DNR News: Hunting & Fishing Day, Pistons tree giveaway, Trails Week Challenge

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News Digest - Week of Sept. 20, 2021

fall color

Fall colors are on their way – plan your trip with the DNR's fall color tour map!

This week's stories may reflect how the Department of Natural Resources has adapted to meet customer needs and protect public health and safety. Follow our COVID-19 response page for updates on access to facilities and programs.  

We'll continue to share news and information about the best ways to discover and enjoy Michigan's natural and heritage resources! Here's a look at some of this week's stories:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Autumn sun at Maybury State Park

Maybury SP

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Ana Easlick at Maybury State Park in Wayne County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

National Hunting and Fishing Day is Sept. 25

fall hunting

Established in 1972, National Hunting and Fishing Day celebrates and recognizes hunters and anglers for their immense contributions to fish and wildlife conservation and to our society.

Michigan provides a unique opportunity for 675,000 hunters and 1.2 million anglers who annually enjoy an abundance of land and more than 11,000 inland lakes, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and 3,300 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. 

“The Michigan Department of Natural Resources would like to thank every single hunter and angler in our state,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “Together, our community of conservationists provides better habitat for a diversity of fish and wildlife species, better protections for our natural resources and improved opportunities for hunting and fishing recreation.” 

fall fishing

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation to mark Sept. 25 as Hunting and Fishing Day in Michigan to recognize their importance and to bring awareness to conservation efforts driven by hunters and anglers. 

Hunting and fishing benefit Michigan’s economy by annually generating $11.2 billion, and this spending supports more than 171,000 jobs in Michigan.  

On Sept. 25, head out for a day of fun in the field or on the water. Just make sure you have a 2021 hunting or fishing license with you when you go. Licenses can be purchased at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses

Whether you’re a seasoned hunter, avid angler or a beginner, review safety tips at Michigan.gov/DNR under the Education and Safety tab in addition to reviewing rules and regulations at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests.  

DNR, Detroit Pistons teamed up to bring trees to families

pistons tree

Following a tree giveaway event last week at the Outdoor Adventure Center in downtown Detroit, 150 new trees are making their way into neighborhoods by car and bike, on foot and even by boat. In partnership with the DNR, The Greening of Detroit and the Detroit Pistons planned and organized the event.

During the 2019-2020 basketball season, the Pistons’ “Threes for Trees” promotion put aside money for community trees each time a Pistons player made a 3-point shot. Although the final tree distribution event was delayed by the pandemic, the trees are now finding homes just in time to add to Michigan’s fall color season.

“The maple, oak and hornbeam trees we shared with the community will shade and beautify neighborhoods,” said Kevin Sayers, Urban and Community Forestry program leader for the DNR.

Families gathered at the event to pick out the perfect trees for their yards and pack them with care into cars, onto bikes and on the decks of boats in the nearby marina to get them home.

The family-friendly giveaway featured an appearance by Pistons mascot Hooper, forest-themed takeaway activities by the DNR and tree-planting advice from The Greening of Detroit, a local nonprofit working to bring the benefits of healthy trees to the city.

Trees are important for urban areas because they bring natural beauty to neighborhoods, clean the air by absorbing pollutants, filter stormwater to keep rivers and lakes healthy, and provide habitat for local wildlife like birds and butterflies.

The DNR works with a variety of organizations to promote the benefits of trees in urban areas. Learn more about: 

Questions? Contact Kevin Sayers at 517-582-3209.

Trek a trail during Michigan Trails Week Challenge

fall bike ride family

Michigan Trails Week is upon us, and so is the Michigan Trails Week Challenge! Whether you're into hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, off-roading or paddling, this is the week to get out on your favorite trail or explore someplace new.

With more than 13,000 miles of state-designated trails in Michigan, it’s easy to find a great trail experience near you.

No matter how you like to travel the trails, everyone's invited to contribute their miles toward a statewide, collective goal of 100,000 miles. Just register online and log your miles spent on any local, county, state or federally managed trail to earn virtual badges and be entered in a drawing for cool outdoor gear and Michigan-branded prizes. You can earn a virtual badge when you register for the challenge and log at least 1 mile, and then every time you:

  • Bike 10 miles.
  • Horseback ride 5 miles.
  • Paddle 2 miles.
  • Ride (ORV, ATV or motorcycle) 15 miles.
  • Walk, run or hike 5 miles.

Find trails, etiquette tips, state land rules and more on the DNR’s state trails page. Questions? Contact Michelle O’Kelly at 517-881-5884.

Take a fall color tour with the DNR as your guide

fall color map

Peak fall colors are on the way, which means Michigan’s nearly 20 million acres of forest land are ready to put on their annual show, enticing visitors and residents on road trips around the state.

Predictions are showing colors are ahead of schedule and will move through Michigan by mid-October, which means you’ll want to plan early to ensure you make the most of the trees’ dazzling displays of reds, oranges, golds and greens. We’re ready to help you enjoy the season with our map of ideas to plan your very own fall color tour.

As the colors peak in your area, head out to fish for salmon, take in some Michigan history at state parks and museums, hunt at one of our Grouse Enhanced Management Sites or take a heart-pumping color tour on an ORV trail. If you’re looking for something a little more serene, maybe an evening spent on a leisurely hike watching migrating sandhill cranes or elk viewing is more your speed.

Whatever your pace, we’ve got ideas for this spectacular season. Michigan is the place to be to experience all the colors of fall. We’ll see you outside.

Questions? Contact the DNR Public Information Office at

National Public Lands Day, Sept. 25: A day to give back

forest cleanup

Every year, on the fourth Saturday in September, we celebrate National Public Lands Day – the country’s largest, single-day volunteer effort centered around public lands. It’s a great opportunity for people to devote a day to caring for public green and wild spaces, including parks, trails, hunting lands and forests.

In Michigan, with an abundance of public lands where people can stretch out, explore the outdoors and reconnect with themselves and nature, we are more fortunate than most. If you appreciate these amazing resources, how about showing some love this Saturday? You’ll feel good while doing some good!

Not sure where to start? Visit Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers, where you’ll find dozens of ways to lend a hand. Options include:

  • Stewardship workdays: Help restore and maintain fragile, native ecosystems in more than 20 state parks across southern Michigan.
  • Adopt-a-Forest: Clean up illegal dump sites and increase awareness of recycling opportunities for waste materials found at these sites.
  • Invasive species reporting: Whenever you visit public lands in Michigan, look for and report invasive species that threaten our woods and water.

The DNR is proud to care for approximately 4.6 million acres of public lands owned by Michigan residents. These include state forests (3.9 million acres), state parks (357,000 acres) and state game and wildlife areas (364,000 acres). If you’d like to learn more about these resources, visit Michigan.gov/PublicLands.

The staff and volunteers who help maintain these public resources welcome more assistance on National Public Lands Day and all year long. Hope to see you out there!


Get a spooky start to the season Sept. 24-25 with a paranormal event at Fayette Historic State Park rain or shine. Learn how to be a paranormal investigator at this historic townsite. Register now!


The Underground Railroad Heritage Gathering has upcoming virtual programs and culminates with an all-day event in Ann Arbor Oct. 2. Registration is $12 and includes a boxed lunch.


There's still time to give input on the DNR's 2023 state forest management plan. See the input schedule and submit your comments via the MI State Forest Map or contact a unit manager.