DNR Get Involved: state park volunteer opportunities, input on public lands

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DNR Get Involved - August 2020

pine forest with sun shining through trees

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

Help remove invasive species, restore natural areas at state parks

volunteer removes brush from forest

Several state parks in southern Michigan will host volunteer stewardship workdays in August. 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, Aug. 1, 9 a.m. to noon at Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 2, 9 a.m. to noon at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 8, 9 a.m. to noon at Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 15, 9 a.m. to noon at Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 16, 9 a.m. to noon at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 22, 9 a.m. to noon at Belle Isle Park (Wayne County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 23, 9 a.m. to noon at Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 29, 9 a.m. to noon at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 30, 9 a.m. to noon at Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)

Find more details about each workday on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Take part in state forest planning process

equipment moving timber in forest

The DNR welcomes public input on its plans for Michigan’s 3.85 million acres of state forest.

Because of 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 to discuss your comments or concerns during specific time periods in each management unit. Comment periods taking place in August include:

  • 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.

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.

Get Michigan duck stamps and prints, contribute to wetland conservation

2020 Michigan duck stamp image

2020 collector-edition Michigan duck stamps and prints, which help ensure continued conservation of wetlands and waterfowl habitat, are now available for purchase.

The 2020 Michigan duck stamp, painted by Christopher Smith, features a flock of Canada geese coming into a decoy spread.

The Michigan Duck Hunters Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waterfowl and wetland conservation, coordinates the Michigan waterfowl stamp program in partnership with the DNR. Proceeds from stamp sales will be used to fund MDHA projects, with 10% used to match DNR funding for purchasing, restoring and enhancing wetlands.

Purchasing the stamps is voluntary and does not replace the state waterfowl hunting license.

Order duck stamps and prints.

Help update DNR public land strategy

scenic wooded pond at Crisp Point

The DNR is responsible for nearly 4.6 million acres of public lands owned by Michigan residents. When these lands – state parks, trails, game and wildlife areas, forests and other resources – are well managed, they contribute significantly to the health of Michigan’s residents, environment and economy.

As part the process of updating our public land strategy – which provides a framework for the conservation and management of DNR-managed public lands to ensure their best use for the benefit of our state’s residents, visitors and natural resources – we want to hear what you think about Michigan’s public lands.  

Right now, there’s an easy, yet meaningful way to get involved, and it will take just a few minutes. Visit Michigan.gov/PublicLands and use the interactive map to drop a pin on the location of the public lands you value most.

When you drop your pin, you will be invited to complete a three-question survey telling us why public lands matter to you. The results of the survey will assist in the development of the updated strategy.

You also can share your input via email at DNR-LandStrategy@Michigan.gov.

Comment on 2021 forest road maps by Aug. 31

Online maps of forest roads are updated each year on April 1 to share which roads are open and closed for public use by off-road and conventional vehicles. The process is ongoing, and comments on maps may be submitted at any time. Comments submitted on or before Aug. 31 will be incorporated into the 2021 maps. View the current status of forest roads and submit comments at Michigan.gov/ForestRoads.

Contribute your story to ‘Collecting COVID-19’

There is no question that the coronavirus emergency that is so deeply affecting our lives is a significant history-making time. The Michigan History Center is collecting the stories of diverse Michiganders so that the record we preserve in 2020 will help future generations understand what it felt like to live through this time. Share your stories, pictures, videos and audio recordings at Michigan.gov/MHCStories.