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Topics range from fishing and hunting to history and outdoor recreation. This is a weekly feature story sent on Thursday.
Hundreds of sturgeon anglers gather at Black Lake for time-honored tradition
10 cool things the DNR did this past year
Before 2019 fades completely, we wanted to take one more glance back as we move forward at accomplishments over the past year. With numerous notable achievements to consider, we’ve narrowed the list down to 10 cool things the DNR was involved with over the past year.
A biscuits and gravy mornin'
Bagging the hunting limit before sunrise is a rare accomplishment--followed by an even rarer treat.
Aboard the DNR's Survey Vessel Steelhead
The Survey Vessel Steelhead set forth from Charlevoix for its first year of fisheries surveys on the lakes in 1968. Since construction of the survey boat, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has gone on to commission vessels at each of its Great Lakes research stations.
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.
A century of commitment to Michigan's natural resources
On March 30, 1921, the Michigan Department of Conservation – precursor to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – was created. Throughout 2021, and especially in March, the DNR is commemorating and celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the department.
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.
A little ride back - peeking at our past
Mackinac Island offers a glimpse into a bygone era where the rumble of car engines is absent and horses are a main mode of transportation.
Anglers help protect Michigan's waters from invasive mudsnails
New Zealand mudsnails have been found in five rivers in Michigan - and anglers can help stop the spread.
A photography moment, outside the door, at the side of the road
In the bucolic countryside, a sign of spring inspires wonder, thought and a moment of respite from the speed of modern life.
Arctic grayling transferred to Marquette State Fish Hatchery in Marquette County
In 2016, a proposed initiative intended to reintroduce Arctic grayling to select Michigan streams was announced. After many milestones, the first year-class of Arctic grayling now resides at the Marquette State Fish Hatchery.
A tale of two fires: DNR firefighters detail differences in Black River Falls area blazes in Marquette County
Michigan Department of Natural Resources fire officials said some important distinctions played a role in the very different behaviors and outcomes of two fires burning in a jack pine barren — years apart, but geographically close to each other — in Marquette County.
Auto industry drives state parks development
The burgeoning automobile industry drove development of Michigan’s state park system in the first half of the 20th century.
A view from above: DNR explores drone technology
The DNR Forest Resources Division's drone program has been expanding since it started with just three vehicles in 2016. The DNR crew now includes seven licensed pilots and 10 drones of different sizes and capabilities. The team has explored using drones to assess forest health, look for various types of wildlife and get photos and video that show off Michigan’s glorious landscapes
A visit to Michigan's most remote state park
Exploring the rugged, peaceful beauty and fascinating history of Craig Lake State Park in Baraga County.
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.
Battling oak wilt disease
Oak trees face a threat from a disease known as oak wilt, caused by a fungus with microscopic spores that can infect and kill a red oak within weeks. Some simple actions can help keep healthy trees from being infected.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman
Becoming an Outdoors Woman is a 3-day workshop meant to teach adult women new skills in the outdoors--but it's much more than that. It's a transformative experience, a supportive place for women to step outside their comfort zones and into the natural beauty of the outdoors.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman celebrates 20 years in Upper Michigan
Each year, women from across the Upper Great Lakes region and elsewhere gather at the Bay Cliff Health Camp in Marquette County for a summer weekend BOW program in June and a winter program in February. Volunteer instructors offer classes on a range of activities such as shooting firearms, fishing, cross-country skiing, paddle boarding, winter camping, kayaking and archery.
Behind the DNR's firefighting front lines
The DNR fire team does more than just fight fires - they lend some of their much-needed talents to protecting property and Michigan's natural resources and saving the lives of both people and wildlife.
Behind the scenes at 'Ask the DNR'
Every Thursday night, residents have the chance to interact with the DNR from the comfort of their own homes during “Ask the DNR.” For 60 minutes, DNR wildlife and fisheries biologists, conservation officers, trails specialists and others answer questions from viewers on the air.
Behind the scenes of the 'Wildtalk' podcast
The Wildtalk Podcast is a unique project within the DNR's Wildlife Division--it covers the division's current work and gives listeners a snapshot of wildlife conservation efforts happening throughout the state. New “Wildtalk” episodes are released the first day of each month and cover an array of wildlife- and habitat-related topics.
Between the pages, a history lies: Porcupine Mountains logbooks offer glimpse into personal park experiences
Within the pages of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park's collection of cabin logbooks – from 23 cabins and yurts across the span of 76 years – is the history of the park, written by the people who took the time to enjoy it.
Birding trails developing across Michigan
With the growing popularity of birdwatching – more than 45 million Americans enjoy the pastime – birding trails are developing around the state.
Black bears and humans: What you should know
For many people, the opportunity to see a Michigan black bear in the wild is an amazing experience. Everyone who lives and enjoys the outdoors in bear country shares the responsibility of not doing things that will intentionally or unintentionally attract bears and create the potential for bear problems. The best way to avoid issues with black bears is to never feed them.
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.
Bovine tuberculosis - a disease still worth fighting
After more than two decades of study and testing white-tailed deer for bovine tuberculosis, Michigan has become world-renowned for its research and expertise on managing this serious contagious disease. Over this time, DNR wildlife managers have learned a great deal, including that continued assistance from hunters and others remains vitally necessary to make significant gains in battling bovine tuberculosis into the future.
Bringing history to life - costumed role playing at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
This summer the Michigan History Center will enter its 41st season of a unique program in historic site interpretation at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, at Copper Harbor, in Keweenaw County.
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 www.mi.gov/fishing.
Bringing nature and history home for Michigan kids
With Michigan schools closed for the remainder of this school year, and educational recreation venues shut down to help slow the spread of coronavirus, many parents and caregivers are looking for more at-home learning resources. Seeking to fill this gap for educational materials, Michigan Department of Natural Resources educators set out to provide such resources.
Calling all Michiganologists
Many residents and visitors to our state may not know that Michiganology is a website, a product line and the study of all things Michigan. This fall, the archives launched Michiganology.org, a new website that makes more than 10 million records available online, free of charge. This is an incredible resource for people who are researching their family history, Michigan's history and the history of the Department of Natural Resources.
Call it North Country, the backbone of Michigan's Iron Belle Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail, or North Country Trail for short, is the longest trail in the National Trail System, stretching more than 4,600 miles between North Dakota and New York. With 1,150 miles, Michigan hosts more miles of the North Country Trail than any of the other seven states the trail traverses and connects some of our most scenic and beloved destinations.
Cars, support for state parks and the Recreation Passport
Automobiles were a driving force behind the initial success of Michigan's state parks, and today support our expanded park system through the Recreation Passport.
Catch a falling star at Michigan state parks
Numerous Michigan state parks will host "Meteors & S'mores," Perseid meteor shower viewing parties, on Aug. 11-12. And if you're looking for a place to explore the night sky on your own, many state parks make great stargazing locations.
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.
Celebrating 100 years of Michigan state parks
On May 12, 1919, the Michigan Legislature established the Michigan State Park Commission to oversee, acquire and maintain public lands for state parks. To commemorate this historic milestone, the DNR will celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Michigan state parks throughout 2019.
Celebrating 100 years of the Pigeon River Country
Pigeon River Country, celebrating its centennial this year, remains an extraordinary outdoor treasure thanks to the passion, work and stewardship decisions made by many people over the decades.
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.
Celebrating a big birthday for Michigan's largest state park
In the early 1940s, an intact hemlock-hardwood stands in the western Upper Peninsula was in trouble of being cut down; but thanks to the conservation-minded individuals with a plan, it would late become Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan's largest state park.
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.
Celebrating the power of public lands
Taking care of Michigan's public land thoughtfully and carefully in many ways drives the quality of life we all value. When our lands are well managed, Michiganders see the benefits - healthier families and environment and a stronger economy.
Charting a course for recovery - the Kirtland's warbler in Michigan
The ingenuity, tenacity and dedication of scientists, conservationists and ordinary citizens helped save one of Michigan's most unique species - the Kirtland's warbler.
Citizen scientists help DNR track osprey populations in Michigan
Ospreys are magnificent fish-hunting birds with striking brown and white plumage. These large birds are often seen along shallow fish-filled waters of Michigan, including rivers, lakes, reservoirs and marshes. But that wasn't always the case.
Climb aboard as the DNR surveys lake sturgeon
The DNR has been monitoring sturgeon populations on the St. Clair River for the last 25 years with a technique that is as old as fishing itself. DNR crews use set lines that are anchored to the bottom of the river channel and sport numerous hooks to catch and tag the mysterious prehistoric fish.
Collecting Michigan's coronavirus story
The COVID-19 crisis is an extraordinary, unprecedented time in our state’s history, but not the first time Michigan has faced a major pandemic. To understand how to handle today's public health emergency, we must look to the past.
Coming to a state park this winter? Come prepared
Even mildly cold environments can lead to hypothermia. Symptoms of exposure can be avoided by wearing proper clothing and layering. Get some tips on preparing for outdoor winter activities.
Conservation officers helping curb the risk of wildlife disease
People might not think immediately of Michigan's conservation officers as being on the front lines in the fight against wildlife diseases, but they are vitally important in helping to control disease threats, including bovine tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease.
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.
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.
Cultural resources are an integral part of the DNR
The DNR manages more than herds of elk and stands of pine - we protect Michigan's cultural resources, too.
December grouse season offers chance to expand hunting horizons
The December ruffed grouse season, Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, offers an entirely different hunting experience for deer hunters who just can't stay still, are always second-guessing the blind they chose or just want to get a few more miles out of their base license. The late grouse season offers deer hunters a great opportunity to extend their time in the field, take on a new outdoor challenge and add another variety of game meat to their table fare.
"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."
Deer hunting for the young at heart
There are some pastimes that folks age out of. When was the last time you saw someone much past grammar school shooting marbles or playing jacks? And there are other pastimes that are lifelong activities, like deer hunting.
Deer movement studies provide insight into CWD spread, management
Deer movement is key to the spread of chronic wasting disease. To better understand how this disease may be disseminated by deer, the DNR has been conducting deer movement studies in CWD-affected areas in the Upper and Lower peninsulas.
Developing the Tahquamenon Falls
Once one of the Upper Peninsula's best-kept secrets, Tahquamenon Falls is now part of Michigan's second-largest state park. Its history is expansive and varied, and it was a long journey from its initial use by Native Americans to its creation as Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
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.'
Director, divisions set department priorities for 2019
Recently, DNR Director Dan Eichinger and the chiefs of each DNR division laid out their priorities for 2019.
Discovering the joy of Michigan's mountain bike trails
Michigan's nonmotorized trails system has more than 3,000 miles dedicated to paved, gravel and off-road single-track trails for bicyclists to enjoy 365 days a year.
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-club-volunteer partnerships vital to U.P trail development
What location is to real estate, partnerships, cooperation and volunteerism are to development and maintenance of Michigan's nearly 13,000 miles of designated trails. These three vital factors were all involved in a recent trail development triumph celebrated in the Upper Peninsula - completion of the roughly 25-mile Hermansville to Escanaba multi-use trail. This latest trail development success is only one project among many taking place in the Upper Peninsula, and elsewhere in Michigan.
DNR conservation officers respond to numerous calls for help during stormy, cold, wintry weather
DNR conservation officers were working under extreme conditions over eight days of intense winter weather, which ranged from wind chills approaching 40 degrees below zero to blizzard conditions that forced the closure of a section of more than one of the Upper Peninsula’s major highways.
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.
DNR Hunting Access Program celebrates 40 years
Michigan is home to one of the nation's oldest private-public partnership programs, offering financial incentives to private landowners who allow public access to their properties for hunting. The DNR's Hunting Access Program has developed over the past 40 years, initially in the southern part of the state, recently expanding northward.
DNR incident management team responds to coronavirus
When it comes to fighting wildland fires, members of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ incident management teams are accomplished pros. Now they're in uncharted territory, recruited to help manage operations at the TCF Regional Care Center.
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.
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.
DNR web tool helps make hunting more productive
The Mi-HUNT tool is great for many types of outdoor recreation. With just a couple clicks of a computer mouse, the interactive map application maintained by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources makes a great deal of valuable information, including topographic maps and aerial photographs, available for hunters, anglers, trail-users and others.
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.
Drawing attention to the DNR centennial
With 2021 marking the 100th anniversary of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the DNR Wildlife Division wanted to do something special to celebrate the milestone by honoring our roots with illustrated covers to our hunting digests.
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.
Egg collection on the Little Manistee River
Have you ever wondered where those salmon and trout the Michigan Department of Natural Resources stocks in the Great Lakes and tributaries come from? The Little Manistee River Weir and Egg Collection Facility is the place where this story starts.
Eichinger draws on deep outdoor tradition in new role as DNR director
Michigan DNR's 21st director and the youngest ever to hold the post, Dan Eichinger grew up hunting and fishing, and his lineage is steeped in natural resources conservation advocacy and appreciation.
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.
Equestrian trails a big part of Michigan's outdoor recreation scene
Michigan is home to quality horseback-riding opportunities in many regions of the state, and autumn is an excellent time to get out and enjoy them. The state boasts more than a thousand miles of state-designated trails open to equestrian riders and 20-plus equestrian-friendly campgrounds located in many Michigan state parks and on state forestland.
Everyone can get outdoors to beat the winter blues
This year, with the need to avoid social gatherings and many indoor activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, winter may seem bluer than ever.Fortunately, Michigan offers ample antidotes to the winter blues in the form of outdoor recreation opportunities, with a variety of options for those of all abilities.
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.
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.
Find your story with upcoming family history seminar
The Barbara J. Brown Family History Seminar, taking place virtually July 9-10 this year, promotes family history awareness and teaches genealogy research skills.
Firefighters return to Michigan after assisting with historic western wildfire season
This year, DNR individuals and teams have taken seven fire engines west, worked on direct fire lines and served various leadership positions on fire management teams in California, Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Utah and Wyoming.
Fish habitat improved with dam removal project on Dowagiac River in Berrien County
In the southwest corner of Michigan, the Dowagiac River, one of the largest cold-water streams in the region, flows into the mighty St. Joseph River, near the City of Niles. Annual stocking by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources there supports a popular brown trout fishery.
From conservation officers to private citizens, protecting natural resources is everybody's business
It’s the responsibility of a conservation officer to protect and to preserve Michigan's natural resources for future generations. The public can help by reporting suspected poaching.
From grizzlies to grouse, tracking the steps of a DNR wildlife conservation pioneer
The DNR celebrates its centennial this year, and Stewart - who recently retired - was there for half of that 100 years. He shared some reflections on the department's story and his role in it.
From tiny houses and safari tents to geodesic domes - growing lodging options for state park visitors
It used to be that staying overnight in a state park meant pitching a tent or hauling an RV. Visitors can still do that, but, as travelers' needs and preferences have changed, so have the options available at Michigan's state parks.
Get outside and celebrate the glory of Michigan's fall color
There is only one thing to do as Michigan’s air grows crisp, temperatures fall and trees turn from green to glorious shades of yellow, orange and red: revel in it.
Getting into green spaces
People who enjoy the outdoors know that being out in green spaces can be beneficial in a plethora of ways. A growing body of research on human health and happiness is confirming how good it is for us to connect with nature. Luckily, there are plently of places in Michigan where people can get into green spaces.
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.
Giving lake sturgeon a lift
Capturing and transferring adult lake sturgeon around the Menominee and Park Mill dams in the Menominee River is a unique solution to assist with the restoration of this important fish population to Green Bay and Lake Michigan.
Have the best day outdoors by preparing for the worst
The difference between a great day in the forest and a scary one comes down to planning. Make sure you're prepared.
Haywire for a half century
Michigan’s first rail trail is 50 years old. Now, it's getting the recognition many think it deserves with a year-long celebration of its rich history.
Herbicides helpful in managing Michigan's forests
From now through fall, people who visit or live near state forests may find signs posted that say herbicide spraying has taken place. This practice helps the DNR manage invasive species or prepare an area for planting new trees.
Highlighting diversity in the ranks of the CCC
The Emergency Conservation Work program grew out of the Great Depression. States like Michigan needed reforestation and fire protection. By the end of May 1933, Michigan had 12 CCC camps.
High water impacts continue across Michigan
Record or near-record Great Lakes water levels have produced flooding, extensive erosion and destruction or damage to countless shoreline features, forcing the closure of numerous facilities. As always, keep safety in mind near the water. High water levels have also created numerous hazards for boaters, swimmers and even wildlife.
Honoring conservation officers with military backgrounds
Veterans Day is one day to appreciate and thank soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors who spent years of their lives defending our country’s freedom and protecting the rights of the American people. Some of those military veterans continue to actively serve the people of Michigan as conservation officers in the Law Enforcement Division of the Department of Natural Resources.
Honoring the Tuskegee Airmen in Michigan
The wreckage of an airplane found in Lake Huron is helping tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, whose impact on northeast Michigan, contribution to the war effort and ultimate sacrifice will long be remembered here and across the nation.
How firewood became a hot topic
Years ago, most people wouldn’t give a moment’s thought to tossing an armload of firewood into the trunk before heading out on a weekend getaway. But nowadays, that bundle of wood from home might create an issue if your destination is a park or campground.