DNR banner

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.