DNR Get Involved: state forest and deer regulation input, tree-planting grants

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DNR Get Involved - June 2020

dirt road through state forest

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

Take part in state forest planning process

aerial photo of green forest with river running through it

The DNR welcomes public input on its plans for Michigan’s 4 million acres of state forest.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the format has changed for 2020. Rather than attending face-to-face open houses, people interested in commenting can offer input online.

“We value public input, and we want to continue hearing from people while maintaining safe social distances,” said Jeff Stampfly, acting chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.

Here is how the process will work this year:

Go to Michigan.gov/ForestInput and click on the interactive map. Zoom in to your area of interest. As you zoom in, more details will appear. Sections of forest – referred to as “compartments” – under review for work to be done in 2022 are highlighted in bright green. Click anywhere within the compartment, and a pop-up screen will appear with more information.

You may submit comments by email or schedule a telephone appointment with a DNR staffer to discuss your comments or concerns during specific time periods in each management unit. Those time periods are:

  • Baraga: now through June 17; contact Brad Carlson, 906-201-4688.
  • Gaylord: now through June 17; contact Lucas Merrick, 989-732-3541, ext. 5440.
  • Atlanta: June 9 through July 9; contact Cody Stevens, 989-785-4251.
  • Cadillac: July 6 through Aug. 5; contact Dave Fisher, 231-745-4651, ext. 6946.
  • Roscommon: July 27 through Aug. 8; contact Patrick Mohney, 989-387-8189.
  • Pigeon River: Aug. 4 through Sept. 9; contact Cody Stevens, 989-983-4101.
  • Traverse City: Aug. 10 through Sept. 9; contact Dave Lemmien, 231-922-5280.
  • Sault Ste. Marie: Aug. 16 through Sept. 15; contact Karen Rodock, 906-477-6048, ext. 2040.
  • Gladwin: Aug. 17 through Sept. 16; contact Patrick Mohney, 989-387-8189.
  • Gwinn: Aug. 18 through Sept. 17; contact Kristen Matson, 906-346-9201.
  • Shingleton: Sept. 1 through Oct. 1; contact Bob Burnham, 906-452-6227, ext. 240.
  • Grayling: Sept. 1 through Oct. 1; contact Thomas Barnes, 989-348-6371, ext. 7440.
  • Crystal Falls: Sept. 6 through Oct. 6; contact Dan McNamee, 906-875-6622.
  • Newberry: Sept. 15 through Oct. 15; contact Keith Magnusson, 906-291-0120.
  • Escanaba: Sept. 21 through Oct. 21; contact Eric Thompson, 906-786-2354, ext. 142.

After public input is received and considered, final decisions will be made at DNR staff meetings known as compartment reviews. The public is welcome to listen to this year’s virtual meetings over the phone. Contact the listed unit manager for details on joining a compartment review phone call.

For more information on open houses, compartment reviews and instructions for using the interactive map, go to Michigan.gov/ForestInput.

Provide input on proposed 2020 deer hunting regulations by June 5

white-tailed deer buck in field with blue sky

A new package of deer hunting regulations designed to simplify rules and remove barriers to participation recently was introduced to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission. The regulations, proposed for the 2020 deer hunting season, are scheduled for an NRC vote in June.

We encourage hunters to review the proposed regulations and share their feedback through an anonymous survey or by email to NRC@Michigan.gov. All comments must be received by June 5 and will be shared with NRC members.

The regulations, if approved, will provide additional opportunities and cost savings for hunters and offer flexibility in how hunters pursue deer. The DNR uses existing and projected data to gauge the impact of proposed regulations. The data shows that the projected changes will not have a significant negative effect on the deer herd or the quality of deer hunting.

“These recommendations are aimed at making it easier for hunters of all ages and experience levels to enjoy a Michigan outdoor tradition, while at the same time facing the present and future challenges of managing the state’s deer population,” said Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer, elk and moose program leader. “We hope that hunters across the state will take the opportunity to review the regulations and share their opinions, because their feedback is critical in shaping the future of deer hunting.”

Read the full NRC proposal memo or the justifications behind the 2020 proposed regulation changes at Michigan.gov/Deer.

Apply for public tree-planting grants by June 15

woman using bucket to water newly planted tree near sidewalk in residential neighborhood

Thriving trees help make a community an inviting place to live. A grant opportunity provided by the DTE Energy Foundation and administered by the DNR and nonprofit ReLeaf Michigan – a partnership that has supported community tree planting for 24 years – is helping schools, communities, tribes and eligible nonprofits add more green to their neighborhoods.

Eligible organizations within DTE Energy’s service area may apply by June 15 for up to $4,000 in matching grants for public tree-planting projects. About $90,000 total is available. Download a tree-planting grant application.

Tree-planting projects must occur on public property such as parks, road rights-of-way and school grounds and promote the “right tree, right place” message about utility awareness. The required 1-to-1 match can be made of cash contributions or in-kind services, including volunteer efforts.

Awards will be announced in August and projects must be completed by May 31, 2021.

Contribute your story to COVID-19 record

The Michigan History Center is partnering with the Detroit Free Press to document the impact of the coronavirus emergency on Michiganders through stories by collecting photos, videos and audio files from your daily lives. Learn how you can add your story to the record of this unprecedented event and help future generations understand what it felt like to live through this time at Michigan.gov/MHCStories. Check out the website’s image gallery to see what other people are posting.

Participate in public meetings virtually

Every month, DNR public meetings around the state offer opportunities to share ideas and ask questions about policy decisions, programs and other aspects of natural resource management and outdoor recreation. With recent COVID-19 public health and safety in mind, some upcoming meetings have been changed to conference calls and virtual meetings, while others have been canceled. Frequently check the DNR boards, commissions, committees and councils webpage for updates.