DNR Get Involved: state park volunteer opportunities, state forest input, more

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DNR Get Involved - August 2021

Road through forest

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

Help remove invasive species, restore natural areas at state parks

volunteers in forest holding trash bags

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

  • Sunday, Aug. 1, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 8, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 14, 9 a.m. to noon at Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 15, 8:30 to 11 a.m. at Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Friday, Aug. 20, 1 to 4 p.m. at Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 21, 9 a.m. to noon at Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 21, 10 a.m. to noon at Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 22, 1 to 3 p.m. at Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 28, 10 a.m. to noon at Holland State Park (Ottawa County)
  • Saturday, Aug. 28, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 29, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw County)
  • Sunday, Aug. 29, 1 to 3 p.m. at Hoffmaster State Park (Muskegon 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

Man operating heavy equipment to harvest tree

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. This summer and fall, recommendations for 2023 are being presented.

Open houses for 2021 are 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 August 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.
  • Roscommon: Comments through Aug. 11; compartment review is Sept. 14. Doug Bates, 989-275-5151, ext. 2722740.
  • Sault Ste. Marie: Comments Aug. 16-Sept. 15; compartment review is Oct. 5. Contact Karen Rodock, 906-875-1039.
  • Gwinn: Comments Aug. 22-Sept. 21; compartment review is Oct. 12. Contact Kristen Matson, 906-346-9201.
  • Shingleton: Comments Aug. 31-Sept. 30; compartment review is Oct. 14. Contact Bob Burnham, 906-420-1645.
  • Escanaba: Comments through Aug. 10; compartment review is Aug. 31. Eric Thompson, 906-786-2354, ext. 142.
  • Crystal Falls: Comments Aug. 17-Sept. 16; compartment review is Oct. 28. Dan McNamee, 906-875-6622.

See a full comment period schedule.

Give your opinion on latest state land review recommendations

bicyclists on paved trail

Staff recommendations on whether to keep, exchange or sell land in the second set of 10 counties in the DNR’s state land review process are nearing DNR director approval, but there’s still plenty of time to review and share feedback via the interactive web map or by email to DNR-StateLandReview@Michigan.gov by Sept. 15.

The counties under review include Antrim, Arenac, Grand Traverse, Hillsdale, Iosco, Iron, Kalamazoo, Luce, Ontonagon and Van Buren. The updated web map reflects the latest staff recommendations since the initial public comment period closed, making it easy for people to see what has changed.

The state land review was implemented as part of the 2013 Managed Public Land Strategy and involves the review of DNR-managed lands that are 200 acres or less in size or that, due to an irregular boundary, may be difficult to manage.

“This county-by-county review process provides us the opportunity to evaluate and make decisions about how well the current land portfolio supports our mission of protecting natural resources while providing broad public access to quality outdoor recreation opportunities,” said DNR forest land administrator Kerry Wieber. “It’s critical that people who enjoy and use these lands are a part of the discussion, and we appreciate everyone who has taken the time to get involved so far.”

All feedback received now through Sept. 15 will be compiled and provided to the DNR director. A final decision on recommendations is expected at the Sept. 16 meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.

Follow the latest updates on the state land review process at Michigan.gov/PublicLands.

Become a volunteer scientist

man and three young girls measuring base of large tree

Community science – or community members collecting data and observations – helps researchers and natural resource managers learn more about wildlife, invasive species, water quality, the effects of climate change and much more.

We’ve put together a webpage with a variety of ways, around Michigan and around the world, to get involved in community science projects – from finding big trees to counting birds to gathering water data.

Check out our list of community science opportunities and find out how you can help.

Comment on 2022 forest road maps by Aug. 31

Online maps of forest roads are updated each year on April 1 to share which roads are open and closed for public use by off-road and conventional vehicles. The process is ongoing, and comments on maps may be submitted at any time. Comments submitted on or before Aug. 31 will be considered for incorporation into the 2022 maps. View the current status of forest roads and submit comments.

Support waterfowl and wetland conservation

The 2021 collector's-edition Michigan duck stamp and prints – featuring a drake wood duck painted by wildlife artist John M. Roberts – are now available. Proceeds will be used to fund projects for the Michigan Duck Hunters Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to waterfowl and wetland conservation, with 10% used to match DNR funding for purchasing, restoring and enhancing wetlands.