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Reflections on 2018

The DNR, with the help of many partners, has made great strides in 2018 in its ongoing efforts to take care of the state’s natural and cultural resources and provide outstanding outdoor recreation opportunities.

Seeking some outdoors relief from the holiday rush

Often, when things get too loud, hard to understand or cluttered, the sights, sounds and feel of the natural world have a way of talking softly, bringing comfort and helping to sort things through to find quiet moments of recharge and resolve.

Continuing the fight against chronic wasting disease

Chronic wasting disease affects the nervous system in animals from the family Cervidae, including deer, moose and elk. The disease attacks the brain of infected animals and is always fatal. The first free-ranging deer diagnosed with CWD was found in Ingham County in 2015.

A celebrating tradition

The first official state tree went up in 1987, after then-governor James Blanchard visited New York City and liked the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Michigan was celebrating its 150th birthday, and the tree seemed like a festive addition to round out a year of celebrating.

Hunting for the experience

You are one with nature, listening to the birds chirp and the squirrels and chipmunks chatter, all the while hoping to get a look at the elusive majestic buck. Pure peace, yet every rustle, every snap, increases your awareness and anticipation.

Thanksgiving turkey recipes, tips from the DNR

What’s Thanksgiving dinner without a juicy turkey on the table? From the Michigan Department of Natural Resources family to yours, we’d like to offer some recipes and tips for making the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

Digging into severed mineral rights

Landowners are sometimes surprised to find someone else owns rights to minerals beneath the surface of their land, and a mineral owner has the right to extract minerals. Mineral rights owned by someone other than the surface owner are rights said to be 'severed.'

Deciphering 'sustainability'

"Healthy forests bring immense benefits to the people of Michigan," said Deb Begalle, state forester and chief of the DNR's Forest Resources Division. "Forests help give us clean air and water and provide us with places to hunt, fish, bike or relax."

DNR continues CWD surveillance and information efforts in Upper Peninsula

The DNR has enhanced its CWD surveillance measures and information efforts to help raise awareness about what the presence of the fatal nervous system disease means for hunters and others in the U.P., and to answer important questions posed by the public.

Saving Michigan's bats

"The DNR has been on the leading edge of bat conservation and research for a long time," Bill Scullon, Wildlife Division field operations supervisor, said. "Working with partners and researchers is as critical as ever in the battle to save our bat species from white-nose syndrome."

The aging process: How and why deer are aged at DNR check stations

Each fall, successful hunters take their deer to be registered at Michigan DNR check stations across the state. Many watch carefully as DNR wildlife technicians and biologists age deer based on the animal's teeth.

The Isle Royale experience: wolf translocation

Team members of many stripes were working together to release two wolves on the island. The wolves had been trapped in Minnesota and were flown to this grand island in a fiery orange float plane, which was heard well before being seen in the blue skies over the treetops.

Taking a shot at shooting sports leads to fun new experience

Shooting sports are meant for everyone – including beginners of all skill levels. Everyone has to start somewhere, and with DNR-managed shooting ranges sprinkled throughout Michigan, many employees stand ready to answer questions and help newbies trying to get involved.

Efforts continue to reintroduce Arctic grayling in Michigan

Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative – with more than 45 partners, including state and tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses and universities – is committed to reintroducing this culturally significant species, with steady progress made since June 2016.

Volunteers prove Michigan Cares for Tourism at Fort Wilkins

The Michigan Cares for Tourism program was started in 2012, partnering with the DNR and others to form an all-volunteer workforce that donates time, resources and effort to help restore Michigan's historic attractions.

Coordinated effort aiding Houghton County storm recovery effort

The state’s coordinated ongoing rebuilding and restoration efforts are producing positive results in the wake of a 1,000-year flood that ravaged Houghton County in June, 2018.  

Exploring 'States of Incarceration' at the Michigan History Museum

From Sept. 8, 2018, through May 19, 2019, the Michigan History Center, a division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is hosting a national traveling exhibition called States of Incarceration at the Michigan History Museum in Lansing.

Showcasing the DNR: Getting wild in the classroom

With another school year beginning, some people may not know the Michigan Department of Natural Resources provides numerous opportunities to help teachers make valuable connections between the state’s natural and cultural resources and students of all ages.

Showcasing the DNR: World's first freshwater test site for 'smart ships' launched in Lake Superior

The new Marine Autonomy Research Site (MARS) will serve as the world’s first freshwater location for testing unmanned (autonomous) surface and underwater vessels for operation in Great Lakes and U.S. coastal waters.

Working together to save Michigan's valuable hemlock trees

Though not a standout, hemlock is an important part of the mesic northern forest, providing shelter for deer and nesting birds, and keeping forest streams cool and clean. Now, the state’s hemlock resource is threatened by a tiny invasive insect – the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Showcasing the DNR: Electrofishing for answers

Electrofishing in Michigan got its start during the summer of 1942. Today, the concept is still the same, although the equipment has come a long way, and is a critical tool for fisheries managers. 

The power of place

Michigan has 138 state forest campgrounds, most all associated with a body of water, some found along state pathways. These rustic campgrounds are found throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula.

DNR's incident management teams are ready to respond

The DNR Forest Resources Division supports four incident management teams, two each in the Upper and Lower peninsulas. While their primary job is coordinating response to large fires, the teams’ training also prepares them to assist in just about any other catastrophe.

Take a trip to a Michigan Turkey Tract

Turkey Tracts are demonstration areas, complete with trails, designed to show newcomers to turkey hunting – or other wild turkey aficionados – exactly what prime turkey habitat looks like.

State park visitors in good hands should emergencies arise

As attendance at Michigan’s 103 state parks increases, the DNR estimates there is a corresponding rise in the number of medical emergencies and search and rescue operations.

Living history - the Future Historians program

Each summer, at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper Harbor, the history of the 19th-century fort comes alive. For nearly three decades, students in grades 4-12 have dressed in historic costumes to play the roles of real people who lived at the fort during the 1870s.

Plan a destination wedding at Michigan's Upper Peninsula state parks

You don't have to travel to the Caribbean or Mexico for a beach wedding. And no need to fly to Hawaii for a stunning waterfall in your wedding photos. Many idyllic wedding locales can be found in Michigan state parks, harbors, state forests and trails.

Boating Michigan's 'Water Wonderland'

In Michigan – a state with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, more than 11,000 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of rivers and streams – you are never farther than 6 miles from a body of water or 85 miles from a Great Lake. 

Paws in the Parks
As travel trends change, one thing has not changed – love for family pets and including them in daily activities and even vacations. Whether lounging by a campfire, running along a beach, or hiking a secluded trail, your pets will love that you brought them with you.
Banking on Wetlands

May is American Wetlands Month, when organizations around the country celebrate the importance of wetlands to our water resources, wildlife and way of living.

Caution can help prevent human-caused wildfires

Almost all wildfires in Michigan start by accident. The wind picks up and a brush fire gets away or a campfire smolders and comes back to life. It’s especially important to use caution in the spring.  March, April, May and June are Michigan’s busiest months for wildfires. 

Revitalizing Michigan's lake sturgeon populations

Lake sturgeon are evolutionary ancients that have lived in the Great Lakes almost forever. The ultimate goal in a multi-agency collaborative effort is to restore lake sturgeon so they can be removed from the threatened species list and develop recreational fishing opportunities.

Spring bird migration brings big excitement to Michigan

The return of Michigan’s migratory birds from their southern wintering grounds is cause for celebration, and many celebrate by heading to the fields, forests and wetlands to view these colorful harbingers of spring.

Bringing it all back home, from field to table

We could fish again together, walk those old dirt roads, talk about the good times way back when or just sit on the front porch of the cabin, watching the sun go down over the trees, waiting for the stars to come up. Want to take someone special fishing? Get more information on fishing in Michigan, including seasons, tactics, fish identification and more, at

Hunting Michigan morels with Mi-HUNT

When looking for morel mushrooms, an interactive map application maintained by the Michigan Department of Resources called Mi-HUNT is a mapping tool that delivers a wealth of information right to your computer or mobile device. You can target morel mushrooms at Mi-MOREL.

How the Au Sable River changed the world

The Au Sable River, running through the northern Lower Peninsula, is significant for much more than its outstanding trout fishing. The Michigan History Museum in Lansing is showcasing Trout Unlimited’s founding on the Au Sable in a special exhibition.

Michigan's Coastal Management Program celebrates 40 years with 'Year of the Coast'

Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas are surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes – Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie. These freshwater lakes are so vast they’re nicknamed “the Sweetwater Seas,” and they form the world’s longest freshwater coastline.

A day in the life of Michigan conservation officers

DNR conservation officers have a wide range of duties including observing and checking hunters and anglers, enforcing snowmobiling, off-road vehicle and watercraft regulations as well as laws that protect the environment, and educating Michigan residents about outdoor recreation safety.

Restoring and protecting Belle Isle's valuable forestry heritage

Efforts are underway to protect and restore Belle Isle's rare forest ecosystem - challenged by invasive insect pests, disease, and things such as roads and culverts that changed water flow through the woods - and its historic sawmill. 

State park rangers wear many hats

The DNR's 325 park rangers all wear many hats, from law enforcement to customer service to maintenance and operations. On any given day, they might be a repairman, educator, information specialist and a cop. It’s no wonder they all say they love their jobs.


Winter into spring remembrances and connection

Fortunately for me, my parents understood the value of forming a connection with the natural world outside and wanted to pass that experience, wonder and amazement down to their four children. I was also fortunate to grow up in Michigan, where natural resources abound.

Technology enhances DNR's ability to gather, share information about Michigan's natural resources

Technology is defined as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. From that perspective, the DNR has always been a high-tech agency. But as technology advances, the DNR continues to adopt new concepts and techniques as it carries out its task of managing the state's natural resources.

Figuring out the DNR's budget

Many Michigan taxpayers may not know that only 14 percent of the DNR's current budget is financed by state taxes. The DNR's bills are paid from some 60 different funds, all of which have various revenue streams, but many of which are made up of user fees paid by those who hunt, boat, fish, snowmobile, camp, harvest timber, ride off-road vehicles or otherwise take part in natural resources-based activities.

Celebrating Michigan's forest conservation roots

Soon after taking office, President Franklin D.Roosevelt wanted to move quickly to try to restore the nation's economy and the spirit of the country, both of which had been crushed by the Great Depression. He also sought to rejuvenate America's natural resources. Legislation creating the Civilian Conservation Corps was approved by Congress in just four days. Roosevelt signed the bill March 31, and by July 1, the CCC initiative had put 274,375 young men, aged 17 to 25, to work in more than 1,300 camps across the nation, improving state and national forests.

Don't hibernate, recreate - winter fun at Michigan state parks

Whether your interest lies in camping, fishing, snowshoeing or photography, Michigan State Parks have you covered during the winter. Bundle up and get some fresh, clean wintertime air - the mosquitoes will be out before you know it.

Michigan's groundhog prepares for perennial prognostication

A sizeable crowd gathers in the courtyard at the Howell Conference and Nature Center located northwest of Detroit in Livingston County, waiting for Michigan's official groundhog to waddle out of her house and predict whether there would be six more weeks of winter. Groundhog predictions don't take long. Woody's are usually completed within a couple minutes.

Wildlife Action Plan helps state make big strides in conservation

The Michigan Wildlife Action Plan is a 10-year strategy that lays out how the state and its partners and volunteers can voluntarily and cooperatively work together toward shared wildlife conservation goals. Michigan administers roughly $1.2 million in U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funding annually.

Celebrating 100 years of wild Michigan elk

Michigan's native herd of elk - massive animals standing 4 to 5 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing more than 600 pounds - had disappeared from the state by about 1875. This year marks the centennial of elk restoration efforts in Michigan, which represents the contributions of many, led by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

DNR and MI-TRALE teaming up for trail work

With nearly 600 miles of all-terrain vehicle, off-road vehicle, multi-use or equestrian trails in the western Upper Peninsula, MI-TRALE works to advance safe and responsible use of multi-use trails by working toward development, designation and interconnection of these trails in the western U.P.

DNR is anticipating a year ahead of exciting developments

Here's a snapshot of some of the DNR's planned efforts to manage and protect Michigan's world-class natural resources and improve outdoor recreation opportunities in 2018. This glimpse at what's on the horizon for 2018 only scratches the surface of the breadth and volume of work the DNR will undertake in the coming year.