DNR Events: Trails Week Challenge, Underground Railroad Heritage Gathering

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DNR Events - September 2021

Two people hiking on a wooded trail

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

Take the Michigan Trails Week Challenge

Three ORVs on a road with fall foliage

Michigan Trails Week – a time to celebrate our 13,000 miles of state-designated trails, thousands of miles of local, county and federally managed trails, and more rail-trail miles than any state in the nation – is Sept. 19-26.

It’s the perfect time to hit your favorite trail or find an all-new adventure. Join us to collectively travel 100,000 miles on trails across the state and earn badges (and maybe some prizes) along the way.

The 2021 Michigan Trails Week Challenge is open to trail veterans and newcomers alike – and it's free! Simply log your miles spent on any local, county, state or federally managed trail. For each badge earned, you'll be entered in a drawing for cool outdoor gear and Michigan-branded prizes!

Earn a badge when you register for the challenge and log at least 1 mile, and then every time you bike for 10 miles, horseback ride for 5 miles, paddle for 2 miles, ride (ORV, ATV or motorcycle) for 15 miles, or walk, run or hike for 5 miles.

Register for the Michigan Trails Week Challenge and help us hit 100,000 miles.

Explore Michigan's Underground Railroad history

Underground Railroad monument in Battle Creek

The Michigan Freedom Trail Commission's fourth annual Underground Railroad Heritage Gathering kicks off with weekly virtual presentations in September and culminates with a day-long event at the University of Michigan Oct. 2.

September virtual programs

To commemorate International Underground Railroad Month, four Thursday evening programs will explore the rescues of four enslaved people in Michigan in 1847. The programs, which run 7-8:30 p.m., are free and will take place via Zoom. Preregistration is required, and each presentation has its own registration link.

Annual Heritage Gathering

The annual daylong conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.

Like in previous years, the day is aimed at networking, information sharing and developing next steps in a statewide Underground Railroad collaborative. Join us and become part of the conversation! Registration for the day is $12 and includes a boxed lunch.

Register for the Heritage Gathering.

Organizers are monitoring current developments with the COVID-19 pandemic and are investigating options to make virtual sessions possible in addition to, or in place of, an in-person event. More information will be available soon.

For more information about the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission and the fourth annual heritage gathering, visit Michigan.gov/FreedomTrail.

Learn about forest health with RAM Center weekend

DNR staffer showing group of kids how to identify a tree

Join us at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon Sept. 24-26 for Family Tree: A Forest Health Education Event.

During this inclusive weekend education event, you can learn about forests and forest health from DNR experts – how DNR foresters care for and maintain forests and how you can care for the trees that live near your home. Let us know what you want to learn at this event by taking our survey.

Cost is $140 per person, which includes two nights of lodging, five meals, two bonfire snacks and all education experiences. Price reduced for children under age 10.

Book your stay by calling 989-821-6200 or emailing MacmullanCenter@Michigan.gov. For details about education activities, email HigginsL4@michigan.gov.

Nestled on the northern shore of Higgins Lake, the RAM Center is now open to families, individuals or small groups of up to two households to enjoy lodging and outdoor and education programs. Learn more at Michigan.gov/RAMCenter.

Learn how to fly fish with Outdoor Skills Academy

Join the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy for the Women 'n Waders fly fishing class at Bay City State Park Sept. 11 and learn basic skills like knot tying, setting up equipment, angler etiquette, casting, fly tying and access points for trout fishing. Geared toward the beginner, but all women anglers are welcome!

Plan an elk viewing excursion

Elk are more active during the early fall breeding season, throughout September and October, making it the perfect time to view the wild herd. Grab your binoculars or camera and plan your route through the 13 elk viewing locations in northeast Michigan. Learn more about elk and elk viewing.