DNR Get Involved: state park volunteering, state forest input, public land review

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DNR Get Involved - June 2021

stream running through forest

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

Help remove invasive species, restore natural areas at state parks

volunteer clearing invasive plants in wooded area

Several state parks in southern Michigan will host volunteer stewardship workdays in June. 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.

Workdays will take place:

  • Saturday, June 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Saturday, June 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
  • Sunday, June 6, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Sunday, June 6, 1 to 3 p.m. at Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County)
  • Saturday, June 12, 9 a.m. to noon at Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Saturday, June 12, noon to 2 p.m. at Ludington State Park (Mason County)
  • Sunday, June 13, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Sunday, June 13, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County)
  • Sunday, June 20, 1 to 4 p.m. at Holland State Park (Ottawa County)
  • Saturday, June 26, 9 a.m. to noon at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
  • Sunday, June 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Wednesday, June 30, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County)

More details about each workday can be found on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Take part in state forest planning process

DNR employee working on prescribed burn

The DNR responsibly manages 3.9 million acres of state forest land using such techniques as timber harvests, tree thinning, planting and prescribed burns to keep forests thriving and healthy.

To make the work more efficient and easier to oversee, the DNR divides those millions of acres into 15 forest management units, which are further divided into compartments. Management activity in each forest management unit is finalized two years in advance, and each compartment is formally reviewed once every 10 years. This summer and fall, recommendations for 2023 are being presented.

At this time, open houses planned for 2021 will be virtual, with input invited by email, phone or mail during the designated time frame. This gives people the opportunity to offer input to foresters, wildlife biologists and other DNR professionals regarding forest plans.

After the end of each comment period, a public compartment review meeting will take place, where foresters present the DNR’s final decisions on management activities. The DNR reviews 10% of the state forest annually. That equates to about 400,000 acres or roughly 220 compartments. 

For more information, including a link to the interactive forest map showing details of all forest management activities, visit Michigan.gov/ForestInput.

Below are the comment periods taking place in June and the related compartment reviews. Contact the area unit manager to make arrangements to view the compartment review meeting online or listen over the phone.

  • Gaylord: Comments May 17-June 16; compartment review is July 15. Contact Lucas Merrick, 989-732-3541, ext. 5440.
  • Atlanta: Comments June 8-July 8; compartment review is Aug. 5. Contact Cody Stevens, 989-785-4251.

See a full comment period schedule.

Help shape the decisions that affect your public lands

Man and two kids on platform overlooking Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Want to learn more about the DNR’s state land review process and how the department makes decisions about which parcels best meet its mission to provide public access to quality outdoor recreation opportunities? Mark your calendar for upcoming meetings (June 8 and 9) where DNR land managers will discuss recommendations for the second group of 10 counties under review: Antrim, Arenac, Grand Traverse, Hillsdale, Iosco, Iron, Kalamazoo, Luce, Ontonagon and Van Buren.

Initial recommendations, reached after extensive review of the land parcels, fall into four classifications: “retain” in state ownership; “offer” for possible ownership to local government or conservation partner; “exchange” for another parcel; or “dispose” via public auction.

The same information will be shared at each meeting; there is no need to attend both. For more on either meeting, contact Scott Whitcomb at 231-373-3007.

The state land review was implemented as part of the 2013 DNR-managed public land strategy and involves review of certain isolated parcels of state land. Check out the DNR’s public land strategy webpage for more details about the process.

Note: The first 10 counties – Berrien, Branch, Cass, Charlevoix, Chippewa, Dickinson, Alpena, St. Joseph, Gogebic and Leelanau – are nearing the end of the review process, with the DNR director expected to make a final decision about recommendations at the July 15 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.

Public comments on these recommendations will be accepted through July 14 via the interactive map or email at DNR-StateLandReview@Michigan.gov.

Support Michigan state parks and boating

Love boating and state parks? You can give back! Support Michigan state parks by donating to your favorite place, project or program, and help enhance Michigan’s boating opportunities with a donation for waterways infrastructure updates.

Leave firewood at home to protect trees

Wherever your travels take you this summer, help prevent the spread of tree-killing insects and diseases that can move with firewood. Buy firewood near where you will burn it – use FirewoodScout.org to find a vendor near your destination.