Put outdoor expertise to work with Michigan DNR’s new Recreation 101 program

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking experienced volunteer program guides from across the state to lead hands-on clinics for its Recreation 101 program, to be offered at Michigan state parks, recreation areas and boating facilities throughout the state.

Recreation 101, sponsored by Merrell, a Michigan-based outdoor shoes and clothing company, will offer free introductory lessons that acquaint novice outdoor enthusiasts with the skills and knowledge to get them started in a new activity or sport. Introductory courses will range from hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, paddling and horseback riding, to geo-caching, birding and trail running.

Enabling Michigan residents to get outdoors and get active is one of DNR and Merrell’s top priorities. The Recreation Passport, which replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into all of Michigan’s state parks and boating access sites, provides visitors with close, affordable access to all the recreational opportunities available in Michigan state parks, recreation areas and boating facilities.

“Our focus is making the Michigan state park system a workable, enjoyable resource for Michigan residents and all state park visitors,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “We want to provide them with the tools necessary to learn any new skill, and allow them to experience all their parks have to offer.”

Often it takes just simple one-on-one instruction for a person to build the confidence to start a new sport they have always wanted to try or inspire their interest in a new activity.

“It is our hope that programs like Recreation 101 will inspire more people to get outside and have fun,” said Amy Roder, marketing specialist at Merrell. “The more tools we can provide to make the outdoors an accessible place to play, the more we know people will make a connection with their natural surroundings and actively participate in the outdoors, making it a central part of their lives.”

Volunteer guides should have a passion for the outdoors and a desire to share their recreational knowledge and skills. Along with individuals who are proficient in their particular field, ideal guides would be outfitters, retailers or brand representatives who can provide hands-on sample gear for students to try. Only the range of expertise of interested volunteers limits offerings.

For more information about volunteering for the Recreation 101 program, contact Maia Stephens, DNR Parks and Recreation recreation programmer, at 989-225-8573 or stephensm3@michigan.gov. To learn more about Merrell and its products, visit www.merrell.com.