the Iron Belle Trail Fund by
contacting Steve DeBrabander at
$1 Million in Wildlife Habitat Grants
Available; Apply by July 26th
farm land into pheasant and small game habitat, conducting prescribed
burns to restore native grasslands, cutting and planting oak trees to
restore forest land – these are just a few examples of past Wildlife
Habitat Grant Program-supported projects. Those interested in securing
grant dollars from this DNR program for future projects are encouraged to
apply for the next round of funding. Projects to enhance game species
habitat will be given priority.
“This is an exciting opportunity to partner with others in the state to
increase the habitat available for game species in Michigan and to enhance
the existing habitat for the benefit of hunters, trappers and wildlife
viewers,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason.
Local, state, federal and tribal governments, for-profit and nonprofit
groups, and individuals all are welcome to apply through an open,
competitive process. The minimum grant amount is $15,000. The maximum is
the total funding available for the current grant cycle. This year that
amount is approximately $1 million. A minimum match of 10% is required.
Launched in October 2013, the program is funded from the sale of
Michigan hunting and fishing licenses. It is aimed at improving the
quality and quantity of game species habitat in support of the Wildlife
Division’s strategic plan.
Applications must be postmarked no later than July 26th. The DNR will
announce successful grant applications by October 1st.
For more information, review the detailed program
handbook and application at
Michigan.gov/DNR-Grants or contact
Clay Buchanan, 517-614-0918 or
Chip Kosloski, 517-284-5965.