DNR Get Involved: state park volunteer opportunities, input on state forests

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DNR Get Involved - September 2019

sand dunes at Warren Dunes State Park

Here are a few ways to get involved in taking care of Michigan’s natural resources in September. For more opportunities to volunteer, contribute and provide input, visit Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers

Help protect dunes and restore native prairie at state parks

stewardship volunteers pull knapweed

Warren Dunes State Park in Berrien County is looking for volunteers to help protect the park’s open dune system and the rare threatened Pitcher’s thistle by removing spotted knapweed, an invasive plant that will crowd out native flora if left unchecked. We’re making great progress on Pitcher’s thistle protection thanks to DNR volunteer stewards!

Volunteer stewardship workdays are scheduled for:

  • Saturday, Sept. 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers will focus on pulling plants from the critical area near the thistle plants. Long sleeves are recommended, as some may be sensitive to this plant.

We will meet at the picnic area (interpretive shelter) south of the campground (GPS coordinates: 41.907001, -86.591755).

On National Public Lands Day, volunteers are invited to join in the effort to help restore native prairie during a stewardship workday at Fort Custer Recreation Area in Kalamazoo County Saturday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Volunteers will help collect native wildflower and grass seeds that will be replanted throughout the park as part of ongoing restoration efforts. This is a great activity for the family to enjoy the outdoors. No experience is necessary, and instruction on plant identification will be provided. 

Meet at the Whitford Lake parking area (GPS coordinates: 42.311306, -85.360528), and we’ll take a short walk to our plant propagation area. Please dress to be in an open prairie area, and be sure to bring along some water.  

State park stewardship volunteers are asked to register either by using the volunteer registration form or by emailing freih@michigan.gov.

Open houses set to discuss cutting, prescribed burns and more in state forests

loading logs onto truck

Activities such as prescribed burns, timber harvests and tree thinning all are planned regularly to help keep Michigan’s 4 million acres of state forest thriving.

The DNR finalizes plans for management activity in each forest management unit two years in advance. This fall, recommendations for 2021 are being presented at open houses in several locations. At open houses, people can talk to foresters, wildlife biologists and other DNR professionals regarding these plans.

Open houses coming up during September include:

  • Gwinn Forest Management Unit: 2-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Marquette Operations Service Center, 1990 U.S. 41 South, Marquette.
  • Sault Ste. Marie Forest Management Unit: 3-6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Naubinway Field Office, W11569 U.S. 2, Naubinway; and 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the Kinross Township Hall, 4884 W. Curtis St., Kincheloe.
  • Shingleton Forest Management Unit: 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Wyman Nursery, 480 N Intake Park Road, Manistique.

See a full open house schedule.

About a month after each open house, a public compartment review meeting also will take place. That’s where foresters present their final decisions on management activities. Upcoming compartment review meetings include:

  • Cadillac Forest Management Unit: 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center, 6087 M-115, Cadillac.
  • Escanaba Forest Management Unit: 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the State Office Building, 305 Ludington St., Escanaba.
  • Roscommon Forest Management Unit: 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, at the Roscommon Customer Service Center, 8717 N. Roscommon Road, Roscommon.

See a full compartment review schedule.

For more information, including a link to the interactive forest map showing details of all forest management activities, visit the public input section of the DNR’s Michigan.gov/Forestry webpage.

Join in stewardship day at Shiawassee River

Help keep our waterfowl and other birds safe by removing trash from an Important Bird Area in Saginaw County Saturday, Sept. 21, World Cleanup Day. Join MI Birds, the DNR and Michigan United Conservation Clubs' On the Water program and volunteer at the fall stewardship day at Shiawassee River State Game Area.

Pitch in for National Public Lands Day

Celebrate something we all share: our public lands. Join hundreds of thousands of people at sites throughout the country and take part in National Public Lands Day, Saturday, Sept. 28, the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands. Enjoy the outdoors and lend a hand to help ensure these spaces stay beautiful for all.