DNR News: Forest roads, #ADA30, water safety and fishing harvest registration

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News Digest - Week of Aug. 3, 2020

Pigeon River header

Give your feedback on forest roads by Aug.31 for consideration on the 2021 maps.

Some of the items in this week's news digest reflect the impact of COVID-19 and how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is adapting to meet customers' needs. Public health and safety are our biggest priorities, and we will continue to share news and information about the safest, and sometimes new, ways to enjoy our state's natural and cultural resources.

Follow our COVID-19 response page for FAQs and updates on facilities and reopening dates. For the latest public health guidelines and news, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Here's a look at some of this week's stories from the Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and additional ones, are available in this folder.

Anglers must register muskie, lake sturgeon harvests


If you’re fishing for lake sturgeon and muskellunge this season, don’t forget to register your harvest within 24 hours — it’s required. You can register two ways: online at Michigan.gov/RegisterFish, or by calling the new number at 906-287-0816.

“Anglers who register their catch provide important information for resource managers, including details about where the fish was caught and how large it was,” said Cory Kovacs, DNR fisheries biologist. “That type of detail helps us appropriately manage these important species.”

Registering your harvest online or by phone should take only a few minutes. Please keep in mind that fish registrations are not accepted at any state fish hatcheries or DNR field offices. Registrations are currently not accepted at DNR customer service centers due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The harvest season for muskellunge opened June 6 and lake sturgeon opened July 16 this year. You can find season end dates and waters open for these two species in the 2020 Fishing Guide. For information on purchasing your 2020 Michigan fishing license, visit Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses.

Have feedback on forest roads? Submit comments for 2021 by Aug. 31

Pigeon River Forest Road

State forest roads open the door to recreation on millions of acres of rugged state forest land. To make sure people know which roads are open or closed to public use (both for off-road and conventional vehicles), the DNR annually updates its online maps on April 1.  

That updating process is ongoing, and comments on maps may be submitted at any time. Feedback received by Aug. 31 will be considered as the 2021 maps are developed. These comments help the DNR decide which roads should be open or closed to off-road vehicles.

Updates may include decisions to open or close a road to ORV or conventional vehicle traffic, or to update a road’s status. Typically, these decisions are made to protect damaged natural resources, ensure public safety due to road conditions or fix data errors. 

Currently, about 12,300 miles of forest roads are open to the public. View the status of forest roads and submit comments on an interactive map at Michigan.gov/ForestRoads, or email comments to DNR-RoadInventoryProject@Michigan.gov. 

Questions? Contact Kristen Matson or Timothy Webb.

Stay safe on the water with these tips, resources

Safety graphic

It’s a message that bears repeating, especially during the final stretch of Michigan summer. When swimming, kayaking, boating or fishing, put safety first and never underestimate weather, water conditions or the value of a life jacket. 

Strong currents can happen in all water types and depths, even shallow water. Lt. Gerald Thayer, the DNR’s district law supervisor in southwest Michigan, suggests that if you’re unsure about conditions, check with local authorities or an area boat rental, marina or outdoor gear retailer. Above all, pay attention. 

“We have been in situations where divers are searching for a missing swimmer, and people are still swimming nearby, offshore where there are red flags. Or they jump off piers and bridges, unaware they’re jumping into rough water,” Thayer said. “When us Michiganders go to the ocean, we take notice of the warnings about rip currents or other possible dangerous conditions because we approach the ocean with respect, but we forget our own Great Lakes can be just as dangerous at times.” 

Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Check the Great Lakes Surface Currents Map for real-time visuals of currents in the Great Lakes, or river flow rates through the U.S. Geological Survey. 
  • Make sure your boat, kayak or canoe is properly equipped with life jackets, fire extinguishers and a first aid kit, plus nautical charts if you’re on the Great Lakes. 
  • Leave a float plan, including your planned route and scheduled check-in times, with someone on shore. 

See a more complete list of swimming and boating safety tips and information about Michigan’s life jacket laws at the DNR’s Michigan.gov/Boating page. 

Questions? Contact Lt. Gerald Thayer, 269-685-6851.

ICYMI: Americans with Disabilities Act commemorates 30th anniversary

ADA 30 year

The State of Michigan is honoring the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act by holding a series of virtual events throughout the year. Everyone is invited to take part in these events, which highlight the accessible programs, services and activities available in our state. This yearlong commemoration serves to connect with the disability community and re-establish the state’s commitment to ensuring accessibility in 2020 and beyond.

Show your support for ADA 30 virtual events and the Michigan disability community by sharing your story on social media and using the hashtags #ADA30 and #MiADA30.

Find upcoming events and explore more information at Michigan.gov/ADA30.


Summer's in full swing, but some shorebird species are already starting their fall migration. Watch these birds begin their journey at Michigan's Wetland Wonders.


Reserved waterfowl hunting applications are available Aug.1-28. Applications are just $5 and can be purchased at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses or anywhere licenses are sold.


Do you and your friends have a favorite state park? Apply for the Adopt-a-Park program and help care for your park through a variety of volunteer projects. 

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.

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