DNR News: Great Lakes Proud, wildlife moms, state parks plan

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News Digest - Week of May 8, 2023

Whisps of lilac and periwinkle waft through the sky over a dreamy lake, framed by summertime foliage.

Want to rep your fave state park? Check out our new merchandise partner, Great Lakes Proud!

Here are just a few of this week's stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources: 

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: Day's end at Dodge #4

Late evening clouds cast a rainbow of colors on a quiet shoreline.

Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Diane Wilks at Dodge #4 State Park in Oakland County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, email Stephanie Yancer.

Gear up for adventure with DNR's new statewide merchandise partner

A person wearing an olive green t-shirt with the words "campfire connessieur" hauls a bundle of firewood under one arm.

Looking for a cool new T-shirt, hoodie, sticker or other keepsake? Check out Great Lakes Proud, the DNR’s new official merchandise and apparel provider for Michigan state parks, trails and waterways.

Great Lakes Proud, a Traverse City-based company, will create and curate lifestyle merchandise and sustainably sourced apparel highlighting Michigan state parks, trails and boating. A portion of proceeds will be donated back to DNR programs and amenities that benefit natural resources and outdoor recreation in Michigan.

The partnership is part of "These Goods are Good for Michigan," a program that recognizes partners who help support state parks through a revenue-sharing agreement from merchandise sales.

“For more than a decade, we have sought creative ways to fulfill our mission,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. “Every point of contact is an opportunity to educate and inspire people to love and respect their public lands. Merchandise is as much of a point of contact as an interpretive panel or trail map, and by partnering with this Michigan-based business we are able to tap into their expertise to maximize this touch point with our visitors both on-site and online.”

Great Lakes Proud will roll out new merchandise all year, with initial offerings promoting Tahquamenon Falls to celebrate the launch of the park's new gift shop, morel mushrooms, tree rings and the simple message of “Peace, Love, Parks” among other unique designs.

“Great Lakes Proud sources sustainable options whenever possible and utilizes environmentally friendly manufacturing practices to provide an eco-conscious choice for consumers,” said Cory Wright, project manager and director of operations at Great Lakes Proud. “Whether that's using natural, water-based inks and dyes to avoid harsh chemical solvents, to finding organic or recycled fabrics to mitigate our carbon footprint, we are always striving to put our earth first and providing the highest quality options for our goods so they'll outlast traditionally manufactured products."

Visit Goods4Mi.com to see the DNR’s full collection of "These Goods are Good for Michigan" partners, including Great Lakes Proud.

Questions? Contact Maia Turek (DNR) at 989-225-8573 or Cory Wright (Great Lakes Proud) at 248-462-2152.

Wildlife moms don’t need our help

White-tailed deer fawn stands in front of its mother.

Springtime in Michigan marks the arrival of babies! It's an exciting time of new beginnings, particularly for wildlife. As baby birds, rabbits and deer start to make their grand entrance, it's important to be respectful and mindful of their space.

All wild mothers have strategies for how to best raise and protect their babies. If you come across young wildlife, do your part by simply leaving them alone. They may look abandoned, but mom is just away avoiding scary predators – like you! – until it’s time to feed them again.

An egg-citing surprise

Bird nests are found in all kinds of places, so don't be surprised to find one in a flowerpot, downspout or elsewhere in your backyard. Mallard ducks often build nests in unexpected places near people in cities and suburban neighborhoods. The mother duck will lead her ducklings to water soon after they hatch. If you spot a nest, be a good neighbor: Leave it alone and keep pets and children away. 

Remember, too, that bird nests and eggs are protected under federal law. It is illegal to touch, move or possess any part of the nest or eggs without the proper permit.

Watch your step

A mother deer’s best survival strategy for her fawn is to leave it unattended for several hours a day. She might leave the fawn near your home, or you may stumble upon it in your backyard, garden or patio.  

These babies are not forgotten; the mother carefully selects a location and will return periodically to feed her baby. By staying away, she avoids drawing attention to its hiding place. 

Young fawns have exceptional camouflage, almost no scent and remain still, making it difficult for predators to spot them. If you find a fawn – don’t touch it. Admire it quietly from a distance to increase its chance of survival. 

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless someone is licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal, including deer, in Michigan.

Find more tips about springtime wildlife at Michigan.gov/Wildlife or contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453. 

DNR’s state parks and recreation system five-year strategic plan updated

An aerial view of a shoreline, along which sits a state park complex.

After an 18-month collaborative effort with the public, advisory groups, stakeholders, other state agencies and DNR staff, Michigan’s state parks and recreation system now has an updated five-year strategic plan.

The 2023-2027 Parks and Recreation Division Strategic Plan ultimately identifies goals and objectives that will help prioritize actions that address resource protection, recreation, education, funding, efficient business practices and environmental sustainability over the five-year period.

"The plan will serve as a roadmap to best manage Michigan’s diverse natural, cultural and recreational resources and help us provide long-lasting memories for visitors seeking outdoor recreation experiences,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. “With park, trail and boating destinations located in urban and rural settings, we are proud to help contribute toward the state’s $26.3 billion tourism industry.”

The DNR Parks and Recreation Division manages 103 state parks and recreation areas, totaling 360,000 acres. It also oversees the state’s boating program, 13,400 miles of state-designated motorized and nonmotorized trails, 630 miles of state-designated water trails and 140 state forest campgrounds.

In 2021 alone, the state parks system attracted more than 30 million state park day-use visits and more than 1.4 million state park camp nights. As more people get outdoors, the new strategic plan will help enhance the state parks and recreation experience.

The plan is available at Michigan.gov/PRDStrategicPlans.

Questions? Contact Debbie Jensen at 517-230-6837.


Ready to ride where there’s plenty of woods and no pavement to be seen? State forest roads on our interactive map are your gateway to outdoor ORV adventures.


Dreaming of calm waters, warm sun and tight lines? Get your 2023 fishing license and start planning your next fishing adventure.


Tell us what you think about your state forests: Check the forest input page to learn how we’re managing forests, see open house dates and share your thoughts.

Download the new Michigan DNR Hunt Fish app