DNR News: Arctic grayling milestone, archery deer opener, forest cleanup success

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News Digest - Week of Sept. 28, 2020

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The Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative just reached another milestone.

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.

Marquette move marks Arctic grayling milestone


Sept. 17 was a big day for the state’s fisheries, and another crucial step toward reintroducing Arctic grayling to Michigan waters. The first year-class (a group of young fish produced during one year) of future broodstock was transferred from an isolated rearing facility at Oden State Fish Hatchery near Petoskey to Marquette State Fish Hatchery. Approximately 4,000 fish, averaging 6.5 inches long, made the trip to Marquette.  

The occasion marked a significant milestone in the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative – a collaborative effort to bring this native fish back to the Great Lakes State.

Before the northern Lower Peninsula was heavily lumbered in the mid- to late 1800s, Arctic grayling was the dominant species of salmonids – belonging to the salmon family – found in cold-water streams. They disappeared from Michigan due to over-fishing, habitat loss from the timber practices of the day and competing with and being preyed on by introduced species like brown trout.  

“This is a really exciting day for the initiative,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “A lot of planning and work has gone into this program, and it’s great to see it moving forward.”  

Roughly 10,000 eggs collected from Chena River, a tributary to Alaska’s Yukon River, were brought to Michigan in spring 2019. Because the eggs originated from outside of the Great Lakes basin, they had to be quarantined until three separate health exams could be completed to ensure a new pathogen won’t inadvertently be introduced to Michigan’s waters. Before the Oden hatchery could house the grayling, it had to be outfitted with an ultraviolet filter on the outflow from the isolation facility to provide protection against the spread of unknown pathogens.

Growing Arctic grayling need water temperatures that change with the season, and the water source for the Marquette hatchery mimics their natural environment. Now that the fish have arrived at Marquette State Fish Hatchery, staff will care for this group of grayling until the fish are ready to begin producing eggs, usually when they are 4-6 years old.  

While COVID-19 forced a hiatus in development of the Arctic grayling broodstock, the DNR plans to send staff back to Alaska in 2021 and 2022 for two more year-classes of eggs.

For more on this exciting initiative, visit MiGrayling.org or contact Ed Eisch at 231-499-4118.

Archery deer season opens Thursday


Hunters, get ready to take to the woods. Archery deer season opens Thursday, and is open statewide Oct. 1 through Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 through Jan. 1.

Archery deer hunters in the Lower Peninsula have the option to take antlerless deer with their deer or deer combo license. In the Upper Peninsula, hunters now can take an antlerless deer with either a deer or deer combo license during the archery season, except in deer management units 027, 031, 036, 042, 066, 127 and 131.

Check the 2020 Hunting Digest at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests for deer hunting regulations, including information on the types of deer you can shoot in each season and any antler point restrictions that may be in place. Overall, conditions are looking excellent for the upcoming deer seasons. Check out the DNR's annual deer hunting preview, which includes regional forecasts.

Learn more about deer management and hunting at Michigan.gov/Deer.

Adopt-a-Forest meets cleanup goal, shares 'Forest Fun Map-N-Tour' app


This summer, DNR Adopt-a-Forest program organizers launched a challenge to complete 100 trash site cleanups on public forest lands in 100 days. Now, they are celebrating the completion of the forest cleanup challenge – with 151 cleanups in the books, it’s a success! More than 459 cubic yards of trash were removed from forests in 29 counties during the campaign.

A partnership with Michigan Cares for Tourism brought the challenge over the finish line, the group's network of tourism professionals contributing to making Michigan a great place to visit. Volunteers from tourism bureaus, hotels and recreation industries spread out into state forests to pick up tires, shingles and other trash polluting the landscape.

“It is the mission of Michigan Cares for Tourism to help breathe life into Michigan’s historic, cultural and natural attractions through our annual volunteer clean-up events,” said Patty Janes, Michigan Cares for Tourism coordinator. “Partnering with Adopt-a-Forest gave our tourism industry volunteers an opportunity to give back and help carry our mission forward.”

Michigan Cares for Tourism and the DNR also collaborated to add a Forest Fun series of pins to the “Map-N-Tour” app, sharing forestry-related historic and natural attractions with travelers. Visit the Map-N-Tour website or add the Forest Fun tour and others to your phone via the Map-N-Tour app. The app will ping your phone and provide visitor information when you travel near interesting forest sites like Hartwick Pines, the Fireman’s Memorial and the Manistee High Rollaway.

Although the 100-in-100 challenge is closed, Adopt-a-Forest is a year-round program, and volunteers can join any time by visiting CleanForests.org. Volunteers are essential to helping keep Michigan’s forests beautiful for present and future generations.

Learn more about Michigan’s 19.3 million acres of forests at Michigan.gov/StateForests

ICYMI: McLain State Park voted best campsite by Lake Superior Magazine readers


In case you missed it, F.J. McLain State Park in Houghton County was recently honored by the readers of Lake Superior Magazine. The park was named “Best Camping Site” in the magazine’s 2020 Best of the Lake awards published in its August/September issue. Lake Superior Magazine launched these awards in 1993 to bring attention and recognition to establishments, organizations, attractions and locations around Lake Superior. Previous recipients have included Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Keweenaw County.


Fall in Michigan is a brilliant display of gold, bronze, and crimson; use our new fall color map to plan your color tour and peek at these peak forest colors!


As more hunting seasons open, safety is top priority. If you don't already have a hunter safety certificate, you can take an online hunter safety course.


Make your voice heard. Weigh in on strategy for more than 4 million acres of DNR-managed public lands at virtual public meetings Sept. 30, Oct. 1.

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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