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News Digest – Week of July 8, 2024

About two dozen women and men in exercise gear do yoga poses on shoreline along Detroit river. Buildings frame the skyline.

Enjoy yoga and mindfulness at Belle Isle Park, just one option on the DNR events calendar!

Here are 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 below, and others, are available in this folder.

Tell us your trail tales! ‘Trails experience’ survey open through Aug. 1

Two people in light jackets and helmets, backlit by sunlight, ride bikes on a straight, paved trail surrounded and shaded by lush, green treesMichigan is home to more than 13,400 miles of state-designated trails and local and regional options that offer something for everyone – there’s a reason we’re known as the Trails State.

This summer, the DNR wants to hear what trail visitors have to say about biking, hiking, track-chair operating, paddling, horseback riding, off-road vehicle riding and snowmobiling these pathways. The 2024 Michigan Trails Experience Survey is open now through Aug. 1.

The online survey, available at Michigan.gov/DNRTrails, includes questions about the kinds of activities enjoyed on trails, conditions and amenities that make for a great trail experience, frequently visited trail regions in Michigan and more.

“We hope all trail users, from hikers and cyclists to paddlers, horseback riders and motorized trail users, will take this opportunity to let us know about their trail experiences,” Novak said.

“Our goal with this survey is to capture a comprehensive picture of how residents and visitors use trails throughout Michigan and what their ideal trail experience looks and feels like,” he said. “With this information, we’ll be able to better understand the needs and wants of trail users, which in turn will help inform how we can best ensure optimal trail experiences for everyone, however they get outdoors and explore these pathways across the state.”

Survey findings will be analyzed and shared with the Michigan Trails Advisory Council, a group of Michigan residents who advise the DNR director and the governor on the creation, development, operation and maintenance of motorized and nonmotorized trails.

Questions? Contact Tim Novak at 517-388-8347.

Birding bonanzas! Learn about Nayanquing Point and Wigwam Bay

A tan and white bird with a slender, rust-colored beak perches among a thick group of tall, green, reedy grassesJust 30 minutes apart along the western coast of Saginaw Bay, Nayanquing Point and Wigwam Bay state wildlife areas offer some of the best birding opportunities anywhere in Michigan – and you’re invited to discover more about them during a free webinar next week.

Two of Michigan’s premier Wetland Wonders and Audubon Important Bird Areas, Nayanquing Point and Wigwam Bay are both known for supporting large concentrations of waterfowl and shorebirds during migration, as well as healthy populations of vulnerable breeding marsh birds, like the yellow-headed blackbird and black tern.

Join MI Birds, a public outreach and education program from the DNR and Audubon Great Lakes, for a free lunch-hour webinar – “Demystifying Michigan’s Wetland Wonders” – that does a deeper dive into these two wildlife areas and the many birds you can find there.

This event is presented in partnership with MI Birds, which aims to deepen all Michiganders’ engagement in the understanding, care and stewardship of the public lands that are important for birds and local communities.

Questions? Contact Erin Ford at 313-820-0809

Photo credit: Least bittern, Gil Eckrich/Audubon Photography Awards

Natural Resources Commission to meet Thursday in Lansing

a mature tan and white white-tailed deer stands in tall, wispy grass against a lush green forestThe Michigan Natural Resources Commission will meet Thursday, July 11, in downtown Lansing. The day includes presentation of a Partners in Conservation Awards and DNR Parks and Recreation Division Lifesaving Awards, an update on the Brandon Road Project to prevent invasive carp movement into Lake Michigan, a discussion of proposed deer hunting regulations and a legislative update.

The day starts at 8:30 a.m. at Lansing Community College’s West Campus, 5708 Cornerstone Drive, in Lansing. See the draft meeting agenda and upcoming 2024 meeting dates at Michigan.gov/NRC.

For more information, email [email protected].

ICYMI: Introducing BeBot, the roving robot behind cleaner state park beaches

a woman in dark green shirt and pants stands next to a low, white vehicle with tracked runners. They're on a sand volleyball courtCigarette butts, discarded food wrappers, pieces of plastic – all items we wish to avoid when we’re at the beach and have our toes in the sand.

Thanks to new technology – a beach-cleaning robot known as BeBot, developed by Niteko Robotics – we’ll be seeing less trash at our beloved inland lake beaches and Great Lakes shorelines. Several state park beaches are now using the BeBot, an advanced method of managing litter that is electric-powered and remote-operated and has the ability to cover 32,000 square feet per hour! These include Brighton Recreation Area in Livingston County; Cheboygan and Petoskey state parks, farther north in the DNR’s Gaylord District; and Belle Isle Park in Detroit.

That’s good news for fun-filled summer days along the water, and even better news for the environment.

“The Michigan state parks and recreation system strives to seek out innovations that help us operate efficiently, saving time and resources while delivering quality outdoor recreation experiences to our visitors,” said Ron Olson, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Division. “This innovative tool is an opportunity to improve our methods to maintain clean beaches.”

In case you missed it, BeBot beach cleaning was highlighted in a recent Showcasing the DNR story. Read the full story to learn more.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Sleepy Hollow sunrise

two people with fishing gear in a boat, as the reflection of a blazing yellow sunrise reflects along the still surface of the large lakeSee more pictures by Michigan state parks photo ambassadors at Instagram.com/MiStateParks. For more on the program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182. (This photo is by Vicki Winton, for the Michigan DNR, at Sleepy Hollow State Park in Clinton County.)


Pheasant Friday at North Higgins Lake State Park, yoga at Belle Isle, an evening concert at Cambridge Junction – explore the DNR events calendar for all this and more in July.


Want outdoor licenses, permits, regulations and other resources in the palm of your hand? Get the DNR Hunt Fish app, your mobile path to buy and store the info you need.


Camping, boating, hiking, fishing … Go ahead, make the most of Michigan summer, but make sure to protect the places you love from invasive species!