Celebrate the Fourth with light, but don’t light a wildfire

Celebrate the Fourth with light, but don’t light a wildfire

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

News Digest – Week of June 29, 2020

Fourth of July fireworks
Some of the items in this week’s news digest reflect the impact of COVID-19 and how the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is adapting to meet customers’ needs. Public health and safety are our biggest priorities, and we will continue to share news and information about the safest, and sometimes new, ways to enjoy our state’s natural and cultural resources.

Follow our COVID-19 response page for FAQs and updates on facilities and reopening dates. For the latest public health guidelines and news, visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

Here’s a look at some of this week’s stories from the 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 some of the images used in this email are available in this folder. The fireworks photo above courtesy of Nicolas Tissot and the laptop photo below courtesy of Lauren Mancke, both on Unsplash.

Celebrate the Fourth with light, but don’t light a wildfire

Smokey Bear fireworksBoom! Sparkle! Pop! Flash! Glittering fireworks lighting up the night sky are a signature of the Independence Day holiday. And though beautiful, if handled without care they have the potential to ignite dangerous wildfires.

Fireworks cause nearly 18,500 fires a year in the U.S., burning structures and injuring people. Organizations like the National Safety Council recommend leaving fireworks in the hands of experts. No matter who is using fireworks, some simple swaps can help to keep the celebration fun and reduce risk. For example, sparklers are often given to young children but can burn up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Glow sticks, bubbles and ribbon dancers are safer alternatives.

“If fireworks are part of your celebration, take precautions to prevent wildfires and keep friends and family safe from accidents,” said DNR fire prevention specialist Paul Rogers. “Keeping an eye on the weather is important, too. Dry days with high winds are the riskiest.”

Follow these tips to reduce risks with at-home fireworks:

  • Toss hand-held fireworks such as sparklers into a bucket of water when finished.
  • Keep a water source ready to spray embers from fireworks. Spray the entire area where you’ve been using fireworks with water when done.
  • Don’t try to re-ignite fireworks that won’t go off.
  • Don’t launch fireworks into forests or fields. Dry grass or leaves could ignite.
  • Always supervise kids and keep fireworks away from your face and eyes.
  • Sky lanterns, also popular on holidays, can start wildfires, too. The wires they leave behind can also entangle wildlife.

Aerial fireworks such as Roman candles and all types of sky lanterns are prohibited in state parks. (An extra safety reminder: Though many people like to swing by state parks just to catch nearby evening fireworks displays, this year the DNR will close state park day-use areas at 10 p.m. to help reduce crowds.)

Planning to get some yard work done over the long weekend? Check Michigan.gov/BurnPermit to see if conditions are okay to burn brush and yard waste.

Remember to practice effective social distancing of at least 6 feet from people who don’t live in your household.

Learn more about fire prevention and safety at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires. Questions? Contact Paul Rogers at 616-260-8406.

Remove food sources to reduce potential for bear conflicts

upright black bear with one paw on tree, the other pushing on a bird feederBird feeders can attract a lot more than local winged friends or the errant squirrel. They also can draw much larger creatures – like Michigan’s black bear – looking for a tasty treat. Black bears are omnivorous, opportunistic feeders, despite the abundance of available natural food sources, and bird feeders and garbage cans contain odors that can lure bears to backyards and camping areas in search of an easy meal.

To avoid potential conflicts with black bears, consider taking down bird feeders and removing other food sources like pet food, trash cans, grills and anything else that might contain food debris or odors. Protect honey bee hives with electric fencing.

Bears remember where to find food sources and will return if food is available. Bears that rely on these sources can encounter people, and that repeated exposure can cause them to lose their natural fear of humans.

“It’s important that these creatures maintain their natural instincts and remain wild, because getting too close to humans can have dangerous consequences for them,” said DNR wildlife outreach coordinator Rachel Leightner. “Those of us who live and recreate in Michigan’s bear country share the responsibility of avoiding activities that create problem situations for bears.”

To learn more about Michigan’s black bear and how to be Bear SMART, visit Michigan.gov/BearAdditional tips and information on how to handle conflicts with wildlife are available at Michigan.gov/Wildlife.

Questions? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453. Media contact: Rachel Leightner, 517-243-5813.

Majority of DNR’s July public meetings held virtually

virtual meeting unsplashEvery month, the DNR holds public meetings around the state to provide Michigan residents with opportunities to share ideas and ask questions about policy decisions, programs and other aspects of natural resources management and outdoor recreation. With COVID-19 public health and safety in mind, the DNR has changed some July meetings to conference calls and virtual meetings. Upcoming meetings include:

Conference call phone numbers and access codes and other details are still being confirmed, so frequently check the DNR boards, commissions, committees and councils webpage for updates. If you need assistance connecting with a DNR program or public body not listed there, contact [email protected].

ICYMI: Set up a video chat with Archives staff

Michigan Pocket MapSince the Archives of Michigan closed to the public in March, staff there have been assisting researchers over the phone and by email. In case you missed it, they’ve introduced a new service: video conferencing. These one-on-one appointments allow researchers to talk to an archivist, ask questions or request specific records.

“The current health crisis pushed us to think differently on how to continue personalized customer service,” said Mark Harvey, Michigan’s state archivist. “The benefits of virtual reference will outlive its short-term need. These online meetings allow researchers to get valuable information, especially for those who cannot otherwise make a visit in person.”

While more than 10 million records and over 9 million photographs are available online at the Michiganology website, there are still more to be digitized. If you’re looking for naturalization records, photos, military records or one of the Archives’ 50,000+ cartographic images, you can schedule a virtual appointment with an archivist by visiting the online appointment reservation system or calling 517-335-2576.

The image above of an 1839 map of Michigan is in the Archives of Michigan collections and is available as reproduction prints and puzzles at the Michiganology.org store.


Just a reminder that you once again need the Recreation Passport for vehicle entry at state parks, state forest campgrounds and state-managed boating access sites.


Itching to get your boat on the water this holiday weekend and all summer long? Stay up to date on safety tips and high-water warnings so it’s an enjoyable time for everyone aboard.


If you’re looking for a way to get outside and make a difference at natural areas in state parks, consider lending a hand at an upcoming July stewardship workday.

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.

Bridge beam setting closing Long Lake Road under I-75

MDOT E-mail

MDOT on facebook MDOT on Twitter MDOT on YouTube Mi Drive - Know before you go. MDOT on Instagram Sign up for E-mails form MDOT
Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2020


CONTACT: Rob Morosi, MDOT Office of Communications, [email protected]


Bridge beam setting closing Long Lake Road under

I-75 daily starting Wednesday morning in Oakland County


Fast facts:

– Starting Wednesday morning, crews will be setting bridge beams on the southbound I-75 structure over Long Lake Road.

– Beam setting installation will require closing Long Lake Road daily on Wednesday and Thursday.

– Southbound I-75 will have one lane closed during this time for safety.


June 30, 2020 — Weather permitting, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) contracting crews will be closing Long Lake Road under I-75 for bridge beam setting. Both directions of Long Lake Road will be closed starting at 10 a.m. and ending by 3 p.m. both Wednesday, July 1, and Thursday, July 2. During those times, the right lane of southbound I-75 will be closed from Corporate Drive/Crooks Road to Long Lake Road for safety reasons.


During the closure, posted detours for Long Lake Road include Livernois, Big Beaver and Crooks roads. After the beam setting work is completed, Long Lake Road will reopen to a single lane in each direction.


Follow I-75 modernization progress on the web at www.Modernize75.com, or follow on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Modernize75 or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Modernize75.

Governor Whitmer, Republican Leaders Announce Bipartisan Budget Agreement

Governor Whitmer, Republican Leaders Announce Bipartisan Budget Agreement

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


June 29, 2020

Media Contact: [email protected]


Governor Whitmer, Republican Leaders Announce Bipartisan Budget Agreement, Call on Congress for Additional Resources to Support Essential Services 

Agreement includes additional funding for classrooms 


LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and House Speaker Lee Chatfield released the following statement after reaching a bipartisan budget agreement, which includes adjustments to the fiscal year 2020 budget and allocation of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) dollars. The budget agreement includes modest reductions in current year funding but also provides CARES Act funding for Michigan schools and educators, universities and community colleges, and local governments to address the significant COVID 19 costs they’re facing.


“COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on our state budget.  In this time of crisis, it is our responsibility to come together and build a budget that reflects a bipartisan commitment to the things we value most as Michiganders. This agreement provides crucial funding for Michigan families, schools, and communities grappling with costs incurred as a result of the virus.


“Our collective priority is a healthy state and a healthy economy. We are committed to working together to address the remaining shortfalls in next year’s budget and we are looking to our partners in Congress for support to help maintain the essential services relied upon by our families and small businesses.”

DNR begins updating strategy

Share or view as webpage  |  Update preferences

– DNR News –

June 30, 2020
Contact: Scott Whitcomb, 231-373-3007 or Kerry Wieber, 517-643-1256

Plugging into the power of public lands

DNR begins updating strategy for managing more than 4 million acres

What do mountain biking, bird watching, snowmobiling and hunting have in common? Besides being hobbies many Michigan residents and visitors love, these opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors are available across the state thanks to the careful, thoughtful way the Department of Natural Resources takes care of the state’s public lands.

a view of the Upper Tahquamenon Falls in Luce County, MichiganThe DNR is responsible for nearly 4.6 million acres of public lands owned by Michigan residents. When these lands – state parks, trails, game and wildlife areas, forests and other resources – are well managed, they contribute significantly to the health of Michigan’s residents, environment and economy.

The condition and availability of these outdoor spaces close to home are now more critical than ever, with more people out enjoying Michigan’s natural resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hiking a wooded trail, fishing a trout stream, paddling a lazy river – the comfort provided by these outdoor activities underscores the value of Michigan’s public lands and the need to manage them carefully,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “That’s where our public land strategy comes in.”

An autumn forest view near Storey Lake, near the Pigeon RIver County State Forest in northern MichiganThe strategy, originally created in 2013, provides a framework for the conservation and management of public lands to ensure their best use for the benefit of Michigan residents, visitors and the state’s natural resources.

“We set the stage with the original strategy seven years ago, and now we are revisiting it to see how far we’ve come and what adjustments need to be made for the next six years,” said Scott Whitcomb, DNR senior adviser for wildlife and public lands.

An updated public land strategy, which must be submitted to the Michigan Legislature for consideration and approval by July 1, 2021, will explain why a public land base is so important and provide goals, strategies and measurable objectives to guide the DNR in:

  • Protecting and preserving Michigan’s natural and cultural resources.
  • Providing spaces for quality outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • Promoting natural resources management.
Lake Michigan shoreline view at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, Allegan County, MichiganWhitcomb said that broad public participation is key to ensuring a strong, comprehensive strategy. The DNR invites people to be part of the land strategy process by visiting Michigan.gov/PublicLands and using the interactive map to drop a pin on the location of the public lands they value most.

“There’s also a brief, three-question survey where we want people to tell us why public lands matter,” Whitcomb said. “We really want to know what access to these lands means to them and to their family and friends, because their candid answers will assist us in developing the updated strategy.”

Additionally, the DNR will accept public input about the strategy update process via email at [email protected]. More information about the strategy can be found at Michigan.gov/PublicLands. Drafts and components available for public review and comment will be posted to the website throughout the update process.

/Note to editors: The following photos show examples of some of the public lands managed by the DNR on behalf of Michigan residents./


DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.
Governor Whitmer Requests USDA Disaster Designation

Governor Whitmer Requests USDA Disaster Designation

Governor Gretchen Whitmer Banner - headshot with bridge graphic


June 30, 2020  Media

Contact: [email protected]


Governor Whitmer Requests USDA Disaster Designation for Michigan Counties Impacted by Severe Weather


LANSING, Mich. — Governor Gretchen Whitmer today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting a disaster designation for Michigan counties impacted by severe weather. The governor is also requesting the USDA make available any other possible assistance under the Federal Crop Insurance Program or other USDA programs to help Michigan’s hard-working farmers recover.


“Our hardworking Michigan farmers are once again facing challenges due to weather following one of the toughest years in recent memory,” Governor Whitmer said. “From freezing temperatures to flooding caused by dam failures and high-water levels following periods of prolonged rainfall, many of our producers are finding themselves in the midst of yet another difficult growing season. A disaster designation for impacted counties would provide some much-needed support to Michigan farmers.”


This spring, Michigan experienced a significant period of freezing temperatures after many warm days, which negatively impacted several crops at a key time in their development. Damage assessments are still coming in, but early reports show varying degrees of damage to cherries, peaches, wine grapes, apples, blueberries and row crops. In fact, the effects of the cold temperatures have already prompted 20 counties to initiate disaster designations from the USDA.


Michigan farmers have also been impacted by flooding caused by periods of heavy rainfall that led to dam failures and high water levels. Earlier this month, Governor Whitmer asked President Trump to issue a Major Disaster Declaration for the five counties directly impacted by the dam failures in an effort to help those impacted by the catastrophic flooding – including Michigan farmers – rebuild and recover.


To view the governor’s letters, click the link below: