DNR News: State park jobs, small game hunting, 'Wildtalk' podcast & more

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News Digest - Week of Jan. 11, 2021

sunlight streams through trees with fresh snow on the ground

Some of this week's stories may reflect the impact of COVID-19 and how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customers' needs and protect public health and safety. We will continue to share news and information about the best ways to enjoy our state's natural and cultural resources.

Follow our COVID-19 response page for FAQs and updates on access to facilities and programs. For 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 DNR:

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 are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: frozen Tahquamenon River

a view of the frozen Tahquamenon River in Michigan's eastern Upper Peninsula

Want to see more gorgeous pictures like this (taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Erick Rooker)? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the nearly two dozen photo ambassadors! For more on the program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Hiring now for 1,000-plus jobs in state park, recreation facilities

A masked, female DNR parks and recreation seasonal worker helps a woman with camping check-in

Each year, the DNR Parks and Recreation Division looks to hire roughly 1,200 seasonal park workers and more than 50 seasonal park rangers to help deliver memory-making outdoor experiences at state parks, state forest campgrounds, harbors and other DNR-managed recreation facilities throughout spring, summer and fall. The push for the 2021 season is on now!

Seasonal park workers are key employees who provide customer service and perform important park duties like answering visitor questions, registering campers, cleaning park buildings and mowing grass. Workers earn between $10 and $11.60 an hour and may qualify for academic/internship credit.

Seasonal park rangers (commissioned and noncommissioned) are frontline staff carrying out day-to-day operations and maintenance and other essential duties. They help train and direct seasonal staff and volunteers and maintain grounds, infrastructure and equipment. Park rangers receive state employment benefits and are paid between $17.75 and $24.95 an hour.

“If you love the outdoors, these positions could be your calling,” said Michael Desnoyer, PRD administrative services section chief. “Not only do you get to spend your workday alongside campers, hikers and boaters, but these jobs can lead to greater opportunity. Many DNR parks and recreation employees started out in seasonal roles and then transitioned to park supervisors, accountants, trail coordinators and many other positions.”

Learn more about these opportunities – and other openings throughout the department – at Michigan.gov/DNRJobs. Applicants are asked to select the work location(s) in which they are most interested.

Questions? Contact Michael Desnoyer at 517-242-2194.

Small game hunting means big opportunity to enjoy outdoors

View from behind of an adult and youth hunter, dressed in hunter orange, and a dog in the snowy woods

Looking for an excuse to get out in the winter woods? Take advantage of small game hunting seasons – including cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, fox and gray squirrel – continuing through March 31.

"Small game opportunities throughout the state give hunters the chance to experience some of the best of what Michigan's winter has to offer," said Adam Bump, DNR small game specialist.

Bump also suggested that anyone looking for a new destination for small game hunting should check out Michigan GEMS – the 19 grouse enhanced management sites serving as premier hunting locations throughout the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. Explore these resources at Michigan.gov/GEMS.

To get started:

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

Ready for new DNR 'Wildtalk'? Check out January podcast

a white snowy owl in flight against a steely blue winter sky and bare trees

With an astounding 1.75 million available podcasts out there on just about every topic, how do you decide? Well, if you’re looking for a listen on all things habitat, feathers and fur, check out "Wildtalk" from the DNR Wildlife Division – a new episode comes out the first of each month!

“We’re really excited for this year’s lineup of interviews and topics,” said Rachel Leightner, one of the podcast's hosts. “January's episode features a conversation with Nick Buggia, chair of the Michigan Wildlife Council.”

The council is a governor-appointed, nine-member public body that works to promote the importance of wildlife conservation and its role in preserving Michigan’s great outdoor heritage for future generations.

This month, "Wildtalk" hosts also will talk about wildlife and habitat work happening around the state, shine a spotlight on the snowy owl and answer listener questions from the mailbag. As always, listeners will get the chance to win a signature camp mug.

“These mugs are very popular,” said host Hannah Schauer. “The only way you can get one is to listen to the podcast each month.”

Catch the program on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or on your computer at Michigan.gov/DNRWildtalk. Past episodes, show notes and transcripts are available there, too.

Curious to learn more about how the podcast is made? Take a look at the Showcasing the DNR story “Behind the scenes of the 'Wildtalk' podcast.”

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.


Go birding. Watch a vintage base ball game. Clean up a stream. We've thought up 100 ways to celebrate the DNR's centennial anniversary this year!


If your license plate tab renewal is coming up soon, remember to check YES for the Recreation Passport and get year-round access to outdoor fun.


The Michigan Natural Resources Commission meets virtually Jan. 14 to talk about elk season results, the state forest roads inventory and more. Join us! 

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