News Digest – Week of July 6, 2020

Campfire header

Make sure you burn only natural materials like wood, brush and logs. 

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 and

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

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

What’s your campfire made of?

Burn safe, burn clean graphicYou have a fire ring, a nearby water source and you checked the weather – now it’s time to enjoy a campfire and a night under the stars! But before you grab the matches, there’s one more thing to consider: what “ingredients” are you putting in your fire?

“When we do fire safety talks, we focus on how important it is to keep a fire contained,” said Paul Rogers, DNR fire prevention specialist. “Another vital piece of fire safety is even more basic: building it out of the right materials in the first place.”

Build fires at home or camp only with natural materials like wood, brush and logs. Dry, well-seasoned wood produces the least amount of smoke. Burning plastic, foam and hazardous substances releases chemicals that are harmful to people and the environment; plus, it’s against the law. Such items include plastic cups, food packaging, paint and electronics. It’s better to recycle or responsibly dispose of these items instead.

Many materials can be recycled through local waste management services or during community waste collection events. Search by location or substance using the Michigan Recycling Directory.

“Burning hazardous substances can release heavy metals, toxic gases and other chemicals into the air we breathe,” said Jenifer Dixon, air quality liaison with the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. “The ashes from waste fires can also contaminate soil and groundwater.”

Knowing what goes into your campfire is important – for both you and the environment. Get fire safety information at and learn about air quality at

Watch the July NRC meeting live online

side body, full face view of a white-tailed deer, some snow on the treesThe Michigan Natural Resources Commission’s next regular meeting is Thursday, July 16. Due to COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines, the meeting again will be hosted in an online format.

You can watch the meeting live online using this link. Those who want to provide public comment should call 517-284-6237 or email

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. with the Committee of the Whole, and the agenda includes additional information related to proposed deer regulations and an update on licensing, along with several land transactions and orders up for action.

See the full draft meeting agenda at For the latest on other public meetings, visit the DNR’s boards, commissions and committees webpage.

‘These Goods are Good for Michigan’ expands

These Goods GraphicState park-inspired apparel, craft beer, coffee, eco-friendly insect repellent and camping gear are just a few products you can purchase (or even rent) to support Michigan’s great outdoors and some small businesses, too.

The name of the program explains it all. Launched in 2017, “These Goods are Good for Michigan” highlights businesses that support Michigan state parks, trails and waterways.

Here’s how it works. The DNR partners with businesses through a revenue-sharing or donation agreement, and partners are featured on the website. Each business selects what to support – a specific place, youth nature education, accessibility and trail improvements, tree planting and other mission-based efforts – and there is a minimum contribution required.

Arrive Outdoors, the newest to join, offers premium camping and outdoor gear like tents and cots, cookware and furniture for rent. It’s all delivered right to your door, and returns are easy, too. The company has also implemented extensive health and safety measures in light of COVID-19, and thoroughly hand-cleans and treats all rental gear with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended cleaning solutions.

Arrive Rental“This is a really interesting option for us,” said Maia Turek, DNR resource development specialist. “Not only will we receive 10% from Arrive Outdoor rentals, but this also can help new visitors who want to try camping but maybe don’t have the gear because it’s too pricey or they don’t have the room to store it. The other cool advantage is that it gives people a chance to try gear before investing in it.”

Michigan’s state parks system is largely self-supporting, with camping, shelter and lodging reservation fees, Recreation Passport sales, gas and mineral royalty revenue and concessions making up about 96% of funding. The rest comes from general tax dollars and other fund development initiatives, such as donations, special events, public-private partnerships and programs like this.

Turek said this new rental option could help turn those interested in outdoor recreation into avid enthusiasts. A new segment of visitors would help support the state parks and recreation system by purchasing the Recreation Passport, making camping and lodging reservations or even getting involved by volunteering.

Visit for evolving partner and product updates. Plus, for several partners, clicking through from this page is how contributions are tracked. For more on this program and other opportunities, contact Maia Turek at 989-225-8573.


If you’re ready to get in some practice, several DNR shooting ranges are open, but with revised hours. Check our COVID response page for full details.


Fall turkey hunting applications are available through Aug. 1. Get more information, buy a license or find great places to hunt at


When it comes to natural and cultural resources, make sure you’re heard. Provide public comment to a variety of boards, commissions and committees.

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