DNR Get Involved: state park volunteer opportunities, input on state forests

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DNR Get Involved - July 2021

volunteer with trash bag in field near forest

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

Help restore natural areas at state parks

Volunteers with invasive knapweed at Grand Mere State Park

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

Workdays will take place:

  • Saturday, July 10, 10 a.m. to noon at Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County).
  • Saturday, July 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County).
  • Sunday, July 11, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County).
  • Sunday, July 11, 1 to 3 p.m. at Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County).
  • Thursday, July 15, 8:30 to 11 a.m. at Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County).
  • Saturday, July 17, 10 a.m. to noon at Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon County).
  • Saturday, July 24, 10 a.m. to noon at Grand Mere State Park (Berrien County).
  • Sunday, July 25, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County).
  • Sunday, July 25, 1 to 3 p.m. at Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County).
  • Saturday, July 31, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County).

More details about each workday and how to register can be found on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Take part in state forest planning process

sun shining through forest

The DNR responsibly manages 3.9 million acres of state forest land using such techniques as timber harvests, 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 are being held virtually, with input invited by email, phone or mail during the designated time frame. This gives people the opportunity to offer feedback 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 July 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.

  • Cadillac: Comments through Aug. 4; compartment review is Sept. 7. Contact Dave Fisher, 231-745-4651, ext. 6946.
  • Escanaba: Comments July 11-Aug. 10; compartment review is Aug. 31. Eric Thompson, 906-786-2354, ext. 142.
  • Gladwin: Comments through July 21; compartment review is July 27. Contact Patrick Mohney, 989-387-8189.
  • Pigeon River Country: Comments through July 20; compartment review is Aug. 17. Contact Mark Monroe, 989-329-9827.
  • Roscommon: Comments July 12-Aug. 11; compartment review is Sept. 14. Doug Bates, 989-275-5151, ext. 2722740.
  • Traverse City: Comments through July 14; compartment review is July 20. Contact Paul Roell, 231-384-0170.

See a full comment period schedule.

Help state parks get new track chairs

We’re raising funds to buy 16 new track chairs to expand access to state parks, trails and water for everyone. These off-road, electronic chairs – already available in seven state parks – can easily handle trails, snow, sand and even up to 8 inches of water, allowing users to explore areas of the parks where traditional wheelchairs might not. Support new track chairs.

Support hunting heritage by enrolling in HAP

The Hunting Access Program is enrolling private property in portions of the state through Sept. 1. HAP offers landowners payment for allowing controlled hunting access on their property, giving them the opportunity to support Michigan's rich hunting heritage while better managing wildlife on their land. Learn more about enrolling in HAP.