Look local for safe, responsible outdoor adventure this holiday weekend

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man wearing a helmet mountain biking along a wooded trail, sunlight streaming through the trees

May 21, 2020
Media contact: Ron Olson, 517-243-1477
Public inquiries: DNR-ParksAndRecreation@Michigan.gov

Plenty of nearby options for safe, responsible outdoor adventure over holiday weekend

Use new mapping tool to find local fishing, hiking, boating and more  

Boots? Check. Bug spray? Check. Enough space and opportunities to spread out and safely explore the state’s woods and waters? Triple check.

Luckily for Michigan residents, you don’t have to travel far this Memorial Day holiday weekend to find a little space to enjoy a lot of outdoor fun and relaxation. Before you head out, though, the Department of Natural Resources urges everyone to remember that Michigan is still under a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. That means sticking closer to home, restricting gatherings to no more than 10 people (an update announced just today), and having realistic expectations of what’s available to you at state parks and recreation areas, boating access sites and other DNR-managed destinations.

If you want tree-lined paths to wander, or ride, the DNR manages 13,000 miles of trails, and that’s not counting pathways in local communities. Either way, that’s a lot of open ground to cover.

More of a water person? In Michigan, you're never more than 6 miles from a body of water, which makes fishing locally easy. Boating is another option, with 1,300-plus public boating access sites for your use. Just remember to stay 6 feet from people outside of your household when boating or fishing with friends.

Look local

Not sure what’s in your area? We’ve put together a “one-stop shopping” map, Michigan.gov/YourLocalOutdoors, where you can enter your address and find fishing, boating and trails getaways nearby. You can also check your city, county or local convention and visitor bureau websites for close-to-home options. You might find a new favorite destination in your city or county, and even some new hobbies or activities to enjoy there.

Plan ahead, put safety first

This holiday weekend might look and feel different – especially as people limit travel and reduce the size of their gatherings. Things are different at DNR-managed recreation sites, too, but our number-one priority holds true: providing visitors with safe, clean outdoor spaces and memory-making experiences. While we do our best behind the scenes, the following tips can help keep you and your family safe no matter how or where you enjoy the outdoors:

  • Go out only if you’re feeling healthy.
  • Understand that parking at some locations may be limited or closed to protect public health and safety. If that’s the case, please find a less-crowded location.
  • Know that bathroom buildings and hand-washing stations at state parks are currently closed, so bring hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) to use when touching shared surfaces. Portable toilets are available.
  • Pay attention to posted signage. Many park amenities, including (but not limited to) playgrounds, picnic tables, viewing platforms, concessions, visitor centers and fishing piers have been closed in order to minimize contact and keep people safe.
  • Be aware that conservation officers and park rangers patrolling DNR-managed locations will be reminding people to practice social distancing.
  • Keep outdoor spaces clean by properly disposing of trash. Please carry out the trash (and recyclables) you brought in with you.
  • Be patient about camping plans. The DNR plans to open state park campgrounds by June 22 in a manner that ensures the safety and health of visitors and staff.

Staying home? Try these resources

We’ve got ideas for bold backyard explorers, too, but just a warning: you still may need bug spray! DNR educators, with help from many partner organizations, pulled together a collection of links and materials offering opportunities for at-home education that are anything but traditional. Check out Michigan.gov/NatureAtHome for nature lessons; videos about fish, wildlife, birds and more; virtual field trips; scavenger hunts; backyard bingo; and other cool options to have fun while staying home and staying safe.

Michigan’s great outdoors are here for you this Memorial Day holiday weekend, and all year long. Let’s all do our part to enjoy them safely, responsibly and locally.