DNR Events: 'Three Free' Weekend, fishing/hunting classes, history sites open

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DNR Get Involved - June 2021

man with fishing rod and woman on wooded river bank

Here are a few ways to get out and enjoy Michigan’s natural and cultural resources in June. For a full list of events, see the Department of Natural Resources calendar at Michigan.gov/DNRCalendar

‘Three Free’ Weekend: Fishing, ORV riding and Recreation Passport

collage image with woman and boy fishing, ORVs on trail and boat on lake

June 12-13, residents and out-of-state visitors can fish, ride Michigan’s off-road trails or visit state parks and state-managed boating access sites – all for free.

Free Fishing Weekend: Two days twice a year, families and friends can enjoy one of Michigan's premier outdoor activities, Michigan fishing, for free! All fishing license fees will be waived for two days. Residents and out-of-state visitors may enjoy fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters for all species of fish. All fishing regulations will still apply. This year’s weekend includes a 4-H Youth Virtual Fishing Derby for kids ages 5-19 (no need to be a 4-H member).

Free ORV Weekend: Twice a year, residents and nonresidents legally can ride without buying an ORV license or trail permit during Free ORV Weekends (the second one is set for Aug. 21-22). All other ORV rules and laws still apply. Riders will have access to nearly 3,800 miles of off-road trails and the state's six scramble areas.

Waived Recreation Passport: A Recreation Passport will not be required for entry into state parks and boating access sites during ‘Three Free’ Weekend.

Classes offer chance to get into turkey, pheasant hunting and shooting sports

Boy shooting boy and arrow

Several state parks will host introductory classes in June to help newcomers get started with turkey and pheasant hunting and archery.

Intro to Turkey Hunting Clinic

This "A to Z" class, in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, will cover everything you need to know to get started hunting wild turkeys, including how to find a location, scouting, calling and gear. There also will be an intro to BB gun shooting, with top shooter awards handed out at the end.

BB Gun Shoot

Join us as we team up with the National Wild Turkey Federation for this intro to BB gun shooting class. Top shooter awards will be handed out at the end.

Archery 101

This introductory archery course, suitable for ages 5 and up, will consist of a brief educational portion, a “get to know your bow” segment and some active target shooting practice.

Rec 101: Pheasant Friday

Join representatives from Pheasants Forever and learn about firearm safety and this organization's effort to restore pheasant habitat. Participants will get a hands-on opportunity to shoot a BB gun with expert instruction in a safe environment and to take part in activities to learn about grasslands and pollinators.

‘Lodge and Learn’ about walleye fishing with Outdoor Skills Academy

Smiling girl holding walleye and her mom in boat

Starting this month, the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy will offer classes at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon – commonly known as the RAM Center – giving you an opportunity to add an overnight stay on the shores of on Higgins Lake to your outdoor recreation education experience.

The first class at the RAM Center will be the June 19 Walleye Fishing Clinic.

Pro walleye tournament angler Dan Miller will cover the ins and outs of walleye fishing in this class that will go through how Outdoor Skills Academy pro-staffers, Pure Fishing pros and others spend their day chasing trophy walleye. Learn about seasonal activities, how to set up your boat and more. DNR staff will be on hand to answer any rules and regulations questions you may have. Plus, tips from a master taxidermist on how to care for your trophy fish when you catch it and want to have it mounted.

Cost for the class is $45, which includes lunch and instruction. To register, go to Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses and click on the "Purchase a license" button. Sign in (using either a username and password or your ID and birthdate), and find the class under the Outdoor Skills Academy tab.

If you would like to stay the night, please contact the RAM Center at 989-821-6200 for reservations with meals included. Cost is $80 for an overnight stay with dinner and breakfast.

For more information about the clinic, contact the Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center at 231-779-1321.

The Outdoor Skills Academy offers in-depth, expert instruction, gear and hands-on learning for a range of outdoor activities at locations around the state. For a full schedule of upcoming classes, visit Michigan.gov/OutdoorSkills.

Many Michigan History Museum sites open for summer season

Two people walking with harbor and cliffs in background, seen through brick archway

With many of the Michigan History Center’s museums and historic sites around the state now open for the summer season, there are plenty of opportunities to explore Michigan’s stories wherever your travels take you.

Check out the following webpages for visitor information, including days/hours of operation (some locations have modified schedules due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic).

Cambridge Junction Historic State Park and Walker Tavern Historic Site (Brooklyn): Tour the site's three historic buildings, view exhibits about tourism and enjoy the natural landscape of the Irish Hills.

Father Marquette National Memorial at Straits State Park (St. Ignace): Tells the story of the 17th-century missionary-explorer and the meeting of French and Native American cultures deep in the North American wilderness.

Fayette Historic Townsite at Fayette Historic State Park (Garden): Once a bustling industrial community, Fayette offers historic buildings set among the unmatched serenity of a Lake Michigan harbor, white cliffs and verdant forests.

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park and Copper Harbor Lighthouse (Copper Harbor): The fort tells the story of life on the northern frontier during the mid-1800s. The park also includes the Copper Harbor lighthouses built in 1866 and 1868.

Hartwick Pines Logging Museum at Hartwick Pines State Park (Grayling): Situated among the towering trees of one of Michigan's largest remaining stands of virgin white pine, the museum depicts the state's 19th-century logging era.

Higgins Lake Nursery and CCC Museum at North Higgins Lake State Park (Roscommon): The museum tells the stories of Michigan's first tree nursery, as well as the Civilian Conservation Corps in Michigan.

Michigan Iron Industry Museum (Negaunee): Amid the forested ravines of the Marquette Iron Range, the museum overlooks the Carp River and the site of the first iron forge in the Lake Superior region.

Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park (Cass City): The park protects and interprets Michigan’s largest known collection of early Native American teachings carved in stone.

Tawas Point Lighthouse at Tawas Point State Park (East Tawas) A fascinating attraction for maritime buffs. The lighthouse is closed for 2021, but outdoor programming will be offered.

The Michigan History Museum and Archives of Michigan in Lansing will remain closed to the public at least through July 12. Keep an on the Michigan History Center website for reopening information.

Christmas in June

Have some holly jolly fun in the sun with Christmas in June at Fayette Historic State Park, with campsites decked out in holiday decor and Yuletide activities.

Recreate responsibly

Before you head outside, learn about steps you can take to keep you and your family, and the outdoors, safe. Recreate responsibly to stay safe and protect Michigan’s natural resources.