Newport State Park designated International Dark Sky Park

ELLISON BAY, WI - Newport State Park, Wisconsin's only wilderness state park, has now also become the first state park in Wisconsin to be designated an International Dark Sky Park, one of just 48 parks in the world to earn the designation.
Located on the western shore of Lake Michigan on the northern tip of Door County, Newport has a dark sky that offers excellent nighttime viewing with an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon. As a designated wilderness park, the 2,373-acre park offers only backpack camping and has minimal developments beyond the park office, picnic area and trails.
Based in Tucson, AR, the International Dark-Sky Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 that is dedicated to protecting the night skies for present and future generations. The association advocates for the protection of the night sky, educates the public and policymakers about night sky conservation, promotes environmentally responsible outdoor lighting and empowers the public with the tools and resources to help bring back the night.
The idea for applying for the designation began four years ago when Ray Stonecipher, a local Door County amateur astronomer, approached Hefty about seeking the designation. The park also received assistance from supporting partners including the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society and the Newport Wilderness Society.
The association has program guidelines that outline specifics for Dark Sky Park designation, which included sky meter readings from 14 locations with the park, conducting astronomy education programs and developing a light management plan.
The association board unanimously approved Newport State Park as an International Dark Sky Park on April 27, joining the ranks of Big Ben, Glacier and Grand Canyon national parks. Only 13 other state parks in the United States have received the designation.
"In a modern world that is accompanied by ever increasing levels of nighttime illumination, a truly dark sky at night is rare and unique," said Michelle Hefty, park superintendent.
"From lighting projects to community education and outreach, our commitment to protect our dark sky is a priority we take seriously," said Beth Bartoli, Newport State Park naturalist who helps conduct astronomy programs at the park. "We never tire of seeing that 'aha' moment on the upturned faces of our visitors as they gaze toward the heavens."
The park will host a dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 22, when an official International Dark Sky Park sign will be placed in the park. The ceremony will feature talks by members of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society and Newport Wilderness Society as well as state and local officials. The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. at the park shelter and is open to the public with light refreshments served afterword.
"The prestigious Dark Sky Park designation opens the park to local, regional, national and international astronomical clubs and societies, increasing tourism, especially ecotourism. Obtaining this honor will accord national and international recognition to Newport State Park and the Wisconsin State Park System," said Ben Bergey, Wisconsin State Park System director.
More information on International Dark Sky Parks darksky.org/idsp/parks/ can be found on the International Dark Sky Association website darksky.org. For more information about Newport State Park, search the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "Newport."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Enroll in Wisconsin's Deer Management Assistance Program

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin's Deer Management Assistance Program continues to grow with the addition of 189 new properties in 2017 and a total enrollment of 268,000 acres across the state.
Interested landowners, hunters and land managers are encouraged to join over 1,200 current DMAP cooperators managing habitat on the property they own or hunt.
Applications may be submitted at any time. Landowners and hunters are encouraged to apply now to receive immediate access to informational resources, including:
* Habitat and deer management information.
* Annual DMAP reports and publications.
* Volunteer opportunities.
* Habitat management-focused DMAP workshops.
"DMAP cooperators are highly satisfied with the program and really enjoy the interaction they receive with professional biologists and foresters," said Bob Nack, Department of Natural Resources DMAP coordinator. "Managing habitat for wildlife on private land improves wildlife populations for everyone to enjoy."
Another benefit open to all DMAP cooperators is a series of annual regional workshops held throughout Wisconsin. DMAP cooperators enjoyed workshops focused on deer ecology and research findings in spring 2017, and four more workshops are scheduled for summer 2017. Topics include invasive species management, how to conduct a timber harvest and habitat improvement strategies for small properties. These workshops also include a tour of a property enrolled in DMAP with professional biologists and foresters.
"DMAP workshops are a great opportunity to network with other conservation-minded people," said Nack. "DMAP cooperators share a common goal of promoting the principles of land stewardship and sharing their experiences with others."
For more information regarding DMAP and to apply, go to dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "DMAP."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Paddle part of 318-mile Minnesota River

Paddlers may paddle every navigable mile of the Minnesota River on Saturday, June 10, which is National Get Outdoors Day.
The goal is to get as many people as possible working together to cover all 318 miles of the Minnesota River State Water Trail. Paddlers can join Department of Natural Resources-led trips between Belle Plaine and Carver or form their own groups.
"The Minnesota River connects so many people in our state," said Alexander Watson, regional naturalist for Minnesota state parks and trails. "We look forward to feeling connected with paddlers along the entire length of the river on June 10."
Last year, more than 200 people participated and collectively covered all 318 miles of the river.
There is no charge to participate, but paddlers must register by contacting Watson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Kayaks and canoes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Minnesota River State Water Trail starts at the headwaters near Big Stone Lake in Ortonville and joins the Mississippi River in St. Paul. It flows through diverse terrain, ranging from steep granite bluffs to marshy lowlands and agricultural areas. It is a gentle, placid river, with the only rapids on the river near Granite Falls.
To commit to a stretch of river or learn more about the event, visit
www.mndnr.gov/riverinaday or contact the DNR Information Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Minnesota Twins DNR partner to offer free hat on Father’s Day

Anyone with a 2017 Minnesota fishing or hunting license can receive a free camouflage and blaze orange Twins logo cap at the Twins game on Father's Day, thanks to a special ticket offer online at mndnr.gov/twins.
As part of the Minnesota DNR Days partnership with the Twins, license holders can purchase a reserved game ticket to games on June 18 or June 23 and receive a special Twins cap.
Minnesota DNR Days with the Twins:
* 1:10 p.m. Sunday, June 18, vs. Cleveland (Father’s Day).
* 1:10 p.m. Sunday, July 23, vs. Detroit.
Ticket prices vary by game and seat locations are either in the Field Box or Home Run Porch sections. All ticket holders under this partnership will pick up their cap at the game. Instructions for purchasing tickets are at mndnr.gov/twins.
Buy fishing and hunting licenses at any Minnesota Department of Natural Resources license agent, online with a mobile or desktop device at mndnr.gov/buyalicense, or by phone at 888-665-4236. Mobile buyers receive a text or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Entries open for Wisconsin stamp design contests

MADISON, WI - Wisconsin artists have until July 20, to submit artwork for the 2018 Wild Turkey, Pheasant and Waterfowl Stamp design contests.
Funds derived from the sale of these stamps contribute to restoration and management efforts on thousands of acres of important wildlife habitat. Stamp design entries must be received or postmarked by July 20, 2017, to be eligible. Judging will be in a closed session on July 27.
For rules, entry information, and Reproduction Rights Agreements, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "Wildlife Stamps." All stamp contest applicants should review contest rules carefully to ensure the eligibility of their entries. Artwork must meet technical requirements in order to be properly processed and prepared for judging and possible display at the Wisconsin State Fair.
In 2016, Caleb Metrich, Sara Stack and Craig Fairbert took home first place prizes for their entries in the Wild Turkey, Pheasant and Waterfowl Stamp design contests, respectively.
To receive contest entry deadlines, detailed event information, and the announcement for the winning artwork for the 2018 Stamp Competition, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page for "subscribe for updates for DNR topics." Follow the prompts and enroll in the "Waterfowl, Wild Turkey, and Pheasant Stamp Design Contests" list.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


2017 I Can! programs start this weekend

The campgrounds were almost all full at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas over Memorial Day weekend, but for anyone who felt left out because they didn’t have any camping equipment or experience, there’s an easy solution: Sign up for an overnight I Can Camp! program this summer.

The I Can Camp! programs introduce families to the fun of camping by demonstrating how - and providing opportunities to try - to set up a tent, start a campfire, prepare meals and more. Tents, cook stoves and other gear will be provided, and instructors will be on hand day and night to answer questions, provide encouragement and lead activities.
The I Can Camp! programs are part of the family-oriented I Can! series designed to make it easy for beginners to try new outdoor activities and learn new skills. Reservations are now being taken for the following programs, which start in June and continue through the end of August at Minnesota state parks and trails:
I Can Camp! – Practice basic camping skills at a one-night or two-night program, and sleep on comfy air mattresses in tents large enough to accommodate two adults and up to three children ($60 for one-night programs or $85 for two-night programs).
I Can Paddle! – Get the family out on the water for a guided canoeing, kayaking or sea kayaking adventure (prices vary).
I Can Climb! – Experience the thrill of rock climbing with instruction provided by trained professionals from Vertical Endeavors Guided Adventures ($10/child, $20/adult).
I Can Mountain Bike! – Learn riding techniques and explore mountain bike trails with guides from the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Club ($15/child, $25/adult).
I Can Fish! – Show your kids the fun of casting into the water and the excitement when there's a tug on the line! ($5/person, children under 12 are free).
The I Can! series also includes Archery in the Parks, which is free and for which no reservations are needed.“Not having the right equipment or know-how can be a barrier to spending time outdoors,” said Erika Rivers, director of Minnesota state parks and trails. “The I Can! programs make it easy for families to enjoy camping and other outdoor experiences by providing tents, canoes, mountain bikes and other gear. Friendly instructors also provide plenty of tips and encouragement so that adults and kids can both have fun learning new skills.”
For more information about any of the programs, including program dates, times, locations, and minimum age requirements, visit www.mndnr.gov/ican or contact the DNR Information Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday). To register for any of the programs, visit www.mndnr.gov/reservations or call 866-857-2757 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, except holidays).
The Minnesota state parks and trails “I Can!” program series is made possible with funding from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.
The I Can! programs received a Government Innovation Award in 2015. More than 12,800 people have participated in these programs since they were first offered in 2010.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR announces Great Lakes photo contest winners

MADISON, WI - Six photographers from Wisconsin earned top honors for their entries in the Department of Natural Resources' ninth annual "Wisconsin's Great Lakes" photography contest.
Their photos will be featured in a calendar available this summer at Great Lakes events and at lakeshore state parks and regional DNR offices.  
Joe Polecheck of Superior, James Brey of DePere , Christopher Suchocki of Milwaukee, and Mason Morris of Port Washington won first place honors in the contest's four categories.
Morris was awarded second place in a separate contest category. Renee Blaubach of Grafton took second place in two contest categories, and Scott Pearson of Eagle River also won second place for his photograph.
Photographers from across Wisconsin and beyond submitted more than 250 beautiful photos of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. This year's winning photos will be featured in the 2017-2018 16-month calendar that the DNR Office of Great Waters (formerly Office of Great Lakes) produces each year according to Jo Temte, the Office of Great Waters water specialist who coordinates the contest.
This is the second year that the Office of Great Waters has offered a category of Great Lakes Stewardship activities and asked participants to submit not only a photo, but a brief description of their Great Lakes project.
"We were excited to receive nine submissions in this category this year," said Office of Great Waters Director, Steve Galarneau. "We know there is a lot of great work going on to help protect and restore Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and we are happy to be able to highlight some of those projects this year."
In addition to the photo contest, DNR coordinates a "Wisconsin's Great Lakes" writing project and this year received eleven submissions that can also be found on the Office of Great Waters website.
Poems by Patricia Williams of Iola, Stephen Lars Kalmon of Withee, Marilyn Zelke-Windau of Sheboygan Falls, Karen Gersonde of Milwaukee, William Tecku of Gordon, and Lynn Polyak of Wilmington, IL, will be featured in this year's calendar.
DNR's Office of Great Waters is currently accepting photos of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and the Mississippi River for next year's contest. "Wisconsin's Great Waters" photo contest and writing project information and submission instructions can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "Great Waters Photo Contest."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR