DNR News: Trout Trails, Free ORV Weekends, Michigan Day & more

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Earth Day mindset a good idea all year long

People walking on the beach

This past weekend marked the nation’s 48th Earth Day – nearly 50 years since the birth of the modern environmental protection movement. Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes recently shared a column that takes a look at progress we’ve made as a state, and how much more there is to do. It’s a good reminder to strive for Earth-friendly practices every day, and not just on Earth Day. Read the full column here.

DNR’s Trout Trails web app updated for 2018

Brown trout, just one type of fish you can focus on in the DNR's Trout Trails app

Users of the DNR’s online Trout Trails web application now can conduct even more specialized searches thanks to its new filter feature that lets visitors search based on fish species and/or watersheds. 

Trout Trails is an interactive tool featuring fisheries biologist-verified trout waters that often are lesser-known but still are considered outstanding destinations. The app features more than 300 locations covering nearly every corner of the state, with additional locations being added over time.

Although Trout Trails is not a downloadable app, it is compatible with all types of electronic devices. Each of its destinations features extensive information including trout species available, regulations, presence of stocked or naturally reproducing fish, driving directions, area lodging, restaurants, and noteworthy information (such as presence of fast water, canoe/kayak/tube accessibility, best times to fish, types of bait or lure to use, etc.). 

Learn more about Trout Trails by contacting Elyse Walter at 517-284-5839 or visiting michigan.gov/trouttrails.

Tree USA awards honor Michigan communities, utilities and campuses

A tree-lined street in Lansing, which has had the Tree City USA designation for 33 years.

Two new Michigan cities – Grandville and North Muskegon – were certified with the Tree City USA designation in 2017, joining 113 other Michigan communities, five campuses and two utilities to receive “Tree City,” “Tree Campus” or “Tree Line USA" designation for 2017. 

Since the program began in 1976, Michigan communities have steadily increased participation. Michigan now ranks eighth nationally in number of certified communities. Tree City USA promotes proper tree care and management in urban areas and calls attention to the economic, health and aesthetic values trees offer.

“Healthy trees provide many important benefits to our communities and the environment,” said Kevin Sayers, DNR Urban Forestry coordinator. “The Tree City USA designation is a highly regarded achievement that promotes the efforts communities have taken in adopting policies and practices that help maintain these important public natural assets.”

The Tree Line USA and Tree Campus USA programs extend the certification opportunities and encourage Michigan companies and college campuses to offer tree-care education programs and sponsor tree-planting events as part of their commitment to maintaining healthy urban forests. This year, the DNR recertified the Lansing Board of Water and Light and ITC Holdings through the Tree Line USA program, while the University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Calvin College, Washtenaw Community College and Michigan State University all earned the Tree Campus USA designation. 

Learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree USA programs and find a list of Michigan honorees at www.arborday.org/programs.

For questions on the DNR’s Urban and Community Forestry program or more on the Tree USA eligibility and certification, contact Kevin Sayers at 517-284-5898 or visit michigan.gov/ucf.

Say Yes! to Michigan Day – May 12 in Lansing

Volunteers dressed up as Rosie the Riveter, just some of the people you'll see at the Michigan Historical Museum May 12.

Michiganders are proud to be from the Great Lakes State, and rightly so. While there are plenty of reasons to take pride in that heritage every day, an upcoming celebration at the Michigan History Center’s flagship museum in downtown Lansing makes it worth a special trip. Head to the Michigan History Museum Saturday, May 12, for a free, family-friendly day that celebrates the real stories of Michigan and its people. 

The museum’s Michigan Day runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers opportunities to enjoy live music, mingle with a group of suffragettes, test your Michigan trivia knowledge, meet representatives from Wyandot of Anderdon Nation, design your own lighthouse, and much more. Say “Yes!” and bring the whole family to this festive celebration of all things Michigan

Questions? Contact Michigan History Center engagement specialist Sara Gross, 517-420-1342.

Get ready to ride: Free ORV Weekends in June, August

Great opportunity to check out Michigan's state-designated ORV trails on upcoming Free ORV Weekends

During two Free ORV Weekends (June 9-10 and Aug. 18-19), residents and out-of-state visitors will get to explore the state’s trails system without an ORV license or permit. 

These two weekends are the perfect chance to test Michigan's 3,700 miles of state-designated ORV routes and trails yourself, introduce friends to the thrill of the ride, and consider purchasing an ORV license or trail permit for the season. Riders also will have access to five scramble areas.

Revenue generated through the sale of ORV licenses and trail permits is reinvested back into the ORV system throughout the year. These important dollars help pay for trail expansion and maintenance and infrastructure improvements.

To help kick off the summer season, the first Free ORV Weekend (June 9-10) is aligned with Summer Free Fishing Weekend, when all fishing license fees are waived. The DNR will make that June weekend even more inviting, by waiving the regular Recreation Passport requirement for vehicle access to Michigan’s 103 state parks. 

During Free ORV Weekends, remember that although riders won’t need to possess an ORV license or trail permit, all ORV rules and laws still apply. Learn more at michigan.gov/orvinfo. 

Baby birds are starting to leave their nests

Baby robins eventually will outgrow their nest, and parents will continue to care for them.

Do you have a bird’s nest on your property? Soon you might notice the baby birds inside are starting to outgrow it. Because baby birds learn to fly by trial and error, it’s not uncommon to find them on the ground outside their nests after an attempt at flight – especially if their flight feathers haven’t fully grown in yet.

If you do see a baby bird on the ground, it’s best not to touch it, because the mom and dad will continue to take care of the bird even if it’s on the ground. If you find a sparsely feathered chick on the ground, it may have accidentally fallen from the nest before it is ready to fledge (learn to fly). If you know where the nest is, it’s okay to put the chick back in the nest only if you can do so safely. 

Touching a baby bird will not cause the adults to abandon it, but if you move a baby bird the parents might be unable to find and care for it. The best option is to leave young birds alone to be raised by their parents.  

Birds, their nests, and their eggs are protected by law and must be left alone. Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless a person is licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal, including birds, in Michigan.

Help keep Michigan’s wildlife wild. Learn more at michigan.gov/wildlife or contact DNR wildlife communications coordinator Hannah Schauer at 517-284-6218. 

Michigan releases management plan for inland trout

Close-up view of a brook trout

A plan focusing on the ecology and management of inland trout in rivers and inland lakes is available from the DNR at michigan.gov/fishing

Inland lakes with the right water quality conditions could be managed for any of several trout species, including brook, brown, rainbow, lake and splake. In the new Inland Trout Management Plan, the DNR gives an overview of inland trout habitats in Michigan, the biology and ecology of inland trout populations, and management activities directed toward inland trout and their habitats. 

“The information in this report is a great starting point in understanding where inland trout fit into current and future fisheries management in our lakes and streams,” said DNR fisheries research biologist Troy Zorn.

The report also looks at the distribution of trout waters in the state, origin of inland trout fisheries, biology of inland trout in streams and lakes, fishing regulations, status of fisheries, habitat concerns, restoration and partnerships.

For more information, contact Troy Zorn, 906-249-1611, ext. 308 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839. 

PHOTOS AVAILABLE: News editors interested in photos to accompany these stories can get them in this photo folder. Caption details also are available there.

Events button

Start thinking about summer fun at an 18th-century fort and fur trading village! Colonial Michilimackinac on the shore of the Straits of Michigan opens for the season Wednesday, May 2. 

buy and apply

Don't forget, turkey season starts today – still need a license? Or how about a fishing license before the trout season opener this Saturday? Get your licenses online at eLicense.

get involved

Love spending time in Michigan's outdoors? Share your experience and wisdom as a volunteer safety instructor for ORV riding, hunting, boating and other pursuits. Apply today!