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Recreate Responsibly

Ranger with open arms welcoming visitors

Recreate Responsibly

visitor walking two dogs on leash on trail

Because so many people have been flocking to the outdoors during the pandemic, it's critical that we all do our part to protect our places and resources so that we all can continue to enjoy them this year and for years to come. Below are some steps you can take to stay safe and protect the health and beauty of our great state.

Share your commitment and/or stewardship ideas by using the #RecreateResponsibly, #MiOutdoorIdea and #MiDNR hashtags on social media.

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Be a kind visitor

Know your trail etiquette. Follow posted rules. Keep wildlife wild. Be respectful of other people's space. Leash and clean up after pets. BE KIND!

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Build an inclusive outdoors

Foster a welcoming outdoors for all identities and abilities. Smile and say "hi" to people you encounter. Learn about accessible recreation opportunities.

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Know before you go

Check for closures before heading out. Fishing or hunting? Know the seasons and have any necessary permits or licenses.

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Leave no trace

Respect our lands and waters. Take all trash and recycling out with you. Take steps to help prevent the spread of invasive species. Stay off muddy trails.

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Plan ahead

Pack food, water and hand sanitizer. Cell service may be limited, especially in the woods and waters.

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Play it safe

Choose lower-risk activities and understand safety guidelines. Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Watch out for ticks.

View for yourself!

With those new – or not so new – to outdoor recreation in mind, a new “Recreate Responsibly” video series highlights "guidelines" and tips to protect not only outdoor resources but visitors, too.

Check out these videos to find out how you can help keep Michigan’s unique outdoor places – and the people who enjoy them – safe and healthy.

View complete #RecreateResponsibly playlist

An angler holding a fish with video qued up on side

Other tips

  • Be mindful of Great Lakes beach safety. DO NOT swim near or jump off breakwalls or navigational channel walls, and pay attention to changing conditions.
  • When paddling, stay close to shore and always wear your lifejacket - even if you are a good swimmer.
  • Ticks are out and abundant. Check yourself for ticks. Make sure your pets are protected and check them often.
  • Pets must always be on a 6-foot leash and under an owner's immediate control. Pet waste must be properly disposed of in trash receptacles.
  • If you are going out on your own, always tell someone where you are going. If venturing out with a group, consider the ability level of everyone, including dogs, if you bring one.
  • Stay on designated trails - going off-trail can cause erosion and damage habitat. Please avoid using trails that are muddy so you don't leave uneven footprints or tire tracks. If you must traverse a muddy section of a trail, go right through the center rather than traveling around the mud and widening the trail.
  • Michigan's weather can change very quickly. Always bring extra clothes even if you think you won't need them.
  • If you build a campfire or a bonfire (where allowed), make sure to douse the fire with water, stir and douse again before leaving the site. If you plan to burn yard debris, check our permission to burn page to see if it's safe that day. Check out more fire safety tips.