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

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DNR Get Involved - July 2020

woman in forest with trash bag

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

Help remove invasive species, restore natural areas at state parks

volunteer cutting invasive shrub in forest

Several state parks in southern Michigan will host volunteer stewardship workdays in July. Volunteers are needed to help with removing invasive plants that threaten high-quality ecosystems in the parks.

Please note that registration is required for all volunteer workdays, and participation may be limited due to social distancing requirements.

Although these are outdoor programs and proper social distancing of at least 6 feet is required, participants still are encouraged to wear face coverings as an added precaution.

Workdays will take place:

  • Saturday, July 11, 9 a.m. to noon at Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Sunday, July 12, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Saturday, July 18, 9 a.m. to noon at Belle Isle Park (Wayne County)
  • Sunday, July 19, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Saturday, July 25, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Sunday, July 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)

More details about each workday can be found on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Take part in state forest planning process

river running through forest

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 hosting face-to-face open houses, people will be asked to offer input online.

“We value public input, and we want to continue it 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 during specific time periods in each forest management unit to discuss your comments or concerns. The July schedule includes:

  • Atlanta FMU: June 9 through July 9; contact Cody Stevens, 989-785-4251.
  • Cadillac FMU: July 6 through Aug. 5; contact Dave Fisher, 231-745-4651, ext. 6946.
  • Roscommon FMU: July 27 through Aug. 8; contact Patrick Mohney, 989-387-8189.

See a full virtual comment period schedule.

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 of 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.

Join #100in100 forest cleanup challenge

In case you missed it, now through Sept. 22 we are challenging nature lovers to spend some quality time in the trees and clean up dumped garbage and debris at 100 sites in 100 days in state forests. Learn more about the challenge and how you can volunteer to help clean Michigan’s forests.

Protect trees from invasive species

Hauling firewood from one part of the state to another also transports invasive insects and diseases that threaten Michigan’s agriculture, forests and the environment. Help protect trees and forests from invasive species by leaving firewood at home and buying it at your destination