DNR extends snowmobile trail grooming season

DNR extends snowmobile trail grooming season

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DNR News

March 30, 2023

Contact: Tim Novack at 517-388-8347

DNR extends snowmobile trail grooming season through upcoming weekend

Move allows for more trail riding opportunities in areas with sufficient snow

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division notified trail grant sponsors today that the snowmobile trail grooming contract season will be extended through the weekend, under certain conditions.

Typically, grooming contracts with local snowmobile clubs are in effect each winter from Dec. 1 through March 31.

“In some parts of the state, trails are covered with snow sufficient for snowmobiling and grooming,” said Tim Novack, DNR state trails coordinator. “This extension will allow for another weekend of snowmobiling in some places.”

Snowmobilers should check with local clubs where they plan to ride, or the club’s social media pages, to confirm whether grooming will be taking place in specific areas.

Parameters to be met by grant sponsors to continue grooming over the weekend include:

  • There is enough snow on the ground to groom.
  • The club is fully insured.
  • The club has adequate unused grooming funds remaining in its 2022-2023 snowmobile grant.
  • The club has landowner permissions that extend into April 2023.

Grant sponsors were also notified that more money for grooming will not be added to grants as contract amendments. Clubs were asked to consult surrounding clubs to see if their trail sections have sufficient snow on the ground and whether they also plan to continue grooming throughout the weekend.

For more information, contact Tim Novack at 517-388-8347 or Richard Kennedy.

Find out more about snowmobiling in Michigan, including where to ride, safety tips and more.

MI Kids Now Loan Repayment Program

MI Kids Now Loan Repayment Program

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Press Release


CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, [email protected]

MI Kids Now Loan Repayment Program offers student debt relief to behavioral health providers

LANSING, Mich. – Medical providers of behavioral health services in Michigan may be eligible for educational loan repayment through the MI Kids Now Loan Repayment Program. This program focuses on incentivizing behavioral health providers to provide mental health services through nonprofit, outpatient organizations across the state.

“This program was designed to assist in recruiting and retaining behavioral health providers to help Michiganders access care within their communities,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director “Our shared goal is to assist providers in building long-term behavioral health infrastructure to serve children, youth and families across the state.”

The loan repayment program is open to providers of services to both children and adults, but the priority will be providing debt relief to those who serve children. Eligible providers will be selected to enter into consecutive two-year agreements. The program will assist those selected with up to $300,000 to repay educational debt over a period of up to 10 years.

The program is available to behavioral health providers, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors, therapists, case managers and certified behavioral analysts. Those eligible must provide in-person, outpatient behavioral health services through eligible non-profit practice sites, including public school-based systems and community mental health organizations. The MI Kids Now Loan Repayment Program application cycle is June 12 – June 23.

Further information regarding eligibility, selection criteria, application instructions and frequently asked questions can be found on the MI Kids Now Loan Repayment Program website. Behavioral health providers are encouraged to review the materials in advance and submit applications when the cycle begins. Providers should note that guidelines, eligibility criteria and application instructions have changed for the 2023 application cycle. Further information can be found on the program website. Providers who have questions or need more information can email  MDHHS-MIKidsNowLRP@michigan.gov.

Whitmer on Getting Things Done in the First 100 Days

Whitmer on Getting Things Done in the First 100 Days

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March 30, 2023

Contact: [email protected]


ICYMI: Gov. Whitmer on Getting Things Done in the First 100 Days

“Passed already this year: a tax break for the working poor and seniors, protections of LGBTQ rights”


LANSING, Mich. — In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Martha Teichner discusses the historic legislation that Governor Whitmer has signed within the first 100 days of her second term and her work addressing the issues that matter most to Michiganders.


Since January, Governor Whitmer has announced three tax cuts to put $1.6 billion back into Michiganders’ pockets and Michigan has secured 2,500 good-paying auto jobs. In March, Governor Whitmer signed legislation expanding the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ Michiganders and expanded workers’ rights. She has worked with legislators to pass commonsense gun violence legislation and a repeal of the dangerous 1931 abortion ban.



“TEICHNER: In her second term, she has the power to act and is in a hurry to use it.”




“TEICHNER: Passed already this year: tax breaks for the working poor and seniors, protections of LGBTQ rights, a rollback of restrictions on labor unions.”




“GOVERNOR WHITMER: We need a governor that is going to stand up for our voting rights, our civil rights, make sure Michigan is a place for everybody.”


“TEICHNER: Whitmer championed protecting abortion rights.”




“GOVERNOR WHITMER: I’m just here to be the governor of all people in the state of Michigan.


Accomplishments in the First 100 Days

Since January, Governor Whitmer has worked with legislators to roll back the retirement tax and quintuple the Working Families Tax Credit, cutting taxes by $1 billion for working families and seniors. Last month, she announced that Michigan won 2,500 good-paying auto jobs. In March, Governor Whitmer signed bills to expand the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, reaffirming legal protections for sexual orientation and expanding coverage to include gender identity and expression, and expand workers’ rights. In the wake of last month’s shooting at Michigan State University, Governor Whitmer has worked with legislators to pass common sense gun violence prevention legislation, including background checks, safe storage, and extreme risk protection orders.


What’s Next on the Governor’s Budget

In her 2024 budget recommendation, Governor Whitmer proposed investments to lower costs for Michigan families including taking the first step toward providing pre-K for all of Michigan’s 4-year-olds. She also proposed investments to expand MI Kids Back on Track with tutoring and after-school programs. Governor Whitmer called for dedicated resources for the first time ever to hire, train, and retain local cops, firefighters, and EMTs and upgrade public safety facilities and equipment. And earlier this month, Governor Whitmer signed legislation that addressed one of the proposals laid out in her budget recommendation to establish the Community Violence Intervention initiative and provide grants to community-based organizations that provide community violence intervention services.

State of Michigan announces Mobility Wallet Challenge

State of Michigan announces Mobility Wallet Challenge

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March 29, 2023


Michael Frezell
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State of Michigan announces Mobility Wallet Challenge
partners to improve equity and access to public transit

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification (OFME) announce Michigan Mobility Wallet Challenge awards under the mobility wallet pilot program, which aims to increase the interoperability of transit services and create greater access and equity to personal mobility for Michigan residents. These selections are Ecolane Inc., Feonix – Mobility Rising, and the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan (RTA).

The program’s goal is to simplify the transit payment process by allowing riders or third-party stakeholders to load funds and/or connect bank accounts to a single platform and create a streamlined mechanism for fare payment and collection, thereby increasing access to vital mobility services in Michigan. The Michigan Mobility Wallet Challenge is a collaborative effort, including MDOT, OFME, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO), and the Michigan Poverty Task Force (PTF).

“Michigan is on the forefront of innovations in developing new technologies for public transit users, Acting State Transportation Director Brad Wieferich said. “These mobility wallet solutions will help provide easy and equitable access to various transportation providers across the state.”

Ecolane LLC will develop a mobility wallet solution using their X4MaaS platform that enables transportation providers to integrate all their modes (fixed route, ADA, micro-transit, demand-response, rideshare, and bikeshare) into a single mobile app for a unified rider experience. The mobility wallet solution will integrate ZIG, a sensor technology developed by ZED Digital, which lets public transit users pay from their smart phone without removing the device from their pocket, or by using a smart card if they do not have a smart phone. The platform also includes carbon footprint information for the various transportation options. X4MaaS integrates with one of the first hands-free mobile wallet solutions to be introduced in the U.S. market, an internet of things-based sensor technology that is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A video demonstrates ADA compliant ticketing for ZIG Super Wallet technology. Awarded $888,800 for this project, Ecolane’s mobility wallet will be deployed to nine transit agencies in Michigan.

“We are honored to have been selected by the Michigan Department of Transportation for this opportunity to offer our mobility wallet to agencies across the state,” said Spiro Gjorgjievski, president of Ecolane. “Ecolane’s focus with the Mobility Wallet will be to ensure an integrated customer experience through our single mobility as a service platform X4MaaS, which unifies all mobility modes – including fixed route, ADA, paratransit, microtransit, scooters, bike rentals, and others – operated by an agency for trip planning, booking, and payment while empowering riders to achieve all of that through their mobile devices.”

Active in Michigan since 2018, Feonix – Mobility Rising is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing mobility solutions for the health and well-being of every person in every community. The mobility wallet that Feonix will deploy will support Detroit, Grand Rapids, Jackson, and surrounding areas. The initial focus will be on meeting the needs of veterans, with the project launch planned for Aug. 7, recognizing Purple Heart Day. In January 2024, Feonix will use the mobility wallet to fill transportation gaps for families and individuals experiencing poverty. Development partners of the mobility wallet technology and deployment include SkedGo, MoCaFi, Metro Strategies, Menlo Innovations, Sundberg Ferar, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Uber, and Token Transit.

Michigan community partners and transportation partners joining Feonix include: West Michigan Veterans Coalition, Disability Advocates of Kent County, Mobile GR-City of Grand Rapids, HOPE Network, Kent County Essential Needs Task Force, Metro Detroit Council – Navy League of United States, The Welcome Home Organization, Michigan Works Southeast, Region 2 Area Agency on Aging, Western Washtenaw Area Value Express (WAVE), City of Hillsdale, Key Opportunities, Jackson County Military Coalition, The Rapid, Jackson Area Transportation Authority, Lenawee Public Transportation Authority, Ride Your Way, Care on Wheels, Superpedestrian, Lime, and Boaz Bikes. Feonix – Mobility Rising was awarded $1.5 million for this project.

“Feonix is honored by the opportunity to work alongside such incredible partners and advocates in urban and rural communities to break down critical transportation barriers in accessing healthcare, employment, and essential needs for Michigan veterans and individuals and families experiencing poverty,” said Valerie Lefler, executive director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Feonix – Mobility Rising. “The benefits of mobility to public health as well as the broader economy cannot be understated.”

The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan is responsible for developing a regional master transit plan, coordinating regional transit projects and programs, and distributing federal and state transit formula funds in the four-county region of Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. The RTA in partnership with regional mobility providers, including the United Way for Southeastern Michigan, Detroit at Work, and Downtown Detroit Partnership developed a mobility wallet pilot and project development approach focused on the principles of universal basic mobility.

The pilot program will deliver an account-based mobility wallet that meets the five key functions established by ITS America. The mobility wallet will have the capability to access multiple transportation services, including DDOT, SMART, QLine, People Mover, MoGo, and at least one scooter company. In addition, the mobility wallet pilot will seek to test methods for deploying fare-capping across multiple providers and subsidy programs with a focus on equity and access for a largely cash-based transit rider population.

The unique element of this project is that the partners have decided to take a phased human-centered design approach to this challenge due to the diversity of mobility options that are being integrated, the existing fare technology involved, and the scale of the mobility equity issues for potential wallet users. The RTA was awarded $1 million for this project.

“The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan is thrilled to receive a grant to be the lead agency coordinating efforts for the Michigan Mobility Wallet Challenge in our region. We look forward to collaborating with our partners from MDOT, MEDC, and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification on this project,” said Ben Stupka, interim general manager of the RTA. “This initiative will help transform the transit landscape in Southeast Michigan by using this innovative technology to simplify the transit payment process. We hope the knowledge gained during this pilot program can be used as a blueprint that can be replicated and introduced across the state. Creating a streamlined mechanism for fare payment is a significant step toward improving the transit experience for Michiganders.”

To learn more about how Michigan is leading in transportation mobility and electrification visit www.michiganbusiness.org/mobility. For more information about the Michigan Mobility Wallet Challenge, email mobilitywalletChallenge@michigan.gov.

News Digest – Week of March 27, 2023

News Digest – Week of March 27, 2023

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News Digest – Week of March 27, 2023

two lidded, metal buckets nailed to trees in the foreground of a sun-backlit forest, collecting sap from thick-barked maple trees

Got a sweet tooth for your own maple syrup? Sign up for our April 1 clinic in Cadillac!

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 some of the images used in this digest are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: These boots are for exploring

a little blond-haired girl in navy blue rubber boots, dirt-scuffed shorts and a light blue jacket and glasses on stick-littered forest trailWant to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Danielle Grandholm at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon 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.

Spring forward with some new outdoor skills

profile view of a woman in dark waders, tan vest and cap, and sunglasses holds a fly-fishing rod, standing thigh-deep in dark green waterLooking for opportunities to try a new outdoor pursuit or learn the skills you need to get out on the water or in the woods with confidence?

We’ve got you covered with a slate of DNR Outdoor Skills Academy classes offering in-depth, expert, hands-on instruction to help you do just that. Spring classes include:

  • Maple Syrup Clinic, April 1 in Cadillac. Covers the tools needed to make maple syrup, how to process the sap and make maple sugar, canning and more. Cost is $30.
  • Steelhead Fishing Clinic, April 15-16 in Cadillac. Learn various strategies and techniques for chasing Michigan’s “chrome torpedoes,” including time fishing on the Manistee River. Cost is $30.
  • Walleye Fishing Clinic, April 16 in Cadillac. Pro walleye tournament angler Dan Miller and others will cover the A to Z of walleye fishing and tips for chasing trophy fish. Cost is $45.
A neatly bearded, smiling man wearing an S.S. Badger ballcap and a white, logoed, long-sleeved shirt holds a fishing rod and a large walleye

  • Saginaw Bay Walleye Clinic, May 2-3 in Bay City. Includes a tips and techniques session led by Walleye Trail World Champion Captain Mark Martin (shown here) and Captain Brandon Stanton of Team Gunsmoke Sportfishing and Guide Service and time with Martin’s pro-staff on charter boats fishing Saginaw Bay and River. Cost is $375.
  • Fly Fishing Clinic, May 27-28 in Cadillac. This class for beginners will cover the basics of fly fishing, including various fly casts and fly selection based on target species. Cost is $40.

Coming up this summer and fall are two more fly-fishing sessions and classes on wilderness survival, bear hunting, trapping and various aspects of deer hunting. Find a full class schedule at Michigan.gov/OutdoorSkills.

Questions? Contact Ed Shaw at 231-779-1321.

State forest road updates to be posted April 1

A single-file line of three off-road vehicles travel a dirt road in an area featuring conifer trees, a pond and blue, cloud-streaked skyIf you’re a fan of heading off the beaten path, you’re probably familiar with Michigan’s thousands of miles of state forest roads. The DNR annually updates state forest road maps on April 1. Maps are available in an interactive web format and as printable PDFs.

Forest road maps are updated each year based on considerations including changing road conditions, data cleanup and input received from residents. Maps show which state forest roads are open or closed to off-road and conventional vehicle use. It’s important to stay on these roads to prevent erosion and damage to wildlife habitat.

After the annual road inventory and review, the following will be open to ORVs:

  • In the Upper Peninsula, more than 5,503 miles – about 98% of the total mileage.
  • In the northern Lower Peninsula, about 6,109 miles – about 84% of the total mileage.
  • In the southern Lower Peninsula, just over 10 miles – about 3% of the total mileage.

Review ORV rules, regulations, closures and more at Michigan.gov/ORVInfo. Find updated maps and other information at Michigan.gov/ForestRoads.

Questions? Email DNR-RoadInventoryProject@Michigan.gov. Send media inquiries to Jason Caron at 906-235-4361 or Matt Foster at 989-619-5921.

Catch ‘Conversations & Coffee’ with DNR fisheries staff

A fisherman enjoys an evening fishing from his boat.What does that new regulation mean? How are walleye populations thriving? What’s the catch limit on my favorite stream?

If you’re into Michigan fishing, sometimes you just want to talk with someone in the know! Good news: you still have the chance to join in one of several upcoming “Conversations & Coffee” virtual meetings:

  • March 29, 6:30-8 p.m., Lake Superior Management Unit.
  • April 4, 6-7 p.m., Lake Huron Management Unit.
  • April 4, 7-8 p.m., Lake Erie Management Unit.
  • April 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit.

The meetings are a great opportunity to talk with DNR fisheries staff about local and statewide fisheries management activities, meet with managers and biologists, ask specific questions, and maybe even get some insider fishing tips.

Get individual meeting registration and passcode details. Questions? Contact Sierra Williams at [email protected].


Vampires of the Great Lakes, lobster mobsters and more; who knew invasive species were so interesting? Check out our NotMiSpecies webinar series for upcoming program dates, plus recordings of past favorites.


Did you know that all watercraft, unless exempt, must be registered? All registrations expire March 31 in the third year of issuance. Get your boat decal or registration renewed soon!


Springtime means traffic on the trails, so whether you’re on foot or on a bike, horse, ORV or snowmobile (through March 31), keep these trail etiquette tips in mind on both nonmotorized and motorized trails.