- Despite warm weather, ice fishing experts provide valuable instruction
Students at a recent Hard Water School, the ice-fishing clinic that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources hosts several times a winter, got a lesson in in one of the basic rules of fishing: Weather trumps all. But extra time in the classroom allowed instructors to explore some additional subjects that would not have otherwise made the agenda.
- DNR salutes AmeriCorps members working in Michigan as natural resource stewards
From Adopt-A-Forest and invasive species and forest health monitoring to classroom visits and renovation of cabins and park facilities, AmeriCorps members make a tremendous positive impact serving with the Department of Natural Resources.
- U.P. CWD Task Force working to inform the hunting public about deadly deer disease
With the potential threat of chronic wasting disease spreading to the Upper Peninsula from across the Wisconsin border, or by other means, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, hunter groups and others are working cooperatively to try to protect the region’s deer population and valuable hunting tradition.
- Native American cultural trail deepens historical perspective on Mackinac Island
With hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, Mackinac Island has long been one of Michigan’s favorite vacation destinations. The island is known for its scenic views – often seen from a bicycle – historic attractions, fudge and horses, but until recently, many visitors did not know about its connection to Native American history and culture.
- Black Lake sturgeon spearing season tradition continues in Cheboygan County
Only at Black Lake in Cheboygan County can sport anglers use spears to harvest a sturgeon. There is a strict quota limiting total angler take and, individually, anglers can harvest only one sturgeon per season. Across Michigan, fishing seasons for lake sturgeon can extend several months, depending on the water body, but the Black Lake season often lasts only a matter of hours. This year’s season, which just recently concluded, was no exception.
- DNR divisions work cooperatively with partners to battle summer storm damage in the western U.P.
There are numerous occasions when Michigan Department of Natural Resources divisions work together to perform a good number of tasks, but this cooperation is often unknown to the general public. Recently, in the Upper Peninsula, an especially great deal of cooperation was in evidence between several DNR divisions, as well as outside entities, called to respond to the impacts of two vicious storm systems that struck the western part of the region over a 10-day period.
- Youth hunt carries tradition forward
For many decades, passing on the skills and knowledge of the hunting tradition from adults to youth has been a meaningful and vitally important part of our heritage in Michigan. Today, the practice continues, often with the help and support of hunters’ groups and the DNR.
- Lured into fishing by the art of decoys
Decoys have long been used by ice fishermen to lure large fish – generally pike, but also sturgeon and others – within range of the spearing hole, though some hook-and-line anglers use them as well. Primarily turned out by home-shop artisans, fish decoys were once manufactured by major bait companies, but the homemade models have become highly collectable, unique examples of American folk art.
- Snowmobilers in the know, know Michigan is where to go
Ask snowmobilers around the country about the best places to ride a sled, and the Great Lakes State is sure to come up in conversation. Michigan is known by snowmobilers nationally for its unique combination of abundant and dependable snow, exciting terrain and an extensive network of nearly 6,500 miles of designated snowmobile trails.
- Experience nature on a lantern-lit, wintertime trail
Several Michigan state parks offer a unique way to experience nature each winter as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources presents lantern-lit snowshoeing and cross-country skiing events.
- The lure of ice fishing strikes many anglers in Michigan
Michigan is a place where anglers can take up their rod and fish year-round with the expectation of having fantastic experiences. Winter is no exception, with thousands of lakes open to ice fishing. Ice fishing attracts thousands of Michigan men and women who brave winter weather to keep on fishing. Many say they actually prefer fishing through the ice to the open-water sport.
- Trust Fund finances important projects, big and small
As 2016 winds down, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources concludes its year-long celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. Since its inception in 1976, the Trust Fund has bankrolled more than 2,000 projects – providing funding to local units of government and the DNR to purchase land and land rights or developing outdoor recreation projects.
- DNR field testing treatments in U.P. for deadly bat disease
White-nose syndrome is a disease that has killed millions of bats in eastern North America already,” said Maartin Vonhof, a professor of biological sciences at Western Michigan University. State, federal and academic biologists have been working hard to try and come up with treatments that will make a difference and save the lives of bats. One research project is taking place in two remote abandoned mines in the western Upper Peninsula.
- DNR continues effort battling invasive grass carp in Lake Erie Basin
A good deal of attention is being paid to the work done by researchers and biologists in the Great Lakes states and Canada to help stop invasive bighead and silver carp from moving through the Chicago Area Waterway System toward Lake Michigan. In addition to this ongoing work in Lake Michigan and its tributaries, Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division staff and researchers are also focused on the problem of grass carp in the Lake Erie Basin.
- Forest Legacy Program looks to the future
We all want to leave some sort of lasting legacy – some kind of mark on the world – something that’s there for the next generation to take, use and carry on with. That idea lies at the core of the Forest Legacy Program, which ensures that private forest land remains forested and open to the public – forever.
- Pure Michigan Hunt provides big thrills for hunters, habitat restoration for Michigan
Some Michigan hunters wait a lifetime to get an elk license, with elk hunters selected from a pool of applicants that is often 100 times greater than the number of available licenses. So it’s no wonder that the Pure Michigan Hunt – a drawing that gives hunters an extra opportunity to win a coveted elk license, as well as a host of other licenses and prizes – is often called “the hunt of a lifetime.”
- Thanksgiving and wild game go together
Though domesticated turkey has assumed the role of main course in the intervening years, wild game is on the menu at many homes during Thanksgiving. Wild game offers challenges for cooks. For the most part, it has less fat than domesticated meat and the fat is located differently in the body. Cooks must refine their techniques to get the most out of wild game. Get some tips from chef Dan Nelson.
- Off-road vehicle riders find fall to be prime time
Seasonal changes over recent weeks produced another breathtakingly beautiful fall color season in Michigan – a fact not lost on the state’s growing number of off-road vehicle riders who find autumn to be fantastic for riding. Though the peak color has passed and leaves are on the ground, some riders have already begun to set their sights on more fall color touring next year.
- 'Michigan Out-of-Doors' TV: A natural partner for the DNR
Some things just go together like bread and butter, fall leaves and football, our state’s world-class natural resources and recreation opportunities and "Michigan Out-of-Doors" television – a premier outdoors show filmed entirely in Michigan, by Michigan hosts and producers.
- Michigan continues to battle chronic wasting disease
The discovery of an eighth free-ranging Michigan white-tailed deer with chronic wasting disease this summer was a disappointment to Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials. However,the overall numbers are still very low, and the DNR is optimistic about having some success in keeping this disease confined to a relatively small geographic area.
- DNR sees southern Michigan success in fall walleye stocking
Fall is harvest time in Michigan, and while most may be thinking of picking apples or plucking pumpkins, DNR fisheries crews are thinking about walleye. Specifically, they’re collecting the last of the walleye fingerlings that are raised in rearing ponds for stocking and getting the fish to where they want them to be.
- Celebrating 100 years of international bird conservation
Piping plover. Peregine falcon. Kirtland’s warbler. These species may not be tip of the tongue for every Michigander, but thanks to a number of conservation efforts – and important legislation marking its centennial anniversary this year – these and other feathered fliers remain a big part of Michigan’s birding landscape.
- Marquette County students participate in forestry field day
About 200 Marquette County schoolchildren recently got a close-up, hands-on look at how consulting foresters operate. From measuring the height of a towering pine, to aging a maple or searching for signs of forestland pests and disease, these kids learned how to see the forest through the trees.
- DNR's urban outdoor recreation efforts touted
Detroit recently hosted the annual convention of National Association of State Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers. Representatives from 38 states – and the territory of Samoa – were treated to a tour of a number of recreational facilities operated by the DNR, or at least partially funded by various DNR grants. To a person, they were impressed.
- Regenerating state forests takes planning, patience
Forest regeneration is the practice of establishing young trees after the previous stand has been removed. It is part of a process that begins with planning and coordinating timber harvests, and is just another part of a DNR forester’s day-to-day job – they’re planning the makeup of the new forest long before a single tree is cut.
- Fall head over heels with Michigan camping and lodging
As the warmth of summer transitions into autumn, many people are gearing up for some cool fall camping to enjoy the colors, hiking, mountain biking, fall fishing or hunting, or just being outdoors with the sights, sounds and smells of autumn. Since residents and visitors are never more than a half-hour away from a Michigan state park or recreation area, state forest rustic campground, state trail or waterway, there are plenty of opportunities to savor Michigan’s great outdoors this fall.
- Dam removal brings new life to Pigeon River
For nearly a century, the Pigeon River in the northeast Lower Peninsula has been a beautiful, blue-ribbon trout stream scarred with a flaw sometimes fatal to fish – a dam situated about 15 miles downstream from the river’s source. Now, after a collaborative effort and litigation involving the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the dam – located near Vanderbilt in Otsego County – has been removed from the landscape, an important accomplishment that has been a long time coming.
- DNR partners with grantees for important habitat improvements on state-managed land
When the Michigan Department of Natural Resources sought approval for a hunting license fee increase a couple years back, it promised hunters they’d get “more bang for the buck” from the additional funding. The DNR is following through by offering grants to conservation groups, other government agencies and interested individuals to implement wildlife habitat improvements in Michigan.
- Warm, dry weather can trigger wildlife diseases
Many of us humans truly enjoy the hot, dry weather of a warm Michigan summer. For some wildlife, however, the prolonged heat and drought-like conditions can spell trouble. Given this summer’s hot and dry weather in many parts of the state, staff at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Lansing has been looking at wildlife diseases affecting deer and waterfowl.
- DNR set to plunge into water trails across Michigan
The Department of Natural Resources is in the process of developing a policy to include water trails – some overseen by other entities and some yet to be developed – into the state’s trail program. Water trails range from segments of inland streams to Michigan’s entire Great Lakes shoreline.
- Off-road vehicle riders see trail numerous network improvements in Lower Peninsula
The northern Lower Peninsula has nearly 3,425 miles of off-road vehicle trails. For decades, the DNR and local trail groups have worked together to establish and strengthen the Lower Peninsula’s ORV trail system. In recent months, more than a dozen projects have been completed or are under way to help restore and maintain trails, bridges, trailheads and other features. This work was funded, in part, by ORV license fees.
- Trust Fund 40th anniversary: The Top 10 List
Michigan’s Natural Resources Trust Fund celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Since its inception in 1976, the Trust Fund has bankrolled more than 2,000 projects buying land and land rights or developing outdoor recreational projects. Read about 10 of the more noteworthy projects.
- Nongame Wildlife Fund helps aid comeback success stories
The Nongame Wildlife Fund is responsible for initiating, developing and implementing critical projects vital to the needs of Michigan's endangered, threatened and nongame animals, plants and their habitats. Since its inception, the fund has raised nearly $24 million in support of critical projects for nongame species, which includes more than 80 percent of Michigan’s wildlife.
- Walker Tavern upgrades help revitalize area visitation
The Walker Tavern was once a bustling stagecoach stop, a hub where travelers rested along the road from Detroit to Chicago in the mid-1800s. Now, more than 150 years later, the Walker Tavern Historic Site is experiencing a revitalization that has the junction hopping once again, thanks in part to recent renovations and enhanced programming. The historic tavern site is located inside Cambridge Junction Historic State Park, at the intersection of U.S. 12 and M-50, about 35 miles west of Ann Arbor, 5 miles south of the village of Brooklyn in Jackson County, Michigan.
- Varied experiences help DNR firefighters continue training
For wildland firefighters, training is a continual endeavor throughout their careers. With typically several large wildfires burning in the western United States each summer, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is often among those agencies called upon to send available firefighters and equipment to help battle those challenging wildland blazes, which often blacken thousands of acres. The chance to work on fires big and small provides opportunities for veteran firefighters to team up with those new to firefighting, to pass on tips and skills, and for those just learning, ...
- DNR and U.S. Forest Service cooperate on 'Good Neighbor Authority'
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has long managed state forests to provide both timber and wildlife habitat. Now, the DNR is working to do the same thing on federally managed lands in Michigan’s three national forests. To do this, the DNR has signed on to a program authorized in the 2014 federal farm bill. The “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.
- ORV riders see new U.P. trail improvements
Michigan’s off-road vehicle riders are seeing numerous new ORV trail developments under way, boosting opportunities to enjoy the state’s more than 3,800-mile trail network. These new routes, trailheads and other improvements have been funded by revenue generated from ORV license fees. A great place to see where some of the generated revenue has been invested is the Upper Peninsula, where over a dozen new trail projects were completed recently, boosting the region’s trail system by a total of 263 miles.
- DNR shooting ranges improve to keep pace with target shooting trends
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources' five staffed shooting ranges – at Dansville (Ingham County), Ortonville (Lapeer County), Pontiac Lake (Oakland County), Rose Lake (Clinton County) and Sharonville (Jackson County) – are evolving to meet the needs of a growing, and changing, group of shooting-sports enthusiasts.
- Volunteers make a world of difference to state's woods, water and wildlife
To accomplish its mission, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been aided greatly by enlisting the invaluable help of volunteers. For many years, the DNR has welcomed volunteers to improve wildlife and fisheries habitat, to monitor rare or unusual species, and to help protect ecosystems at state parks.
- Know the difference: Invasive versus common carp
There’s a lot of talk around the Great Lakes these days about carp, especially invasive or Asian carp. What about common carp, those monsters of Michigan waters anglers love to battle with fly rods? Are these fish one and the same and what’s the big deal about carp anyway?
- DNR teams up with MTU archaeologists to restore and interpret historic range lighthouse site in Keweenaw County
Since the late 1950s, archaeological and restoration work has been performed on the grounds of the Copper Harbor lighthouse in Keweenaw County at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park. Over the past couple of years, new finds and renovations are ongoing on the park’s range lights property, which sits beside Fanny Hooe Creek. These mainland range lights work in concert with the lighthouse on the point to guide vessels to Copper Harbor and then safely into it.
- DNR bass tournament registrations reveal big popularity
Bass tournaments have been going on since folks started bass fishing. It’s grown into a multimillion-dollar industry with national tours featuring anglers decked out like NASCAR drivers fishing out of $80,000 boats on some of the most storied bass-fishing waters in America. But this year, there’s one significant difference to Michigan bass tournaments. The Michigan Natural Resources Commission declared last fall that all bass tournaments were required to pre-register with the DNR and then report results of their tournament to the state.
- Volunteer efforts help keep Michigan the top woodcock banding state
Nearly 100 volunteer woodcock banders explore Michigan woodlots in spring, hoping to find broods of recently hatched woodcock chicks. Michigan is the leader among states with woodcock research programs, banding upwards of 2,000 annually -- more, through this program with volunteers, than anywhere else in the world. Data gathered from the bands helps biologists manage these migratory game birds.
- The DNR's Recreation Passport - The first five years
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Recreation Passport has been providing visitor vehicle access to Michigan state parks since October 2010. Revenue generated by passport purchases is helping improve all of Michigan’s parks and preserve Michigan’s history for future generations.
- DNR wildlife veterinarian retires after nearly four decades of service
After 38 years with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, wildlife veterinarian Steve Schmitt has hung up his lab coat for the last time. Schmitt, 69, who is only the fourth state wildlife veterinarian to have worked for the DNR, retired May 31.
- 'Learn to Hunt' mentor program gives newcomers a boost
There’s an old saw about how you learn new skills – you learn by doing. That’s the focus of the “Learn to Hunt” program, a partnership led by Michigan State University, with assistance from the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Boone and Crockett Club, Pheasants Forever and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
- Fire, jack pine and aspen - understanding a historic relationship
The connection between healthy forests and fire is firmly established, understood by foresters and wildlife managers, and helpful to countless wildlife species. In Michigan forests, there are several tree species that have a long history of dependence on fire, though newer forestry techniques have helped to diminish this need. Aspen and jack pine are two Michigan species that historically relied on fire for survival and regeneration.
- Get SMART about Michigan's urban coyotes
Many suburban and urban Michigan residents have had an encounter with a coyote. Coyotes can be found everywhere – forests, fields, farmlands, backyards, neighborhoods and cities. The DNR offers a few reminders for those who have seen a coyote in their neighborhood.
- Outdoor recreation in the heart of the Motor City
When it comes to good health, Detroit may have just what you need. It’s widely known that outdoor recreation - or just spending time in green spaces - is linked to improved physical, emotional and mental well-being, and the Motor City has an abundance of these healthy, outdoor opportunities available.
- Spring cleaning for streams beneficial to fish habitat
Anglers familiar with Michigan’s rivers in springtime know their steelhead fishing may be inconvenienced by swollen streams, with waters rising up to the top of the riverbanks, making access more difficult. However, Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries personnel say this high water, while causing temporary problems for anglers, actually provides essential benefits to fish habitat.
- Improvements at Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park connect visitors with Native culture
Located in the northwestern corner of Sanilac County, the 240-acre Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park is one of the few sites of its kind in the Great Lakes region. Petroglyphs are carvings on rock, in this case, made by people who lived in the area long before Europeans arrived. The park features an outcropping of Marshall sandstone with more than 100 petroglyphs carved into its surface by Native people.
- Fishhooks and microscopes: New exhibits at Michigan Iron Industry Museum bring history into focus
A tiny, slender fishhook and a microscope so bulky it takes four people to lift it are among the interesting artifacts now on display in new exhibits at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee. The museum, which showcases the Upper Peninsula’s iron ore mining heritage, overlooks the site of the Carp River Forge, a pioneer industrial location listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Know what to grow and where - keeping a spotlight on invasive plants
One of the top priorities for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is raising awareness about invasive species, including plants. As gardening season swings into high-gear, the DNR wants growers to think about invasive species and their potential impacts and connections, especially when it comes to selecting plants for spring gardening.
- Reflections of U.P. trout openers past
Across Michigan, the countdown has slowly been winding down for seven long months. Soon, Michigan’s inland trout season opener will have begun, with a fully anticipated, rapturous 154 days of fishing ahead. We gathered reflections of Upper Peninsula trout openers past from some Michigan Department of Natural Resources staff and a member of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, hoping to help readers tick down the remaining hours.
- Celebrate American Wetlands Month in May
May is American Wetlands Month – a time to appreciate and enjoy these unique watery areas that are home to some of the most biologically diverse plant and animal life. Michigan has countless wetland areas scattered across the state, including seven the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has called "Wetland Wonders."
- Urban, community forests add much to Michigan's scenic and economic landscape
It’s been said the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the second best time is today. Looking at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ long record of forest protection and management on state forest land and in plenty of urban areas, it’s a theory clearly subscribed to by many DNR staff and partners. And for good reason. Whether in public forests, private woodlots or right outside your front door, trees provide us with important ecological, economic and social benefits.
- DNR experts explain the value of forest inventory
Store keepers take inventory. Car dealers take inventory. Fast food restaurant managers take inventory, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources foresters take inventory, too. Each year, DNR foresters survey roughly 400,000 acres of state forest lands to find out what’s there. Over the course of a decade, the state’s entire 4 million acres of state-managed forest land are inventoried.
- DNR wildfire pilots have stressful, rewarding jobs
Experts tell us that stress is a killer. Yet, the small handful of pilots who fly missions for the DNR said they wouldn’t trade their high-pressure occupations for anything. Soaring above the smoke and flames of raging wildfires, searching for wildlife or aiding conservation officers as eyes in the skies, these pilots are a talented breed. And while these aviators do work for a number of DNR divisions, their main job is to look for, report on and guide ground personnel who fight wildfires.
- DNR removal of Schoolcraft County dams rehabilitates stream habitat
With the crisp chill of autumn in the air, they made their way north. Negotiating obstacles along their way, these hearty, determined travelers normally would be stopped at the old dam on Thompson Creek – but not today. For the first time in more than half a century, Chinook salmon were able to reach graveled spawning areas upstream of the dam. This historic event occurred thanks to a recent cooperative project to remove two old dams in Schoolcraft County.
- DNR: Keep Michigan's wildlife wild
Each spring and summer, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is flooded with calls as people across the state run into a common dilemma – they have come across a baby animal and desperately want to help. The vast majority of the time these wild animals do not need our help, and it is better – for both the animals and for humans – to leave wildlife in the wild.
- Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund celebrates 40th anniversary
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary this summer. The fund, bankrolled by royalties paid on the sale and lease of state-owned oil, gas and mineral rights, has quietly generated more than a billion dollars to buy land or land rights, and to develop quality outdoor recreational facilities and opportunities in Michigan.
- DNR teaching teachers, connecting conservation to classrooms
The Department of Natural Resources offers a variety of programs, information and materials to give Michigan teachers the tools to bring conservation into the classroom - ranging from short sessions at teacher conferences to professional development workshops to the weeklong Academy of Natural Resources.
- DNR and partners celebrate completion of skiers warming hut in Marquette County
- DNR Surrogate Sow Program widens options for orphaned bear cubs
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has a program involved in the business of finding mothers for orphans. Not for children, for bear cubs. The DNR’s Surrogate Sow Program fits denned black bear sows with radio collars so they can be found again if their maternal skills are ever needed.
- DNR begins new elk tracking research project in the northern Lower Peninsula
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently used a process called net-gunning to fit 40 elk in the northern Lower Peninsula with GPS collars. Funded jointly by the DNR and Michigan State University, this new tracking project will study the effects of recreation in the core elk range by tracking elk movements over the next three years. This research is designed to look at elk habitat and how elk move in relation to human activities, specifically horseback and mountain bike riding.
- Biologists conducting U.P. wolf survey, DNR supporting efforts to return wolf management to Michigan
Discovering wolf tracks – and then following them for long distances – helps biologists estimate population size and delineate where, and how, wolf packs are spending their time this winter. A new DNR wolf survey began in December. No preliminary results are available yet, but a new minimum population estimate is expected in April. Biologists are surveying wolf populations in some areas and extrapolating that data to estimate the number of wolves across the region.
- Tracking wildlife is a fun, educational winter activity
At this point in the winter, many Michiganders might start feeling a little cooped up. One way to beat cabin fever – and get mind and body active – is to become a nature detective and learn more about the wildlife in your own backyard or neighborhood. While it can be fun year-round, looking for clues to wildlife activity is especially interesting in the winter when animal tracks are easily visible in the snow.
- Stories and Connections: The Lansing State Journal and Norris Ingells collections at the Archives of Michigan
The Department of Natural Resources manages, conserves and protects the state's natural and cultural resources. While DNR divisions like wildlife and fisheries are concerned with species and habitats, the Michigan Historical Center works with the state's most important cultural resource - history.
- DNR Outdoor Skills Academy offers great opportunities for hunters and anglers to learn from the experts
The DNR’s Outdoor Skills Academy, run out of the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center at Mitchell State Park in Cadillac. Instructors include seven seasonal interpreters and seven pros, with the list continuing to grow. Pro staff from fishing gear companies like Fish Bones Custom Lures, Clam Outdoors, Vexilar and HT Enterprises, team up with DNR instructors to present hands-on clinics for newbies and experienced anglers and hunters who want to brush up on their skills.
- DNR and volunteers work to improve snowshoe hare habitat
Sometimes trees make better wildlife habitat when they’re leaning against the ground rather than standing upright. That idea inspired a recent DNR-led volunteer hinge-cutting outing. Hinge cutting is a technique in which trees are cut partially through the trunk so they’ll fall over and their crowns hit the ground while the trunk stays elevated. The crowns provide cover for snowshoe hares – a species that is in decline across Michigan and the intended beneficiary of the DNR’s project.
- School forests provide valuable legacy of learning
Forests can be a lot of things, depending on one’s perspective – even a classroom. The state’s school forest program, which began back in the 1920s, provides outdoors classrooms that offer unique opportunities for teachers and students to learn and find inspiration in nature.
- DNR aids effort to study, help snowy owls
People across Michigan this winter have been reporting an influx of snowy owls from their Arctic tundra home territory. The reason the owls unpredictably travel so far south is not well understood by biologists, but the behavior is linked to food supply, the number of chicks the owls produce in a given year and weather. The DNR’s Wildlife Disease Laboratory is helping researchers with “Project SNOWstorm” determine the potential environmental effects of the owls’ southward journeys.
- What a difference a year makes
With the effects of one of the strongest El Nino weather patterns on record – warmer Pacific Ocean waters producing atmospheric changes in weather thousands of miles away – this winter certainly is different than last. As a result, weather forecasters predict above-average temperatures and drier winter conditions across the northern tier of the country, including Michigan. DNR wildlife biologists have been fielding inquiries about how milder conditions might be affecting wildlife this winter.
- DNR marks progress at halfway point in 10-year Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative
A few years ago, when the Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced it was putting together a coalition to rehabilitate pheasant hunting in Michigan, it assembled an impressive array of partners to address many of the problems that led to the declining fortunes of “ringnecks.” Now, halfway through the 10-year project, those involved in the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative say the program has made significant headway.
- DNR: Michigan's parks and trails offer great places to realize your New Year's fitness goals
While New Year’s fitness resolutions often go by the wayside before the first flip of the calendar page, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources suggests a different approach to exercise that might help people stick with a healthier lifestyle beyond a few weeks – combining exercise with family and friends while they get outside and move. The DNR is encouraging Michigan residents to make 2016 #MiShoeYear and to put on their shoes, skis or skates to start getting fresh air fit.
- Hunter success rate increases as DNR biologists continue to track Michigan's black bear population
For the past 90 years, black bear hunting has been part of the bear management program in Michigan. The DNR manages bears to maintain populations, provide recreational opportunities, including hunting and viewing, and help reduce the potential for problems with bears. The strategic goals of the DNR’s Black Bear Management Plan recognize hunting as a priority component of scientific management that balances bear biology with the desires of the public.
- DNR marks busy 2015 with several successes
Whether teaching a new angler to bait a hook, improving habitat for wildlife, leading a nature hike in the woods, expanding an off-road vehicle trail, or spearheading dozens of other efforts, for the staff at the Michigan Department Natural Resources, 2015 was one of the agency’s busiest and best years. Here is a quick look at some of the year’s biggest challenges and successes.
- Cold weather is the hot time for Great Lakes minnow harvesters
Falling water temperatures can mean a lot of things to those who enjoy the outdoors. Cold water increases interest in steelhead fishing, for instance, and decreases the focus on bass fishing. However, to Jeff Slancik of Bay County, cold water means just one thing: It’s time to catch minnows. Slancik is a bait dealer whose business heats up when the weather cools down. Minnow harvesters are licensed by the Department of Natural Resources. There are about 80 licensed minnow catchers in Michigan, but only a handful of large operators like Slancik.
- Thumb-area Lake Huron commercial fishing experiment may reduce pressure on Saginaw Bay yellow perch
An experimental commercial whitefish venture — operating out of Harbor Beach in Huron County and farther south than similar Lake Huron commercial enterprises — is not only paying dividends for the fisherman involved, it’s designed to benefit Michigan’s sport fishing anglers as well.
- Volunteers help DNR battle invasive species at Belle Isle Park in Detroit
A group of nearly 20 volunteers recently helped the Michigan Department of Natural Resources battle invasive plant species at Belle Isle Park in Detroit. Volunteer stewardship has been part of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division program for about 20 years. Every year, volunteers put in around 10,000 total work days removing invasive plants, collecting wildflower seeds for planting, monitoring natural resource communities and documenting the presence of rare species. Volunteer stewardship events are held at Michigan state parks and recreation areas almost every weekend, ...
- DNR check station staff hunting valuable deer data Most Michigan deer hunters have been in the woods as much as possible during this firearm deer hunting season. However, one group of deer hunters — members of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division — have given up some of their days afield to check other hunters’ deer at check stations around the state. Collecting valuable data about the state’s deer population is something the DNR has been doing for decades.
- Wildlife officials ask for hunters' help in eliminating chronic wasting disease in Michigan
The 2015 Michigan deer season is the first being conducted following a finding of chronic wasting disease in a free-ranging deer in Michigan. The disease was first detected in an Ingham County white-tailed deer this past spring. Wildlife officials are optimistic, however, that CWD can be eliminated in Michigan and are asking for hunters’ assistance. So far, public response has been “overwhelmingly positive,” said Chad Stewart, the Department of Natural Resources deer and elk specialist.
- Michigan Army National Guard unit training exercises benefit local and state multiuse trails in Iron County
As we honor our military veterans, the Department of Natural Resources salutes the efforts of the 1432nd Engineer Company of the Michigan Army National Guard. Over the past several years, the unit — which is based in Kingsford and has a detachment in Iron River — has conducted heavy-equipment training exercises that have improved state and local multi-use trails in Iron County.
- Platte River State Fish Hatchery a big part of state's success with coho salmon
Today, the DNR stocks nearly as many coho – reared at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery near Honor – as Chinook salmon. A decade ago, it was a quarter as many. Chinook salmon populations are down significantly, largely because of stocking cuts necessitated by a diminishing alewife population in Lake Michigan, while the coho population remains strong. It helped fill out the catch this past summer, as there were fewer Chinooks available to anglers.
- DNR, Pheasants Forever introduce more women to the fun and camaraderie of hunting
The annual ladies' pheasant hunt at Pine Hill Kennel and Sportsmen’s Club near Belding, funded by Pheasants Forever, introduces women to bird hunting and the shooting sports. The number of female hunters is on the rise in recent years, which may help reduce the decline in hunting participation as fewer men are taking up the sport than in previous generations.
- Volunteers spruce up aging Michigan treasure
An army of men and women recently went to battle against the effects of time on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. The crew – made up of travel and tourism industry professionals, students, and DNR parks and recreation employees – turned back the clock at Fayette Historic State Park on the Garden Peninsula. Workers helped preserve and stabilize structures that have stood for nearly 150 years on a site that was once one of the Upper Peninsula’s most productive smelting sites.
- New stream-restoration approach may pay dividends in Michigan
A relatively new technique for stabilizing eroding stream banks is showing great promise in Michigan, as a demonstration project on Highbank Creek in Barry County has not only repaired a damaged creek, but has provided excellent fish habitat as well. The technique, called “toe wood,” has been around for about a decade but hasn’t been used much in Michigan until now. The DNR expects toe wood to play a big role in future river restoration and habitat projects.
- DNR participates in mock oil spill exercise
DNR personnel from a handful of divisions were on hand for the recent daylong exercise by Enbridge, Inc., designed to test the capabilities of dealing with an oil spill near the Mackinac Bridge. They were there to observe and learn what the DNR’s immediate roles would be in the event that Enbridge’s twin 62-year-old pipelines just west of the bridge sprung a leak.
- Looking for high-quality hunt opportunities? Check out Michigan's managed waterfowl areas
Michigan’s Wetland Wonders – the DNR’s managed waterfowl areas – offer high-quality goose and duck hunting. Hunters who visit at least three of these managed waterfowl areas during the season are eligible for prizes as part of the DNR’s Wetlands Wonder Challenge, a hunting contest highlighting the exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities available at these locations. For more information on the areas and the challenge, visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.
- Mussel relocation aids dam removal project in mid-Michigan
Removing obsolete, unsafe and unnecessary dams from Michigan’s rivers and streams has been on the DNR’s’ to-do list for a long time. Sometimes, natural resources managers run into hurdles, like with the Lyons Dam on the Grand River in Ionia County. The DNR discovered that a number of mussels appearing on the state’s list of endangered and threatened species – most significantly the snuffbox – living below the dam, so the mussels had to be relocated before dam demolition could begin.
- Lt. Gov. Calley, DNR staff take hands-on approach to volunteer effort at Hoffmaster State Park
Michigan’s state parks have long depended on volunteers to help with stewardship programs. The DNR recently enlisted the aid of a different set of volunteers to go to work on a longstanding problem at many state parks: fixing deteriorating infrastructure. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley issued a challenge to DNR employees to join him and some of his staff for a work day to refurbish the stairs and walkways that allow visitor access to the magnificent dunes at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon.
- Michigan's Canada goose success story
It’s no secret that Michigan offers some of the best Canada goose hunting anywhere in the world, but it wasn’t always that way. Michigan’s resident Canada goose population – which produces the lion’s share of the annual harvest – was virtually nonexistent a century ago and not especially noteworthy five decades later. Michigan's goose restoration program has been exceptionally successful.
- 2015 hunting preview II - big game and furbearer seasons
Prospects for the 2015 big-game hunting and furbearer hunting seasons are very good, say Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists. Michigan offers a diversity of species and a wide variety of seasons to maximize recreational opportunity. Here's a quick overview of some of the upcoming seasons.
- 2015 hunting preview I - small game seasons
Small game hunting season begins Sept. 1 with the opening of the early Canada goose season and teal seasons and continues until rabbit and hare season ends March 31. Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists across the state say hunters should find conditions similar to last year. Hunters are reminded that due to changes in licensing, all licensed hunters may pursue small game.
- Bowfishing - combining two pastimes into one sport
A growing number of sportsmen and women like to combine hunting and fishing, using bows and arrows to take a wide variety of fish, including many that are generally not targeted by hook-and-line anglers. Of the five state records that have been set so far this year, three of them – a blackmouth buffalo and two quillback carpsuckers – were taken bowfishing. In the last two years, six state standards have been set by bowfishermen.
- Academy of Natural Resources teaches teachers how to bring
Michigan's woods, water and wildlife into the classroom
For the last eight years, the Academy of Natural Resources – the Department of Natural Resources’ conservation education program for educators – has been bringing teachers to the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center at Higgins Lake for a crash course on natural resources. The program is designed to help teachers incorporate the concepts of resource management into their lessons.
- Outdoor Adventure Center open for business - and fun - in Detroit
Almost 10 years since its initial vision and after more than five years of construction, the Department of Natural Resources’ Outdoor Adventure Center in downtown Detroit is open for visitors. Located in the historic Globe building, the Outdoor Adventure Center is a combination education and recreation facility, built with a goal of bringing “up north” to downtown. But the facility also highlights how important Detroit is to Michigan and its natural resources.
- DNR, Sea Grant team up to highlight Lake St. Clair's fishery on Discovery cruise
DNR fisheries biologists entertain and educate audiences about about the fishery in Lake St. Clair as part of Michigan Sea Grant's Discovery cruises. Sea Grant, which is a federally funded cooperative effort between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, hosts some 20 different themed cruises on Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and the Detroit River. The fisheries cruise and a similar wetlands and wildlife cruise, conducted with the DNR Wildlife Division, are among the most popular.
- Youngsters learn the basics of archaeology at Dig Camp
Kids dig digging. So the Michigan Historical Museum gave a number of them the opportunity to spend a week hanging out with professional diggers. No, not heavy equipment operators or agricultural workers. Archaeologists. The museum, located in downtown Lansing, put on a pair of "Dig Camps" this summer - weeklong plunges into the world of archaeology, where youngsters learned about what archaeologists do, and don't do.
- DNR creel clerks collect angler data to aid in fisheries management Department of Natural Resources fisheries managers depend on data when deciding where to stock fish and when setting fishing regulations. Over the years, they've found that one of the best sources of fisheries data is the anglers themselves. Since 1985, the DNR has conducted a regular creel census at many of the state's most popular fishing locations, finding out what anglers are doing.
- Explorer Guides educate and entertain at Michigan state parks
Explorer Guide, one of an army of Department of Natural Resources employees who educate and entertain visitors at 43 state parks in Michigan. Always popular with state park visitors, the Explorer programs are increasingly being regularly attended by local residents as well.
- Scared of snakes? No need to be This spring, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources put out the call for people to report the herptiles - reptiles and amphibians - that they observe across the state. The request is part of an atlas project, designed to monitor the presence and distribution of "herps" across the state. Michigan is home to 18 species of snakes. None of them - except for the rattlesnake - is harmful to people.
- DNR works hard on containment and eradication of chronic wasting disease
Since the discovery in May of a free-ranging deer infected with chronic wasting disease in Ingham County, Michigan, the state's Department of Natural Resources has been hard at work sampling deer from the immediate area for additional signs of the disease and putting into effect emergency precautions to prevent as much as possible spread of the disease.
- Scouting groups help inaugurate the Iron Belle Trail
Michigan's Iron Belle Trail currently is under development, crossing the state twice, with a hiking route and a bicycling route. The trail stretches from Belle Isle Park on the Detroit River in southeast Michigan to Ironwood on the Wisconsin border in the Upper Peninsula. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in Michigan recently took part in hikes across much of the hiking route, kicking off a summer of events along the Iron Belle, celebrating the collaboration and progress being made on the trail.
- Great Lakes muskie-rearing program has been decades in the making The Department of Natural Resources' conversion from northern muskellunge to Great Lakes muskies for its stocking program is going swimmingly now, but it took a long time to get here. Switching from the northern strain - native to only the westernmost tip of the Upper Peninsula - to the more widespread, native Great Lakes strain has been on the DNR's wish list for decades. It's finally happening.
- Travel and tourism pros help renovate Sturgeon Point Lighthouse A unique partnership between the Department of Natural Resources, Grand Valley State University and members of the Michigan travel and tourism industry (a group called Michigan Cares for Tourism) is paying big dividends for Michigan by refurbishing state resources and upgrading the kinds of attractions that help sustain the industry - an industry that generates $22 billion a year for Michigan's economy.
- Kids, sportsmen help DNR improve Drummond Island grouse habitat A recent work day at a DNR recreation site on Drummond Island had it all: local sportsmen, statewide conservation clubs, public employees, citizen volunteers. And kids. Thirty-five of them. The event was a tree- and shrub-planting day at the state Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS). It brought together groups with varying purposes to fulfill one mission: improve the habitat for ruffed grouse and other species on the northern Lake Huron island.
- Master Angler program evolves over time, continues celebration of prized Michigan catches The DNR's popular Master Angler program, which recognizes those who catch fish that exceed certain minimum standards, has undergone a major change for 2015. In a move to simplify the program, the DNR no longer will require weights for Master Angler consideration, even if the fish are kept. Weights, however, still will be used to determine state-record fish. In 2014, state records were set for black buffalo, brown bullhead, flathead catfish, quillback and white perch.
- Forensic training for conservation officers paying dividends DNR conservation officer recruits are receiving crime scene investigation and evidence collection training from David Stephens, executive in residence for Forensic Wildlife and Environmental Outreach at the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Stephens is regarded as a leader in the field of wildlife forensic science, and the DNR has a partnership with Stephens and MSU to develop online training courses for conservation officers in forensics.
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