You can help protect Michigan state parks, trails and waterways
Michigan state parks, trails and waterways are a valuable resource enjoyed by millions of visitors each year. For that reason, we all have a role to play in protecting the places we love most.
The introduction and spread of invasive plants, insects and diseases has had a tremendous impact on state parks, state forest campgrounds and other state-managed land, including loss of trees, wildlife habitat and ecosystem changes. As a result, a significant amount of work is focused on minimizing the introduction and spread of invasive species.
Visitors can help minimize the introduction and spread of invasive species. Learn what you can do to help Protect Mi Parks!
What can I do?
- Leave the firewood (and invasive species) behind
Invasive insects and diseases have killed millions of trees in Michigan – often after hitching a ride on firewood transported by campers and other park-goers. Hauling firewood, even a short distance, from one part of the state to another is a common way for these invasive species to infest new locations. To protect the current and long-term health of Michigan's trees, visitors are asked to either purchase heat-certified firewood sold in parks or purchase firewood that has been certified as heat-treated at local stores and roadside stands.
*Please note: To help curb the spread of invasive species and protect the current and long-term health of Michigan's trees, the DNR is considering a new firewood policy – one designed to still allow visitors to enjoy campfires, cookouts and other recreation around the fire – in state parks and other DNR-managed lands. To provide feedback or ask questions, please email DNR-ParksAndRecreation@michigan.gov.
- Prune oak trees at the right time
If you need to prune oaks, do not prune between April 15 and July 15. Oak wilt can be spread by sap-feeding beetles, also known as "picnic beetles," carrying spores from an infected tree to a freshly pruned or injured tree. This deadly fungus that can kill previously healthy trees within a matter of weeks. Oak wilt can also be spread when people move infected firewood from one location to another.
- Play, Clean, Go!
Seeds and plant fragments from invasive species can be transported on shoes, clothing and gear. Whether you are hiking, biking or birdwatching, you can help reduce the spread of terrestrial (land-based) invasive species by following these steps.
- Remove plants, seeds and mud from boots, pets, vehicles and gear before leaving a recreation or hunting site.
- Stay on designated trails or access areas.
- If possible, park in non-vegetated areas to avoid carrying seeds on your vehicle to new locations.
- Clean your gear thoroughly before heading to a new site.
- Don’t bring firewood with you, and don’t take firewood home.
- Clean, Drain, Dry
Boaters are encouraged to help reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species between water bodies by following these steps.
- Clean your watercraft, trailer, motor and equipment after it has been submerged in water.
- Drain water from the boat, bilge, motor and livewell by removing the drain plug and opening all water draining devices away from the ramp - not back into the water.
- Dry everything at least 5 days before heading to other waters and landings or spray/rinse recreation equipment prior to heading to your next boating destination. Many boat launches and harbors have courtesy washing stations available at no cost.
- Volunteer Stewardship Workdays
This program engages volunteers with hands-on opportunities in Michigan state parks. You not only get to spend time in Michigan's great outdoors, but you will help restore Michigan's ecosystems, learn about its inhabitants and get to know DNR staff and other volunteers.
- State decontamination policy
The departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality and Agriculture and Rural Development have adopted a policy for decontaminating field gear and equipment to prevent the transfer of invasive species between work sites. This means seeds and plant fragments are removed from shoes, clothing, gear, boats, trailers, etc. This is one way that we work together to prevent, detect and manage invasive species throughout the state.
- DNR considering proposed firewood policy
To help curb the spread of invasive species and protect the current and long-term health of Michigan's trees, the DNR is considering a new firewood policy – one designed to still allow visitors to enjoy campfires, cookouts and other recreation around the fire – in state parks and other DNR-managed lands.
- Hemlock woolly adelgid surveying
Hemlock woolly adelgid was recently discovered in the western Lower Peninsula. This tiny sap-feeding insect is an invasive forest pest that has killed hundreds of thousands of hemlock trees in several other eastern states. Officials are currently conducting surveys to assess the situation, but the presence of HWA and its potential impacts on hemlocks are of major concern. An important way to stop the spread is to leave firewood at home.
- Oak wilt at Belle Isle Park management
In fall 2016, oak wilt was discovered in trees in Belle Isle Park in Detroit. The disease is deadly to trees in the red oak family – oaks with pointed leaves – and can kill a tree in a matter of weeks. The DNR acted quickly to draft a plan to contain and manage the disease in order to protect the historic forest and some of the state’s last remaining Shumard’s oaks.