DNR News: 'Outdoorpreneur' workshop, PlayCleanGo, Family Friendly Fishing

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News Digest - Week of May 27, 2019

three kids wearing jackets and helmets, riding bikes on a trail toward you, followed by mom in the background

When you're out enjoying Michigan's woods and water, be careful not to transport invasive species to new locations.

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and additional ones, to support these stories are available in this folder.

PlayCleanGo Awareness Week is June 1-8

color PlayCleanGo campaign graphic

The first-ever PlayCleanGo Awareness Week – a national campaign urging outdoor enthusiasts to take action to avoid spreading invasive plants and pests while enjoying the activities they love – will take place across North America June 1-8, 2019.

That week is a time to make more people aware of how their outdoor excursions can contribute to the spread of invasive pests and plants, and what they can do to prevent it.

“Nearly 50% of endangered or threatened species are at risk due to invasive species, which people unintentionally spread with their boots, tires, boats, firewood, pets, horses and more,” said national PlayCleanGo campaign manager Belle Bergner. “But the good news is, by taking a few easy steps while enjoying the great outdoors, you can be part of the solution, reducing the spread of invasive species.”

People can take these simple actions to protect the places they love:

  • Clean footwear with a boot brush.
  • Remove invasive plants and dispose properly.
  • Pick seeds and burrs off clothes and gear.
  • Clean mud and seeds from dogs and horses.
  • Hose off bikes or ATVs with water or compressed air.
  • Clean, drain and dry boats, and dispose of any invasive plants.
  • Don’t move firewood; buy it where you burn it.

“The start of the summer season is a great time to add a new step to your recreation routine,” said Joanne Foreman, DNR invasive species communications coordinator. “Pack a boot brush or scrub brush in your vehicle so you can easily clean shoes before you move on. Make it a habit to check clothes and gear before leaving a recreation area and wash your bike or ATV before the next trip.”

Want to learn more? Check out the Take Action tab at Michigan.gov/Invasives or contact Joanne Foreman, 517-284-5814.

Treasure hunters: State parks geocaching tour is open!

three people crouched down in the woods, opening up a geogache holder that looks like a small log

Today’s technology might seem worlds apart from the great outdoors, but in some cases they’re a perfect match. Consider the popular and growing trend of geocaching, including the new Michigan State Parks Centennial GeoTour that just launched May 24. 

The Geocaching.com blog describes geocaching as a "real-world, outdoor adventure that is happening all the time, all around the world." Essentially, you download a geocaching app to your smartphone (or download coordinates to your GPS unit) and then use your phone to navigate to a series of cleverly hidden caches.

Here in Michigan, geocachers of all skill levels can join in the GeoTour, a partnership with the Michigan Geocaching Organization offering 100 new caches and the opportunity to earn commemorative centennial geocoins and digital souvenirs.  

"Our centennial GeoTour really is a modern-day treasure hunt that takes you on a tour of dozens of state parks throughout Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas," said Stephanie Yancer, social media coordinator for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "Searching out these caches will take you and your family and friends on a tour of some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces in the state. It's a fun, exciting way to spend time outdoors."

Learn more about the GeoTour and other ways the state is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Michigan state parks at Michigan.gov/StateParks100. Questions? Contact Stephanie Yancer, 989-274-6182.

‘Outdoorpreneur’ destination training Aug. 2-4 aimed at outdoor-focused businesses

a group of people in summer exercise gear, doing yoga on Belle Isle

If you have an interest in starting an outdoor-focused business and a love of woods and water, the DNR wants you to consider becoming an Outdoorpreneur, in a new training program for those looking to build a business in state parks, on state trails or near waterways.

The Outdoorpreneur program is meant to inspire new, sustainability-minded entrepreneurs to offer recreation- or nature-focused services. The DNR is interested in businesses that offer services or amenities that can enhance the visitor experience. With more than 28 million annual visitors to state parks, your business could have a lasting impact on generations to come.

“We’re looking for forward-thinking business owners who are just as passionate about natural resources – and about providing unforgettable experiences – as we are,” said Maia Turek, resource development specialist with the DNR. “We are going to cover a lot of new ground in this program, and we’re inviting people to think outside of the box about how and where they do business.”

The DNR is offering an Outdoorpreneur destination training in Traverse City, Aug. 2-4. Participants will attend unique seminars (hosted by DNR program partners) that combine function and fun – from a “brew cruise” presentation on ethics and resource protection to an outdoor yoga class that ties in commercial operating agreements.

There are just 25 available spots, so register quickly to avoid missing out on a unique opportunity. Registration closes July 18. Register for training and view the full itinerary by texting Outdoorpreneur to 808-88 or visit Michigan.gov/StateParkConcessions, where current business opportunities also are available for review. 

Questions? Contact Maia Turek, 989-225-8573.

Find your next family fishing spot with DNR’s online tool

little girl wearing sunglasses, holding a fishing pole, while and older man helps her

Are you new to the sport of fishing – or just want to find a location that’s easy to access, good for the whole family and has a high likelihood of catching fish? Check out the DNR’s Family Friendly Fishing Waters web application.

This interactive tool features more than 200 quality fishing destinations, spread across every Michigan county. Each waterbody was submitted by the public and validated by DNR fisheries staff.

Users can conduct in-depth searches thanks to the tool’s filter feature. Visitors can narrow down their searches based on preferred fishing method (boat, pier, shore), fish species they’d like to target, whether the destination has an entrance fee, what local amenities are available, and if bathrooms are on site.

“We know a barrier to getting more people to go fishing is knowing where to go,” said DNR communication specialist Elyse Walter. “The Family Friendly Fishing Waters tool works to break down that barrier by pointing out places interested anglers can go that might not be too far from home.”

Family Friendly Fishing Waters is not a downloadable app, but it is compatible with all types of electronic devices. Access it at Michigan.gov/Fishing in the Where to Fish section.

Questions? Contact Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839.


Learn the basics of backpacking (like how and what to pack, meal planning and safety) in a two-part workshop and overnight experience (June 7 and 15) at Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea.


As the weather warms up, more people want to hit the water. Does your boat or other personal watercraft have a current registration? Check the Secretary of State website for current boat registration details.


Show your support for Michigan's endangered, threatened or nongame wildlife by purchasing a wildlife habitat license plate – $25 of the $35 purchase price goes to Michigan's Nongame Wildlife Fund.

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