Posts Tagged ‘michigan department of natural resources’

#OptOutside This Holiday Season


Holiday shopping season is upon us whether we were ready for it or not. And while this mad rush can be exciting for some, it can be stressful for others. A solution to the holiday season blues? Go Outside!

#OptOutside is a push to get people to spend time outside with their families on Black Friday rather than join the crowds at the store. Check out the blog post: 10 Great Ways to Opt Outside During the Holidays by Rain or Shine Mamma, there are lots of ideas to get both you and your kids out to walk off that Thanksgiving turkey.

Even better? The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering FREE entry into state parks, trails, and boating access sites.

“In Michigan, you’re never more than a half-hour away from a state park, recreation area, state forest campground or state trail,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. “#OptOutside is an invitation to residents and those traveling to spend time outside during the holiday weekend and help continue or build new Thanksgiving traditions. The DNR hopes the free entry opportunity will encourage residents and visitors to explore new places and experience the outdoors’ many physical, mental and social benefits.”

The DNR is only offering this on November 24, so take advantage!

No matter which you choose, just make sure to have a little fun this holiday season. After all, fun and family is what it’s all about. 🙂



Michigan Mammals Week is July 10-16!

It’s Michigan Mammals Week next week! That means State Parks across Michigan will be holding special programs featuring our furry friends. These programs are free to the public, but you may need to pay to enter the park. If you have a Recreation Passport, you’re all set!

Check out the announcement below for details and to discover the program that’s right for you and your family.


July 5, 2017

Contact: Karen Gourlay, 248-349-3858

Celebrate Michigan Mammals Week at Michigan state parks July 10-16

TExplorer Programshe Michigan Department of Natural Resources will highlight the wonders of Michigan’s mammals during Michigan Mammals Week July 10-16 in a handful of Michigan state parks. The family-friendly programs are free for campers and visitors.

The annual program provides a fun and educational experience for the whole family. The week of hands-on programming will take place in 31 Michigan state parks and will feature hikes, animal tracking programs, games and much more.

Michigan Mammals Week and many other programs are led by state park Explorer Guides and park interpreters who work in the park and present a variety of outdoor education opportunities in more than 30 Michigan state parks Memorial Day through August. These enthusiastic, nature-minded folks lead hikes, activities and programming that shine a spotlight on each park’s unique resources.

To find a program in your favorite park, visit and click on the link “Michigan Mammals Week” under Special Programs and Activities. To see all available Explorer programming throughout the summer, view the interactive map or alphabetical list of parks.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

Oak Wilt Striking Michigan Trees

There is a fungal disease that has made its way into Michigan and is taking out our oak trees. As if we needed another forest pest to worry about, oak wilt has made an appearance in several Michigan counties. This is causing mass clear-cuttings in portions of the state, including in state parks.

The reason? The only way to stop the spread is to cut down all infected trees, and in many cases any oak surrounding an infected tree.

Since it’s relatively new in Michigan, we have an opportunity to help stop the spread. Here are some tips we all can do to help:

  • Watch your trees closely. If something doesn’t look right, report it to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. It may turn out to be nothing, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Don’t trim oak trees from April 15 until July 15, or even through the entire summer if you want to err on the safe side. Any injury can create a way for the fungus to get into the tree. This means intentional injuries like trimming, or accidental ones from lawnmowers, weed whips, and storm damage. If you accidentally nick the trunk of your oak trees doing yard work, seal it up with pruning sealer or tree paint.
  • And the last tip we’re going to give is please don’t move firewood. It is tempting to save money and inconvenience by bringing wood with you when you go camping, but this can cause problems by carrying forests pests long distances and bringing them to new areas. Oak wilt is no exception. The fungus spores can live in the bark of firewood and infect healthy trees at your destination. Please buy where you intend to burn!

A Warning for Great Lakes States: A disease called “Oak wilt” is striking Michigan Forests

Oak tree effected by Oak wilt.

By , Great Lakes Now

If you head to Northern Michigan this summer, you might see some disturbing landscapes across the shoreline and in other spots across the state: clear-cutting. In most cases, it’s not because a shopping development or a subdivision is about to be constructed. It’s because of a fast-moving and deadly fungus that takes aim at Oak trees and can kill them in less than four weeks. And the only solution to stop the spread of the disease is to kill the trees it infects.

It’s called “Oak wilt” disease. Great Lakes Now talked with Jenna Johnson who’s a forest technician with AmeriCorps at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in Cadillac. She says Oak wilt was first discovered in Great Lakes states in the 1940’s. It has caused major damage in Midwestern States like Minnesota but has only recently made its way into Michigan. She says Roscommon, the Gaylord area, Missaukee County, and Kalkaska County are being particularly hard-hit right now.

Beetles spreading Oak wilt


Johnson says, “Oak wilt is a vascular disease. It makes the tree unable to absorb water. It starves the tree to death.” She says the tree starts to die the minute it’s infected, and starts dropping all its leaves. She says it strikes Red oaks, Pin oaks and some White oaks. It’s spread by sap-feeding beetles that take aim at freshly wounded trees. And once one Oak tree is infected, all other Oak trees in the area are in danger of being infected.

She says if the tree isn’t cut down and removed from the area – right into the roots- followed by what’s called “vibratory plowing” down at least 5 feet into the ground to destroy the fungus –   Oak wilt could sweep across the state. The DNR says if Oak wilt isn’t stopped by cutting down infected trees, it could continue to spread, possibly killing almost all the Red oaks in Michigan.

At least 21 states are dealing with the disease, but the majority of Oak wilt cases are being discovered in the Midwest.

The DNR says Oak wilt isn’t just spread through live trees. It’s also spread by firewood that still has its bark. That’s why the DNR wants to get the word out this summer that no one should cut any kind of Oak trees – including power companies – from April 15th to July 15th, and there’s a ban on cutting Oak trees for firewood during this time, too. Bill O’Neill, State Forester of Michigan and Chief of the Forestry Division of the DNR   tells Great Lakes Now if you are gathering or buying firewood, “use and buy your firewood locally – get it from the vicinity where you’re going to be using it.” 

For more information go to

Scholarship Opportunity for Wilderness Camp

Scholarship opportunity for Riley Wilderness Youth Camp

boy and girl fishing from dockEach year, Michigan United Conservation Clubs sponsors the Michigan Out-of-Doors (MOOD) Youth Camp at the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center in Chelsea. In the last seven decades, MOOD Youth Camp has engaged 57,000 young people in Michigan’s natural resources, taught them outdoor technical skills, and helped them develop a passion for conservation.

As part of a partnership with the Riley Wilderness Youth Camp, sponsored by SCI-Novi with a generous donation from the Riley Foundation, 80 boys and girls have the opportunity to learn more about hunting, conservation, environmental sciences and even obtain their hunter safety certificates. Riley Wilderness youth get a full scholarship to attend one of two sessions of camp, depending upon their age:

  • Junior Camp (ages 9-11), July 23-28
  • Advanced Camp (ages 12-14), July 30-Aug. 4

Each camp features a sampling of outdoor activities, ranging from archery and canoeing to fishing and hunter safety class.

These scholarships are available to youth who are interested in connecting with and learning more about the outdoors, and all are encouraged to apply.  For more information about scholarship criteria and an application, visit

More information about the camp can be found at, or by contacting Camp Director Tyler Butler at

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

Please Leave Wild Animals in the Wild

Springtime has returned to Michigan!

People are spending more time outside, exploring their nearby parks and woods. In the next few months you may even be lucky enough to come across some baby animals who are also going to be venturing farther from their den or nest.

However, it is important to leave wild animals in the wild. You may think that the youngster has been abandoned, but more often than not this is not the case. Baby deer can be left alone by their mothers for hours at a time. This is actually safer for them because predators can’t find them because of their parent’s smell. When learning to fly, baby birds may be stuck on the ground for a while. Be assured that the parents are nearby keeping watch, even if you can’t see them.

Our hearts might be in the right place when rescuing a seemingly abandoned baby, but we may end up doing more harm than good, and that’s the last thing we would have intended.

So enjoy the sights, but please leave wildlife wild. 🙂

Statewide DNR News

March 21, 2017

Contact: Hannah Schauer, 517-284-6218 or DNR Wildlife Division, 517-284-9453

Leave wildlife in the wild – do not take baby animals from the wild this spring

unnamedSpring is here, bringing warmer temperatures and the next generation of wildlife. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds those who are outside, enjoying the experience of seeing wildlife raise its young, to view animals from a distance so they are not disturbed.

It’s important to remember that many species of wildlife hide their young for safety and that these babies are not abandoned. They simply have been hidden by their mother until she returns for them.

“Please resist the urge to help seemingly abandoned baby animals,” said Hannah Schauer, wildlife communications coordinator for the DNR. “Many baby animals will die if removed from their natural environment, and some have diseases or parasites that can be passed on to humans or pets.”

Schauer added that some animals that have been picked up by people and do survive may become habituated and may be unable to revert back to life in the wild.

“Habituated animals pose additional problems as they mature and develop adult animal behavior,” Schauer said. “For example, habituated deer, especially bucks, can become aggressive as they get older and reach breeding age.”

White-tailed deer fawns are one of the animals most commonly picked up by well-intentioned citizens.

Schauer explained that it is not uncommon for deer to leave their fawns unattended for up to eight hours at a time. This behavior minimizes the scent of the mother left around the fawn and allows the fawn to go undetected by nearby predators. While fawns may seem abandoned, they rarely are. All wild white-tailed deer begin life this way. The best chance for their survival is to leave them in the wild. If you find a fawn alone, do not touch it, as this might leave your scent and could attract predators. Give it plenty of space and quickly leave the area. The mother deer will return for her fawns when she feels it is safe; she may not return if people or dogs are present.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless you are licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal, including deer, in Michigan.

The only time a baby animal may be removed from the wild is when you know the parent is dead or the animal is injured. Please remember, a licensed rehabilitator must be contacted before removing an animal from the wild. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators must adhere to the laws and have gone through training on proper handling of injured or abandoned wild animals. Licensed rehabilitators will work to return the animal to the wild where it will have the best chance for survival.

A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found by visiting or by calling a local DNR office.

/Editors’ note: An accompanying photo is available below for download. A suggested caption follows.

A white-tailed deer fawn waits for its mother to return./

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

Kick Off the New Year with Some Outdoor Fun

Stepping outside your door may not always be an appealing idea in the winter, the cold making you want to huddle inside with a hot drink. However, there are a lot of fun things to do in the winter that only the presence of snow makes possible.

Would sledding be any fun without it? How about skiing? And I don’t think you’d be able to go ice skating without these cold temps. You’d certainly be wetter than you planned anyway.

Getting outside in winter just takes a little more preparation and planning, but can be just as much fun as any summertime activity (and with the added benefit of no pesky bugs).

Our State Parks and Recreation Areas are a great place to find some winter amusement. For example, several will be holding ‘Shoe Year’s Day’ snowshoe hikes to celebrate the New Year. Getting in shape is a new year’s resolution for many, why not start with a nice hike through the snowy woods?

Michigan state parks help kick off 2017 resolutions with ‘Shoe Year’s Day’ hikes

Contact: Stephanie Yancer, 989-274-6182
Agency: Natural Resources

Dec. 27, 2016

visitor on her snowshoesFor many people, a new year is the time for making resolutions. Frequently, those resolutions involve making a pledge to become healthier. With that sentiment in mind, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources encourages residents to kick off 2017 by bringing Michigan’s great outdoors into the mix.

The DNR, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Recreation and Park Association are joining together to encourage residents to shift their New Year’s resolutions into high gear at “Shoe Year’s Day” hikes taking place Dec. 31-Jan. 8 at several Michigan state parks and recreation areas.

“There are countless benefits to using Michigan’s great outdoors as your gym,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. “People tend to work out longer, enjoy their workout more, and burn more calories by exercising outside, while enjoying the beauty of our state.”

All “Shoe Year’s Day” hikes are free; however, a Recreation Passport is required for any vehicle entering a Michigan state park or recreation areas. Snowshoes will be available to rent at most locations.

According to Olson, the Recreation Passport is a great value and may be the most affordable gym membership available. The annual pass costs residents $11 for vehicle access to 103 state parks and 138 state forest campgrounds, as well as parking for hundreds of trails and staffed boat launches.

The following Shoe Year’s guided hikes are scheduled:

  • Maybury State Park (Wayne County) Dec. 31 at 10 a.m.
  • Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County) Jan. 1 at 1 p.m.
  • Waterloo Recreation Area (Jackson County) Jan. 1 at 11 a.m.Shoe Year's Hike infographic
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County) Jan. 1 at 1 p.m.
  • Ludington State Park (Mason County) Jan. 7 at 6 p.m.
  • Rockport Recreation Area (Alpena County) Jan. 7 at noon
  • Sleeper State Park (Huron County) Jan. 7 at 6 p.m.
  • Straits State Park (Cheboygan County) Jan. 7  at 5 p.m.
  • Mitchell State Park (Wexford County) Jan. 8 at 1 p.m.

If you can’t make it to one of the fun events going on across the state, you can still take advantage of Michigan’s parks, trails and waterways on your own time by visiting a Michigan state park or recreation area, the Iron Belle Trail or the more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails.

Michigan is part of the nationwide First Day Hikes program coordinated by the National Association of State Park Directors. They were inspired by the First Day Hikes that originated more than 25 years ago at the Blue Hills Reservation, a state park in Milton, Massachusetts. Last year, more than 55,000 people participated on guided hikes that covered over 133,000 miles on 1,100 hikes across the country.

Visit to view the calendar of events.

Share your resolution on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using #MiShoeYear.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to

DNR Announces 2017 Community Forestry Grants

Up to $90,000 available for forestry projects statewide

Contact: Kevin Sayers, 517-284-5898
Agency: Natural Resources

Aug. 9, 2016

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced the availability of grant applications for the 2016-17 DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program. The grants are funded through the U.S. Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry Program.

Local units of government, nonprofit organizations, schools and tribal governments are eligible and encouraged to apply for the grants, which can be used for a variety of projects including:

  • Urban forest management and planning activities.
  • Tree planting on public property.
  • Urban forestry and arborist training and education events and materials.
  • Arbor Day celebrations and materials.

“Assistance provided through this grant program will help communities and partners interested in creating and supporting long-term and sustained urban and community forestry projects and programs at the local level,” said Kevin Sayers, Urban and Community Forestry Program coordinator.

Grant applications must be postmarked by Sept. 16, 2016. Projects awarded funding must be completed by Sept. 1, 2017. All projects must be performed on public land or land that is open to the public.

A total of up to $90,000 is available for projects statewide. Depending on the project type, applicants may request grants up to $20,000. All grants require a one-to-one match of funds, which can be cash contributions or in-kind services but cannot include federal funds.

For a grant application or more information, visit the DNR website at, contact Kevin Sayers at 517-284-5898 or, or write to DNR Forest Resources Division, P.O. Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909-7952.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to