VIDEO: RV Tire Care Tips by Mark Polk of RV Education 101

Enjoy this 48-second video from Mark Polk of RV Education 101 on RV Tire Care Tips.

Here's what Mark had to say about his video:
In this RV how to video Mark Polk with RV Education 101 offers some simple RV tire quick tips to help extend the life of your RV tires.

Michigan DNR: Improving habitat on the Au Sable River's North Branch

Workers arrange woody debris in the North Branch of the Au Sable River.     
Fisheries managers have been adding woody cover, often whole trees, to trout streams for close to a century.
During the 1930s, the federal Civilian Conservation Corps spent countless hours building what have come to be known as “lunker structures” in some of the state’s most notable trout streams.

Over the course of the last two decades, the Department of Natural Resources and fisheries conservation groups have reinvigorated the campaign to increase woody cover in streams, led by efforts along the Au Sable River that use helicopters to drop whole trees into the various branches of one of America’s most famous trout streams.

But the placement of woody debris in streams can provide benefits in addition to giving trout a place to hide. Properly placed, woody cover can improve the function of streams, including helping to manage and move sediment that covers up gravel – valuable spawning and aquatic insect habitat in the stream.

That’s a part of the focus of a $60,000 project underway this summer and next on the North Branch of the Au Sable River near Lovells. A work crew is busily placing logs and trees, as well as rehabilitating old structures, to improve habitat – and fishing – in the stream.

“This is one of our blue-ribbon trout streams,” explained DNR fisheries biologist Neal Godby, who oversees this branch of the Au Sable. “The North Branch is known for its brook trout, but over time, the population abundance has gone down. Our most recent estimates show a small rebound and we hope that will continue, so we’re just trying to improve the habitat and enhance the cover in the river.”

A relatively wide, shallow stream, the North Branch is fairly easy to wade and easy to fish, Godby said. It
was the first stretch of Michigan trout water to have flies-only regulations (1907) and the rules continue to prohibit live bait and restrict the harvest.

Workers secure woody debris in the North Branch of the
Au Sable River. (DNR photos)
The restoration project is being coordinated by the Anglers of the Au Sable, who have hired recently retired
DNR fisheries biologist Steve Sendek to oversee the effort. Sendek, who had worked on the Au Sable River system for much of his career, said the placement of new cover and restoration of aging structures will help manage the sand, which is covering up valuable gravel.

“The Anglers’ main interest here is to improve the brook trout fishing,” said Sendek. “Brook trout don’t live very long and this project is an attempt to get better brook trout survival.”

Much of the best spawning habitat remaining in the North Branch is devoid of cover, Sendek said.

“Brook trout are very vulnerable when they go on the redds in the fall,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re going to give them a little escape cover around their spawning habitat.”

The project “has been a lot of years in the making,” Sendek said. “The area has been surveyed for years, and spawning areas and natural springs have been identified. You have to be careful when you put something in here that it’s done right.”

Part of the project involves building a large woody debris structure just upstream from the Twin Branch
Bridge, which Sendek said was poorly designed and causes increased sedimentation. The new structure will trap sand that is moving downstream and will eventually be an island with vegetation growing on it that will improve stream function.

“There’s wonderful spawning gravel downstream that we’re trying to protect,” Sendek said. “If we lose that, we’re really in trouble.”

Workers cut a branch from a tree to be toppled and
placed in the river (above). Workers carry a toppled tree
to be placed in the river (bottom).
Sendek said the project has “terrific support” among the river’s property owners.

“All the people along the river here have signed easements to allow this work to happen,” he said. “They understand what this project is about and they’re good with it.”

Besides the work crew he’s hired to implement the project, Sendek said, there is a veritable army of volunteers who are helping out.

“We’re going to have weekend work bees up here where chapters of Trout Unlimited are going to come up and work on it,” he said. “Everyone’s trying to help fill the gaps because the state just doesn’t have the funds to do it all itself.”

Not that the state isn’t contributing; Anglers of the Au Sable received an almost $40,000 grant from the DNR’s Habitat Improvement Account.

“We’re counting on our partners because we just don’t have the crews to do it ourselves,” Godby said. “The partnerships here go well beyond this habitat work. There’s temperature logging and help on surveys – everything that goes on here involves our partners. We’re trying to make watershed improvements on a site level.”

Gerry Lake, who works at the North Branch Historical Society and is a member of Anglers of the Au Sable, said he’s been working to improve the stream ever since it suffered a calamitous fish kill back in the 1970s.

Workers and volunteers place woody debris in the
North Branch of the Au Sable River.
“I’m very excited by this project, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Lake said. “We’ve got to be here for the
long haul. This may be blind optimism, but the camaraderie of everyone working together here is what makes it exciting.”

Lake, who described himself as a retired fisherman, says he’s devoting all his energy into restoring the North Branch.

“It’s harder to grow trout than it is to catch them,” Lake said. “Hopefully, 20 or 30 years from now, someone will enjoy the same kind of fishing here that I did.”

Visit Michigan Habitat Improvement Fund Grants for more information.

VIDEO: Go Newmar's Comfort Drive Steering Testimonials

Enjoy this 3:4o video from Go Newmar featuring customer testimonials about the company's Comfort Drive Steering.

Here's what Go Newmar had to say about its video:
2014-Now all Newmar Diesel Products will be equipped with Comfort Drive Steering.

Great Allegheny Passage opens, among other Pittsburgh happenings

Photo courtesy of Bike The
Opening the GAP
After more than four decades in the works, the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is complete! The final mile of the nearly level trail between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., has been constructed. This scenic rail trail – which connects with the C&O Canal Towpath at Cumberland, Md. – creates a 334-mile off-road route between Pittsburgh and Washington. The 150-mile GAP trail is filled with historic tunnels, viaducts and bridges and is considered one of the most scenic and accessible trails in the nation.

Meadowcroft Opens
Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, the oldest site of human habitation in North America, kicked off its 2013 season in May. Meadowcroft, part of the Senator John Heinz History Center’s museum system, was recently named one of the “Five Great Places to See Evidence of First Americans” by Smithsonian magazine. The site has become an international destination, welcoming nearly 15,000 visitors from 30 U.S. states and 12 countries last year. The National Historic Landmark, located in Avella, Pa., features a massive, 16,000-year-old rock overhang used by the region’s earliest inhabitants for shelter.

Hitting a High Note
Opera lovers take note: Pittsburgh’s Opera Theater is planning a three-week festival of opera, musicals, new works and recitals, June 28-July 16. SummerFest 2013 will feature both classic and new operas sung in English and performed in the beautiful Art Deco auditorium of the historic Twentieth Century Club, one of Pittsburgh’s hidden architectural treasures. The SummerFest 2012 drew more than 5,000 people to 23 ticketed performances and many free events.

Expanded Fleet
As a symbol of Pittsburgh’s river renaissance, the Gateway Clipper has added to its fleet. The Three Rivers Queen, a beautiful 110-feet long and 32-feet wide, all-steel classic paddle wheel style passenger boat with three decks, was christened on May 29. The Queen can accommodate 250 passengers for dinner or 338 for cruises along Pittsburgh’s three rivers that offer some of the most scenic sightseeing opportunities in southwestern Pennsylvania. She joins the other boats in The Gateway Clipper Fleet: The Majestic, The Empress, The Princess, The Dutchess and The Countess.

Frick Expands
The Frick Art & Historical Center will soon break ground on a new welcome and orientation center which will help enable visitors to learn about the Henry Clay Frick family and life in turn-of-the-20th-century Pittsburgh. In addition, a new Museum Shop will be constructed, enabling the organization to devote the Frick Children’s Playhouse to children’s programming.

Camping World announces plan to open RV SuperCenter in Toledo, OH area

This press release was just issued.

LINCOLNSHIRE, IL--(Marketwired - Jun 25, 2013) - Camping World, the nation's largest RV and outdoor retailer, and Good Sam, the world's largest RV owners organization today announced plans to open a new facility of the national SuperCenter, spring 2014, in Rossford, Ohio near the intersection of Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike. The building site is located near numerous rapidly growing businesses, including a Bass Pro Shop, and development plans are for a 10 to 12 acres facility including an RV dealership, service bays, a massive Camping World retail store and a state of the art collision center. The new location will join over 100 other national locations with a SuperCenter currently in Akron, Ohio and another location an hour away in Belleville, Michigan.

Camping World was approached by several developers and ended up choosing the Toledo area because of the national and state parks, fishing, camping and other recreational points of interest that are key for the RV lifestyle. With expected support of city officials, Camping World is in final stages of planning the new location while discussing generating tax revenue and new employment opportunities to the community. Early discussions have shown strong support and interest from multiple manufacturers, suppliers and vendors looking for additional expansion in to this growing market.

"Our growth plans across the country are consistent with Camping World's philosophy of commitment to enhance our customers' total RV experience," said Marcus Lemonis, Chairman and CEO of Camping World. "By increasing the growth of both the retail and dealership locations in our network, Camping World is getting closer to achieving our goal of truly being the one-stop shopping location for the RV and outdoor enthusiast across the country and to continue to bring the best RV makes and models to the RV community."

The company expects to open the new Supercenter in the Toledo area in early 2014 with a large selection of RV Manufacturers and product line and to hire about 25 to 30 new employees to reinforce their sales, service and support needs for this local dealership and accessory store.

"Camping World is dedicated to providing its customers with the best experience and value in the industry. Our goal is to expand our business into new areas, and we are very excited about serving the greater Toledo community," said Marcus Lemonis, Camping World Chairman and CEO. "Camping World has a strong history of unparalleled value, selection and personal customer service and we look forward to serving the Toledo area in the near future."

All details, including launch timing, specific address, RV manufacturers and product lines will be announced at a later date.

About Camping World & Good Sam
Both founded in 1966, Camping World is America's #1 source for RVs, camping accessories, RV maintenance and repair and Good Sam is the world's largest RV owners organization offering helpful technical tips, vacation planning, extended warranty, magazine subscriptions, roadside assistance and more to serve the outdoor enthusiast. Partnered together, Camping World and Good Sam offer more to those who love the RV lifestyle by offering one-stop shopping and resources for everything RV and outdoor.

Camping World features over 10,000 quality products located at over 100 SuperCenters nationwide, easy online and catalog shopping as well as stocking a wide selection of new and used trailers and motorhomes from top RV manufacturers. Good Sam members receive cost-saving benefits and services, plus loads of valuable RV information and travel tips to get you ready for your next adventure. Additionally, Good Sam represents more than 1,500 local RV chapters designed to bring RVers together from similar geographic regions for group camping excursions. Camping World is the title sponsor of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ in addition to the Official RV and Outdoor Retailer of NASCAR®.

For more information, visit and

Individuals interested in applying for a position with Camping World may visit

NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc.

Consider a National Parks Annual Pass

If your vacation or weekend plans include visits to national parks and recreation areas, consider getting a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.

Benefits of the Pass 
  • The pass provide entrance to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the United States. Entrance covers: 
  • Pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single private vehicle where per-vehicle fees are charged. 
  • Pass owner and three accompanying individuals ages 16 and older where per-person entrance fees are charged (children under 16 are admitted for free).

Types of Passes  
  • Annual Pass - It's $80 (ages 16 years and older) and valid for one year.  
  • Annual Pass for Military - Members of the U.S. military and their dependents are eligible for a free Annual Pass.  
  • Senior Pass - It's $10 and valid for the lifetime of the pass owner. You must be 62 years or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.  
  • Access Pass - It's free for the lifetime of the pass holder with documentation of a permanent disability. You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.  
  • Volunteer Pass - You can earn this pass with 250 or more hours of volunteer service on public lands. The pass is valid for one year

2013 Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration announced

The 2013 Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration were presented recently at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Detroit. The awards were presented by the Michigan Travel Commission and the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan.

The Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration were created by the Michigan Travel Commission, in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, to elevate the status of Michigan’s tourism industry and to promote innovative collaboration as an effective, efficient and creative operating principle for the industry. The inaugural awards were presented at the 2009 annual Tourism Conference.

In the Experience Development & Presentation category, The “Michigan Catch & Cook” collaboration took the honors. This collaboration included six partners: the Michigan Charter Boat Association, the Michigan Restaurant Association, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Sea Grant and the Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Anglers on the Great Lakes can set out on a charter boat in the morning and enjoy their fresh catch at a restaurant in the afternoon as a result of the collaboration of Michigan Catch and Cook. The program is an innovative and compelling experience that brings recreational fishing and the restaurant industry together – expanding the services offered to clients by charter boat fishing companies, generating new business for restaurants and promoting Michigan’s Great Lakes. The concept of lake to plate has enhanced the visitor experience not just with the catch but with the anticipation of a great meal ahead.

Experience Grand Rapids won in the category of Tourism Marketing & Promotion for their “Cool Brews & Hot Eats” promotion, which included 59 restaurants and breweries for the collaboration. The partnering organizations were creative in their ideas and offered beer pairing events and beer-inspired dishes. The media rallied behind the promotion, blogs detailed the activities, visual stories were created on Instagram, and QR codes were utilized at the breweries for prize giveaways. The promotion ignited a collaborative fire inside the already passionate local chefs and brewers, all in support of Michigan tourism.

The third and final award went to The Henry Ford and the Shanghai Auto Museum in the category of Non-Traditional Partnerships. The Henry Ford’s relationship with the Shanghai Auto Museum began in 2010 with a letter of cooperation between the two museums to strengthen relations to build a new bridge between the cultures and the countries. As a result, the museums have shared best practices which led to a loan agreement that has brought automotive artifacts from the collection of The Henry Ford to Shanghai for display in the Shanghai Auto Museum. Additionally, The Henry Ford has a 12-minute video playing in the museum which invites Chinese museum-goers to visit the United States, Michigan and The Henry Ford. As a result of the collaboration with the Shanghai Auto Museum, The Henry Ford has experienced over a 450% increase in Chinese group/tour operator visits and double digit increases in general visitors to the facility from China.

The Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan is comprised of more than 40 statewide tourism associations, corporations and convention and visitor bureaus whose mission is to promote Michigan’s travel and tourism industry as a vital component of economic development and quality of life through governmental advocacy, public relations, and other promotional and educational efforts.

Cadillac-area students impact elk viewing in northeast Michigan

Left to right, Katie Walters from Manton High School, instructor
Frank Tilmann, Chris Vaskin from Pine River High School, and
Olivia Kunkel from Manton High School with the roof they built.
The Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center (CTC) recently helped improve residents' and visitors'
elk-viewing experience in northeast Michigan.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and the Department of Natural Resources have partnered to increase awareness of elk in Michigan and to promote and enhance elk viewing. One way to encourage elk viewing is to build information stations, where visitors can learn facts about elk in the areas where they are routinely found. The first step of this project was to construct the information stations.

Frank Tilmann, building trades instructor at the CTC, thought this would be a great project for his students to work on. “It was something fun and different,” said Tilmann.

Students from several surrounding schools, who attend the building trades class, built the three information stations from scratch. The stations will be used to help show visitors where elk can be found and how to view them responsibly.

Left to right, Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center students
Andy Noordhoek from Northern McBain Christian School and
Caleb Stagg (home-school) building an elk information station./
Cadillac-area students will be invited to visit Michigan’s elk range, northeast of Gaylord, to help place the
stations they built. The stations will be installed in July of 2013 in order to be ready for the popular fall viewing season. September and October are the best months to view elk, during the breeding seasons, when elk can be seen feeding in open, grassy areas and males – called bulls – will be bugling.

The presence of elk in Michigan is a true conservation success story. Historical accounts indicate elk were once common in the Lower Peninsula, but the population had disappeared by the late 1800s. Seven elk were released in the Wolverine area in 1918. Those animals were the founders of today’s herd. Today elk management involves many partnerships, including habitat-management projects supported by the DNR and RMEF, and now informational stations provided by the Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center.

“RMEF’s Michigan chapters are proud to be a partner with the DNR and the Wexford-Missaukee CTC,” said Michigan’s RMEF Regional Director Doug Doherty. “We can truly make a difference when we can work together like this, and it’s bonus to have students involved on this project.”

For more information on how to view elk in Michigan visit

VIDEO: Visit Pennsylvania's newest - and coolest! - commerical

Enjoy this 1:23 video from Visit Pennsylvania!

Here's what they had to say about their video:
Explore Pennsylvania's multifaceted history, sleek cityscapes, charming small towns, rugged woodlands and lush countryside.

VIDEO: Brighton State Recreation Area offers EZ Launch Accessible Transfer System for Canoes and Kayaks

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently announced that the official installation of its new EZ Launch Accessible Transfer System for Canoes and Kayaks at Brighton State Recreation Area is now complete. Beginning last month, people of all abilities can now enter their kayak or canoe unassisted, and enjoy the 119-acre Bishop Lake.

The above video from EZ Launch showcases the transfer system at use in Montana.

The accessible transfer system provides accessibility that exceeds the minimum requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Users simply place themselves onto the bench from their wheelchair, then slide over and drop down into their kayak or canoe while utilizing handrails to pull off and on. Having the vessel elevated and out of the water during this transition allows everyone to have a safe and stable way to access a canoe or kayak.

Funds for the purchase and installation of the launch were awarded through the Michigan State Waterways program. Additional site improvements were funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s “Access 2 Recreation” initiative, focused on recreation projects that incorporate universal design principles resulting in greater accessibility in the outdoor environment. The launch is a product offered by EZ Dock of Missouri, and was installed by KBE Hoist, located in New Baltimore.

The Brighton State Recreation Area offers some of the most comprehensive recreational opportunities for people with or without disabilities. These include one mile of accessible trail, an accessible fishing pier, an elevated tent site and an eight-person rustic cabin. It also offers accommodations for horseback riding at the stables and accessible facilities at the Bishop Lake campground. An accessible disc golf course is expected to be completed later this year.

VIDEO: 'FamilyFun' magazine goes wild: Top 3 ways for families to celebrate nature


Including National Wildlife Federation’s 'Great American Backyard Campout'

FamilyFun magazine (, a trusted, go-to source for travel recommendations and family activities for more than 20 years, has released a special “Get Outdoors” themed issue and has partnered with the National Wildlife Federation on great ideas to help families spend more time in nature. The “Let’s Get Outdoors!” feature story appears in the June/July issue of the magazine, on newsstands June 5 includes dozens of ideas ranging from mapping the neighborhood’s natural wonders to going on a photo safari.

“When kids are in touch with nature, the whole world wins, since nature-loving children grow up with a greater sense of environmental responsibility,” said Ann Hallock, Editor-in-chief, FamilyFun magazine. “The ideas we’ve included in our June/July issue are designed to engage, inspire, and entertain our kids – and make them healthier and happier.”

“NWF research shows that 78% of moms want their kids to get outside more often,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, Vice President, Strategic Alliances & Special Events at the National Wildlife Federation. “Studies show time spent in green spaces reduces stress; encourages cooperation and compassion; and helps children focus on schoolwork, think creatively, and score higher on school tests.”

FamilyFun’s Top 3 Ways for Families to Celebrate Nature:

1) Throw a Backyard Campout 
Even if only steps away from the comforts of home, camping immerses familes in nature like nothing else. That’s the thinking behind the NWF’s Great American Backyard Campout on June 22. To participate, simply register at and make it a family affair. Invite friends to join, camp with a scout troop, class, or town, or see if a group campout nearby is already registered on NWF’s website. (And if June 22 doesn’t work out, register for another date.)

2) Turn the Yard into a Fun Zone 
FamilyFun recommends setting up play areas in the front or side yard and hosting a gathering so that both neighborhood kids and their parents can get comfortable with your yard. Encourage a variety of activities – offer something to climb on like a swing set; a flat, paved surface for bikes; a place to relax with comfortable seating, like a hammock; and a private play space, such as a fort or pop-up tent. Finally, set up an outdoors arts-and-crafts station with a plastic table and chairs, a whiteboard and markers, and a waterproof bin for materials such as sidewalk chalk or cardboard and glue for nature collages.

3) Share Your Outdoor Observations 
The scientists who study nature need our help—and it’s easier than ever for families to connect with them. Websites and apps such as (search “wildlife watch”),, and the free app Project Noah get kids and parents started on fun outdoor projects such as counting butterflies, mapping mushrooms, reporting on the condition of local streams, and more.

For more fun ideas on how to celebrate nature as a family and get kids moving outdoors, check out the June/July issue of FamilyFun magazine in print or on the iPad, or visit

FamilyFun readers with their own unique ideas for getting their families out in nature can share and win! Go to and click on the “Get Outdoors” tab to submit an idea. Each of nine winning entries will receive a prize package of gear from the National Wildlife Federation and could be featured in a future issue of FamilyFun.

About FamilyFun Magazine 
Reaching an audience of more than 5 million, FamilyFun magazine gives parents ideas and inspiration needed to create unforgettable family moments. Part of Meredith Corporation’s Parents Network of brands, FamilyFun is a trusted expert on family cooking, vacations, celebrations, play, creative projects and learning — the full spectrum of fun that enriches the precious time families share. Written for parents with children 3 to 12, FamilyFun is unique in the marketplace, delivering real ideas for — and from — real families.

Local Culinary Offerings Highlight Tall Ship Manitou’s 2013 Sailing Season

Traverse City has been touted as the “Culinary Capital of Michigan” and throughout the summer months, the offers countless opportunities for visitors to savor tasty
Tall Ship Manitou

Moomers Ice Cream – voted #1 scoop on “Good Morning America” – is served up during every afternoon sail. Guests are served up two delicious flavors, including Moomers prize winning “Cherries Moobilee.”

Wine Tasting Cruises, featuring wines from Leelanau Cellars and Left Foot Charley paired with savory cuisine from Silver Swan Homemade Foods, are offered on Tuesday and Thursday evening sails.

Sunday evenings deliver the Microbrew & Pizza Cruise, featuring beer from Short’s Brewery and tasty Crusted Creations Pizza.

Specially-catered picnic meals are included during each evening sail, throughout the summer. Served up by local deli “Dockside,” the meals includes a delicious turkey or vegetarian wrap, pasta salad, cookie for dessert and a beverage.

Cooking aboard Manitou is a unique experience. The galley boasts an authentic 1926 woodburning stove and old school ice box. Veteran schooner chef Laura Cavender will be serving up a variety of fresh homemade meals for bed and breakfast and Windjammer guests. Seating for 24 is available in wooden booth-style tables (which later are used for card and board games by overnight guests).

During the “Floating Bed & Breakfast” (offered Tuesday thru Saturday, June to August) guests are served a full breakfast, cooked from scratch, featuring fresh baked goods. Imagine yourself lounging on a warm summer morning with a fresh mug of coffee as the sun rises over Old Mission Peninsula – that’s what relaxing is all about in Northern Michigan.

Three meals a day are provided to passengers during the multi-day Windjammers in September. This one-of-

About the Manitou 
a-kind experience is available for up to 24 passengers, based on various themes – including a Wine Tasting Excursion with sommelier and restaurant proprietor Amanda Danielson from Trattoria Stella in Traverse City. During this unique excursion, passengers learn winemaking histories and taste varietals from different countries, as well as being served dinner featuring wine pairings.
Since 1987, the Traverse Tall Ship Company has been offering sailing adventures on the freshwater Grand Traverse Bay – and beyond, into Northern Lake Michigan.

As one of the largest sailing ships on the Great Lakes, the Manitou is a replica of an 1800s “coasting” cargo schooner. A traditional two-masted, gaff rigged, topsail schooner, Manitou measures 114 feet in length with more than 3000 square feet of sail.

With a 59 passenger sailing capacity (24 overnight capacity), there is plenty of space for sitting and moving around the decks while under sail. While aboard the Manitou, passengers are free to leave the sailing to the experienced crew or lend a hand and learn the arts of the sailor. An excursion aboard the Manitou allows you to remove yourself from the trappings of modern life: no TV, phone (cell phones are discouraged), internet, email and definitely no itinerary.

In addition to public day sails and multi-day windjammer cruises, the schooner Manitou works with Inland Seas Education Association, providing hands-on environmental education to school kids from throughout the region and state. The Manitou is also available for private charters, making it ideal for corporate outings, wedding parties and family reunions.

Traverse Tall Ship Company is located at 13258 S.W. Bay Shore Drive (M22) in Traverse City and shares a dock with the fleet from the Maritime Heritage Alliance, creating a unique nautical experience for the area.

To make reservations for any of the 2013 Manitou sailing adventures, call toll free 800-678-0383. Gift certificates are also available. For additional information about the Manitou, including its corporate charters, log on to

Top 10 Awesome Macgyver Tricks for your RV

Every day, Marianne Riddle from Motorhome Madness sends out an email with that day's highlight of
anything and everything an RVer might enjoy on the Internet. The other day she featured this little nugget ...

Top 10 Awesome MacGyver Tricks That Speak For Themselves

Below are the three that I thought would work best for RVers. But I would encourage you to click on their link above so you can see the rest, because they all are pretty cool.

  • Make perfect pancakes with a squeeze bottle. Clean an empty ketchup bottle, fill it with pancake mix. Then, simply squeeze out the perfectly portioned pancake. Voila!
  • Organize anything with an over-the-door shoe holder bag.
  • Create extra shelf space with a tension rod. Actually, for us RVers, tension roads help keep everything in place.

Michigan conservation officers offer tips for a safe boating season

Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ conservation officers remind Michigan residents to practice safety when boating:
  • Wear a life jacket – more than 80 percent of drowning accidents in the United States are due to people not wearing their life jackets. 
  • Make sure your boat is properly equipped and your equipment is in good working order. In addition to all legally required equipment, such as life jackets and fire extinguishers, always carry a first-aid kit, nautical charts and an anchor. Make sure your navigation lights are working properly.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol – nearly half of all boating accidents involve alcohol. Studies show that passengers are 10 times more likely to fall overboard when they have consumed alcohol. 
  • File a float plan. Always let a family member or friend on shore know the who, what, when and where of your trip – and when you are expected back. Give them phone numbers for the local sheriff or U.S. Coast Guard in the event you don’t return when expected.
  • Maintain a sharp lookout. Stay alert for other boats, swimmers, skiers and objects in the water. This is especially true when operating in crowded waterways, at night and during conditions of restricted visibility. 
  • Carry a marine radio or cell phone. Be prepared to call for help in case you are involved in an accident, your boat becomes disabled or you otherwise need assistance. Program the phone numbers for the county sheriff or U.S. Coast Guard in your cell phone. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged, but be aware that there are often gaps in coverage on the water. 
Sgt. Al Bavarskas of the DNR, the marine safety specialist for the Law Enforcement Division, emphasized the use of life jackets.

“In most of the drowning accidents in the United States, people have life jackets on board their boats, but they just aren’t wearing them,” Bavarskas said. “Life jackets must be Coast Guard-approved, must be in good and serviceable condition and properly fitted to the person wearing it.”

In Michigan, anyone 6 years of age or younger must wear a life jacket when on the open deck of any vessel. But wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) is recommended for everyone.

"Every study shows that using life jackets saves lives," said Lt. Andrew Turner, boating law administrator for the DNR's Law Enforcement Division. "Life jackets have been redesigned in recent years so that they come in styles that are comfortable and easy to wear. Having a life jacket on prevents the search for one during a boating emergency."

For more information on safe boating, visit the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Resource Center at

VIDEO: Kevin VanDam talks up fishing for Pure Michigan

Enjoy this :31 video from Pure Michigan about fishing, featuring Kevin VanDam.

Here's what Pure Michigan had to say about their video:
Professional bass angler Kevin VanDam takes us on a fishing trip around Pure Michigan. For more on fishing in Michigan, visit

Exploring Michigan's Mining Heritage

Mining, once the largest industry in the Upper Peninsula, continues to have a significant impact on Michigan’s economy and local communities in the U.P. Its deep heritage is evident at three iconic Michigan Historical Center sites: Fort Wilkins Historic Site at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the Michigan Iron Industry Museum near Marquette, and Fayette Historic Townsite on the Garden Peninsula. Together, or separately, these picturesque sites offer an exceptional way to get in touch with Michigan’s storied history and mining heritage.

Costumed interpreters help visitors step back in time to the 1840s
at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper Harbor. The historic fort
at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula features new exhibits in
2013 and has a planned archaeological dig this summer.

Fort Wilkins Historic Site, Copper Harbor

Located on the rugged coast of Lake Superior at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Fort Wilkins was built by the U.S. Army to maintain law and order in what was known as “Copper Country” in Michigan.

“After soldiers accidentally found copper near Fort Wilkins 1844, the Pittsburg and Boston Copper Harbor Mining Company sank mine shafts which are still visible at the park,” said DNR historian Barry James. “Archaeology work has also identified the sites of the blacksmith shop and other buildings that supported the mine.”

Fort Wilkins was the northernmost post in a chain of forts that stretched from Keweenaw Point to the Gulf of Mexico. The isolated post was built in 1844 and abandoned just two years later. It was briefly re-garrisoned in the 1860s, after the Civil War ended. Ultimately, the expense and difficulty of supplying the fort led to is abandonment in 1870.

Today, Fort Wilkins is a well-preserved museum village in Fort Wilkins Historic State Park. It is bordered by water in a setting virtually undisturbed by modern intrusions. Nineteen buildings survive; 12 of them are original structures dating to the 1840s.

The preservation of Fort Wilkins, begun in the 1920s, continues based on research by historians, archaeologists and architects. Today, museum exhibits, audio-visual programs and living history interpretation evoke the solitude of military service on the Lake Superior frontier.

New at Fort Wilkins
  • Exhibit upgrade to married enlisted men’s cabin – including nine-minute introductory AV program, “The Fort Wilkins Story” and a children’s hands-on room (2012)
  • Archaeology survey of 490 acres that expanded the park’s boundaries in 1998 (scheduled for summer 2013)

Daily Attractions
  • 1844 copper mine site
  • 21 historic buildings
  • Costumed interpreters
  • Lighthouse boat tour (fee)

2013 Special Events
  • July 26-28 - Civil War-Era Artillery Encampment
  • Aug. 3 - Fort Wilkins Historic State Park Copperman Triathlon

Contact the Park:

Newly constructed interpretative trails at the Michigan Iron
Industry Museum continue the story of Michigan’s iron mining
heritage and offer visitors a pleasant outdoor experience.

Michigan Iron Industry Museum, Negaunee

Near Negaunee, the Michigan Iron Industry Museum overlooks the Carp River and the site of the first iron forge in the Lake Superior region. From 1848 to 1855, the Jackson Iron Company and others manufactured wrought iron there from local ore, demonstrating the high quality of Michigan’s iron ore deposits.

“From a business standpoint, the Carp River Forge was largely unsuccessful, but that pioneer enterprise was the seed of the Michigan iron industry that flourished for a century and continues to this day,” explained DNR historian Troy Henderson.

The Michigan Iron Industry Museum traces the industrial development of the Michigan iron ranges through exhibits and interprets the impact the industry had on communities and individuals. In addition to the exhibits, the museum offers newly constructed interpretive trails, stunning views from an elevated walkway of the Carp River forge site, and a 23-minute movie on the social history of the Marquette Iron Range.

New at the Museum:
  • Link and trailhead connection to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail (scheduled for July 2013)
  • Iron Ore Heritage Bike Tours (scheduled for July 2013)
  • Snowshoe-lacing workshops. (scheduled for winter 2013-14)

Daily Attractions:
  • Hands-on exhibits
  • Outdoor interpretive trails
  • “Iron Spirits” 23-minute high definition video
  • Museum store

2013 Special Events:
  • June 16 - Iron, Steel, and the Automobile: 24th Annual Antique Auto Exhibit
  • July 11, 18, and 25 - Iron Ore Heritage Bike Tours
  • Aug. 3-4 - Iron Ore and the Civil War event
  • July 9 - Aug. 20 - Tuesday Afternoon Program Series

Contact the Museum:

The Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee tells the
story of Michigan’s iron industry from its start in the mid-1800s
to the present day. Exhibits include a short film on the social
history of the Marquette Iron Range. (DNR photos)

Fayette Historic Townsite, Garden Peninsula

On the Garden Peninsula, between Manistique and Escanaba, is Fayette Historic Townsite in Fayette Historic State Park.

“For a historian, Fayette is an exceptional example of a 19th-century industrial community and company town, but what also makes Fayette a matchless destination is the stunning scenery of the site – the blue Lake Michigan harbor, the white limestone cliffs and the green forested hills,” Henderson said.

Fayette was a late 19th-century furnace town owned by the Jackson Iron Company. From 1867 to 1871, the company operated two blast furnaces that produced pig iron for America’s steel industry. Fayette’s population hovered around 500 when the furnaces and charcoal kilns that powered them were in production. When iron smelting ceased in 1891, the company town was abandoned.

Today, more than a century removed from the bustle and grime of its heyday, it is preserved as an outstanding example of a 19th-century industrial community and company town. Set against the picturesque harbor, 19 structures from the complex, business district and residential neighborhoods survive. Buildings include the restored furnace complex, reconstructed kilns and a three-story hotel. Nearby are remains of the docks, and the community racetrack and baseball field.

Historical, archaeological and architectural research continues at Fayette while museum exhibits, walking tours and special events interpret Fayette’s rich industrial heritage.

New at Fayette
  • Roof restoration of Fayette’s historic hotel (scheduled for summer 2013)
  • Interpretation of Fayette’s historic racetrack/baseball field (scheduled for summer, 2013)
  • Archaeological survey near the furnace complex and historic racetrack/baseball field (scheduled for summer 2013)
Daily Attractions:
  • Modern visitor center and museum store
  • 20 historic buildings, including a workers’ house built based on archaeological and historic research
  • Museum exhibits, outdoor walking tour and scenic overlooks
  • Guided tours (mid-June through mid-August)
  • Playground, semi-modern camping, picnicking and swimming available in the park
2013 Special Events
  • June 15 - Christmas in June
  • Aug. 10 - Fayette Heritage Day
  • Oct. 5 - Fayette Fall Fest
Contact Fayette Historic State Park

Duck Lake Fire: A year later

A crew works to plant a portion of the 1.2 million jack pine
seedlings that will cover 1,290 acres.(DNR photos)
What a difference a year makes!

In 2012, the snow was gone in March and Michigan was experiencing one of its most severe fire seasons in recent memory. Early this May, much of the Upper Peninsula remained covered in snow.

A year ago, the Department of Natural Resources was monitoring extreme drought conditions throughout the state. These exceptional conditions increased wildfire risk – requiring only a spark to ignite a flame, which in this case came from a lightning storm.

“While lightning-caused wildfires in May are not rare, they certainly aren’t common either,” explained Paul Kollmeyer, resource protection manager for the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “Lightning fires occur more frequently in years with drought conditions, which is why we experienced more of them last fire season. On May 21, 2012, there were six lightning strikes that developed into wildfires.”

Because wildfire conditions were “very high” in the Upper Peninsula north of Newberry, one of the May 21 lightning strikes ignited the largest fire Michigan had seen in the past 32 years. The Duck Lake Fire was discovered on May 23 by a DNR wildfire aircraft detection pilot. While it was still small, department crews worked through the night and into the next day to contain and hold it against the wind that was forecasted.

Department of Natural Resources staff had to race against
the elements to put up timber sales to salvage resources on
the land that was burned during the May 2012 Duck Lake Fire
in Newberry. Many trees, like the one shown here, were
impacted by insects that moved into the area after the fire.

On the afternoon of May 24, a then-small wildfire blew up and began its 11-mile run to Lake Superior. When it was finally contained, the Duck Lake Fire had burned 21,069 acres. More than 230 residences, 161 outbuildings and nine commercial structures were threatened by the fire. Forty-nine residences, 58 outbuildings, two commercial structures and 26 campers were destroyed. The fire totaled more than $3 million in suppression costs.

“Top-notch emergency responders from Luce County, the DNR and other state departments gave their all to suppress the Duck Lake Fire and keep losses to a minimum,” Kollmeyer said. “If it wasn’t for the coordinated effort, damage could have been far greater.”

Bill O’Neill, chief of the Forest Resources Division and state forester, said the hard work didn’t stop after the fire was suppressed.

Salvaging What Was Left 

While suppression efforts were ongoing, the DNR began plans for the salvage of the state-managed timber that was burned during the fire. It took just one week for a team of 20 professionals to establish sale boundaries and estimate the timber volume on the scarred acres of state forest land.

O’Neill said it was a race against the elements.

Bracken fern, blueberry bushes and young jack pine are
already naturally re-growing in the area that was impacted
by the Duck Lake Fire.
“Insects, like wood-boring beetles, moved into the area after the fire and began feeding on the dead trees,”
said Keith Magnusson, Forest Resources Division Newberry unit manager. “In order to get the most out of what was left after the fire, we had to move quickly before the timber was further deteriorated.”

Before the end of the year, 9,784 acres at the Duck Lake Fire site had been prepared for salvage, and 53,857 cords of wood within the area had been salvaged.

“To date, 80 percent of the salvaged wood has been harvested,” Magnusson said. “Harvest activities had to stop during the winter due to the amount of snow we received, but we anticipate the remaining 20 percent to be harvested within the next few months.”

He added that it’s all part of the reforestation plan for the area.

Getting Back to Green 

A year later, the forest is naturally recovering. Bracken fern, blueberry bushes, mushrooms and grasses have started to regrow. Pine seedlings are once again growing in the areas that were previously forested. Thanks to Mother Nature, the green is returning. To give her a hand in the process, O’Neill said the DNR has evaluated and prioritized areas that needed planting efforts.

“We have 1,290 acres that are scheduled to be planted with approximately 1.2 million jack pine seedlings during a two-week period that started early this month,” he said. “The seedlings will come from the DNR-operated Wyman Nursery, and will be monitored after planting to ensure the planting will be successful.”

In addition to its own resources, the DNR received a donation for 150,000 seedlings from the Arbor Day Foundation to reforest the area impacted by the fire.

“Working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, our members and sponsors will have the chance to support high-need replanting projects that protect wildlife habitat and restore woodland forests for the enjoyment of future generations,” said Brad Brandt, reforestation manager at the Arbor Day Foundation.

Department of Natural Resources staff will monitor the
seedlings planted a year after the Duck Lake Fire to ensure
they are successfully growing.

The View Today

Aside from the sprouts, seedlings and returning green, O’Neill did warn that visitors to the area will see some dead trees that were left behind.

“We salvaged timber in areas that have historically been managed for timber production,” he said. “We did not salvage timber in areas that were sensitive, such as the Two Hearted River corridor, the Little Two Hearted River corridor or areas near wetland complexes.

“The dead trees that were left in these areas will provide habitat for such wildlife as black-backed woodpecker and provide habitat for cavity nesters. As snags fall over, they will provide habitat for critters on the ground that will use them for shelter; as snags rot they provide structure and stability to the soil.”

O’Neill added that the DNR planted some areas of the fire, but it is anticipated that many areas will naturally regenerate, as pine is a species that has adapted to fire.

“As time goes on we will be continually monitoring the effects of this fire and making plans accordingly to ensure sustainability,” he said. “It’s all part of the plan.”

To learn more about wildfire management and the role that fire plays on the forest ecosystem, go to

Therapik Offers A Technological Twist For Bug Bite & Sting Relief

It's a product that provides a technological twist to bug bite treatment. Therapik, a small, portable hand-held device confirmed by the FDA to deliver bug bite relief is proving to be a welcome weapon against pain and itching from insect bites and stings.
Therapik has been shown to be an effective treatment for stings and bites from mosquitoes, bees, wasps, hornets, black flies, ants, fleas, ticks, chiggers and even jellyfish and stinging nettle. This unique treatment device soothes pain and itching and is safe for both adults and children.

Therapik's design is based on a simple, scientifically proven principle. Most insect venom is thermolabile, or
deactivate the venom from over 20,000 different species of insects and sea creatures. As the heat neutralizes the venom and increases blood flow to the affected area, there is a marked reduction in swelling, redness, pain and itching. Therapik can be reapplied as often as necessary until sufficient bug bite relief is obtained. Most Therapik users find that one 20- to 30-second application is enough to stop the itch and pain permanently.

Small, lightweight and battery-powered, Therapik sells for $12.95 and is available at:

** Not for use on spider or snake bites.
sensitive to heat. Therapik?s patented technology delivers heat in the precise temperature range necessary to

VIDEO: Illinois 'Magnificent Stuff Happens Here' promotion seeks your entries

Submit your short videos and photos at and be part of Illinois Tourism's Magnificent Stuff Happens Here. You and your stuff could be featured in our advertising and commercials. What kinds of stuff do we want? All kinds. Funny, wild, weird, beautiful, inspiring, random—you name it. Basically if it happened in Illinois, we want your stuff.

And remember to tag your stuff on social sites with #ILmagstuff.

Michigan Parks Go Mobile

Michigan Recreation and Park Association and Mousetrap Mobile create free SMART Parks app, text alert service 

From beautiful sandy beaches and inviting pools to miles of hiking and bike trails, family campsites, and ball fields; the roll-out of a free smart-phone app will help you easily navigate Michigan’s most scenic parks and recreation areas.

The Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) has partnered with Royal Oak-based Mousetrap Mobile to unveil SMART Parks; a free custom mobile app and text alert service. SMART Parks allows park and recreation departments to reach residents on-the-go with updates via text alert, while the mobile app displays park website and event information in an easy to navigate mobile format.

“We are excited to have developed this program with MRPA,” said Gregory Nasto, president of Mousetrap Group, LLC. “Providing this technology and communication system to Michigan communities will improve administrative efficiencies as well as enhance community services and user experiences. Plus, the program is supported through local business and corporate sponsorship, which generates new revenue that is shared with each participating park system.”

The customizable mobile apps, which can be accessed through local park and recreation websites on any mobile device or downloaded through iTunes and the Android Market, provides park and recreation information for each community that has signed-up with MRPA as a “SMART Park.” Port Huron, Oakland County, Howell, Grand Blanc, Oxford, Frankenmuth, the Southeastern Livingston County Recreation Authority (SELCRA) and the Michigan Amateur Softball Association (MASA) have already created apps that are live and available for download.

“Parks and recreation is extremely important to revitalizing our cities and towns, and SMART Parks easily connects mobile users to parks and recreation departments,” said Ann Conklin, chief operating officer at MRPA. “Now, more than ever, park and recreation departments must re-invent how we provide and market our services, and we are excited to offer this mobile guide free of charge to Michigan residents and visitors.”

Mobile users can choose which notifications they’d like to receive—from pool and beach closings to trail conditions and recreation game delays. Information is displayed clearly with descriptions and includes links to additional information, social media sites, and more.

“Easy access to parks and recreation provides people with great places to be active and healthy,” Conklin said. That’s why we created SMART Parks; to provide local recreation departments with mobile friendly ways to promote their programs, parks and facilities, while connecting residents and visitors to pertinent information.”

Michigan’s parks and recreation services are essential components of vibrant communities that produce jobs, spur economic development, and create opportunities for healthy living and community activity. For more information, resources and testimonials about SMART Parks, visit

About the Michigan Recreation and Park Association 
Founded in 1935, the Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) provides advocacy, resources and professional development opportunities to a devoted and diverse membership of park and recreation agencies, professionals, vendors and advocates. MRPA exists to provide members with resources, to advocate for the profession and to prove parks and recreation matter.

Follow MRPA on Facebook and Twitter.

Ohio DNR offers 'Camping 101 Program' in June, July for first-time campers

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio State Parks will offer families an opportunity to experience camping for the first time with all the gear provided, along with helpful tips from experts, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“Camping 101” weekends are scheduled for June 21-23 at Alum Creek State Park, June 28-30 at Deer Creek State Park, July 12-14 at Buck Creek State Park and July 19-21 at Delaware State Park.

Up to 10 families, or groups up to six, can participate in each Camping 101 weekend. The Camping 101 participants get two nights of camping at a discounted rate of $20 per night, plus some meals, and free use of camping equipment including a six-person tent, sleeping bags, camp chairs, cooler, cook stove and skillet. Each Camping 101 group will be assigned to their own scenic campsite with a picnic table and fire ring, with campground restrooms and showers nearby. This program is specifically targeted for families who are interested in learning how to camp.

Camper hosts at the participating parks will offer help for the first-time campers on the basics, such as campsite set-up, outdoor cooking and building a campfire. Other activities planned for the weekend include nature programs and hikes, family fishing and movies at the campground amphitheater.

Interested persons can register by calling 614-265-7077 or sending an email to with their preferred date and location. Participation is limited to the first 10 groups to sign up for each location on the specified date.

‘Explore Your Parks’ is a nationwide program sponsored in Ohio by The North Face. In addition to providing the camping gear for the Camping 101 program, The North Face stores in Columbus and Cleveland are also offering discount coupons for 25 percent off camping at any Ohio State Park with purchase of a product.

Michigan DNR makes it easier to find family friendly fishing locations in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently announced a new section of its website that will
help inexperienced anglers find great spots to go fishing in Michigan. The Family Friendly Fishing Waters section of the website will connect interested individuals with local fishing opportunities.

The Family Friendly Fishing Waters website can be found at and features a map of Michigan. Visitors simply click on the county they are interested in fishing and are provided with a list of one or more family-friendly locations to fish. Every county in the state has locations featured.

“We are very excited to be launching the Family Friendly Fishing Waters section of the website,” said
Fisheries Division chief Jim Dexter. “We recognized more people would probably go fishing if they knew where they could go to do it. We hope to remove that barrier by getting interested individuals connected with our state’s great fishing.”

The DNR designated water bodies as family-friendly based on their ease of access, high likelihood of success in catching fish, identified amenities, and other details. To build this section of the website the DNR asks for the public’s help in submitting locations and digital pictures from throughout the state that would be easy for new anglers to access and use.

Each water body’s online profile includes its geographic location, driving directions, parking information, hours of operation, species of fish available, typical bait used, and much more.

Potential locations will continue to be accepted by the DNR. The Family Friendly Fishing Waters submission form can be found at

Ohio DNR adds 10 cadets to State Park Ranks

Ten Ohio State Parks ranger cadets were sworn in recently by Ohio Department of Natural Resources’
(ODNR) Director James Zehringer and ODNR Deputy Director Glen Cobb at a ceremony held at the department’s headquarters.

“ODNR is proud to welcome these new cadets,” said ODNR Director Zehringer. “They have proven they will be outstanding officers, serving a dual role of ensuring public safety and acting as excellent ambassadors for Ohio State Parks.”

This year’s graduates comprise the 17th Ohio State Parks Ranger Academy, which has had more than 570 graduates since its inception in 1974. The 10 new cadets have completed more than 500 hours of class and field training at the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy. Next month, each cadet will be paired with a veteran Ohio State Parks officer and begin assuming law enforcement duties within a state park.

The Ohio State Parks Ranger Academy combines the rigorous training required of professional law enforcement with special instruction in outdoor recreation regulations. Cadets are also taught to balance the unique challenges of ensuring public safety and welfare in a state park setting.

The Ohio State Parks system includes 75 parks encompassing 174,000 acres of public land. Ohio State Parks offers more than 1,000 miles of trails, boating and swimming facilities, hunting and fishing opportunities, as well as six public golf courses, eight resort lodges, more than 500 cottages and 9,000 campsites.

The cadets are as follows:
  • Jason T. Carroll – Westerville (Franklin County); SE Ohio: Tar Hollow State Park;
  • John K. Deblo – Johnstown (Licking County); SW Ohio: Hueston Woods State Park;
  • Andrew M. Gatto – Berlin Center (Delaware County); NE Ohio: Wingfoot State Park;
  • Eryk R. Grycza – Bowling Green (Wood County); NE Ohio: Mosquito Lake State Park;
  • Lacey R. Gutridge – Gratiot (Licking County); SE Ohio: Dillon State Park;
  • Shaun M. Lentini – Columbus (Franklin County); SW Ohio: Cowan Lake State Park;
  • Christopher D. Mack – Westerville (Franklin County); CE Ohio: Buck Creek State Park;
  • Bryce A. Morris – Leesburg (Highland County); SW Ohio: Shawnee State Park;
  • Robin F. Valentine – Delta (Fulton County); NW Ohio: East Harbor State Park;
  • Kyle R. Yeager – Newark (Licking County); SE Ohio: Salt Fork State Park.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

Michigan DNR improving waterfowl habitat at Crow Island State Game Area

If you notice something different at Crow Island State Game Area in Saginaw County this spring, don’t be alarmed. The Department of Natural Resources is making improvements to habitat for the area’s wildlife.

A water-level drawdown at Crow Island is occurring to accommodate the replacement of a water-level control structure on the East Unit of the state game area, along M-13. This project is in cooperation with Ducks Unlimited.

Duck hunters and other area users should expect little or no water throughout this unit this year. The drawdown will prepare the area for a prescribed fire this winter, designed to reduce cattail cover in the unit and improve habitat for a variety of waterfowl and other wetland-dependent wildlife.

Reducing cattail cover and replacing the water-control structure will allow managers to manipulate water levels to create a “hemi-marsh,” a 50/50 mix of vegetation and open water that is very attractive to waterfowl.

A cattail burn was scheduled to be conducted this spring, but due to heavy rains and subsequent flooding throughout the Saginaw River basin, including Crow Island, the burn was delayed. Area managers will likely conduct the prescribed fire early next winter, when ideal conditions are present and the water-level control structure replacement is complete. Doing so will give managers the greatest opportunity to achieve habitat management goals for this area.

Michigan Camping and RVing season continuing positive outlook

There's been several reports in the media recently about the resurgence of the RV industry.

Among the headlines:

Motor home sales rise in hopeful economic sign (
RV Sales, an Economic Predictor, on the Rise Again (
Sales of RVs rise as consumers seek vacation homes on wheels (
SSI: March Motorhome Sales Post 25.5% Rise (

Those are just a handful of many articles, and they all pretty much say the same thing: People are buying RVs again. So let's add a report from a little closer to home.

The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds started 2013 off with strong RV show attendance across the state of Michigan. The positive outlook for the industry at the beginning of the year is still evident as 2013 approaches its halfway mark with shipments, RV registrations and campground reservations showing continued improvement.

Memorial Day weekend RVers from across the state of Michigan kicked off the camping season with high consumer confidence and RV shipments on the rise, creating a positive beat for the upcoming summer months. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) reported recreation vehicle shipments have increased in the first quarter of 2013 by 11 percent. Michigan is listed third in the nation with 10,316 new RV registrations in 2012, only behind Texas and California, according to Statistical Surveys. Gary Becker, Owner of Indigo Bluffs RV Resort in Empire, Mich., is excited for the upcoming summer months, “We have record seasonal growth and rentals for our June-September season.”

Michigan campers and RVers, conscious of budgeting money and time, will find that camping is a great way to get the most out of a vacation. MARVAC campgrounds across the state provide members with weekend activities such as: swimming, bike trails, fishing, crafting and many more activities designed to entertain, that require no further travel than walking to a designated campground area. Go to to find the perfect Michigan campground for your summer camping experience.

The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging growth in the recreation vehicle and private campground industries while contributing to the quality of Michigan tourism. For more information, visit MARVAC’s website, MARVAC, 2222 Association Drive, Okemos, Mich. 48864-5978; 517.349.8881.

Top RV Parks with Waterfront Camping

Top Parks with Waterfront Camping Chosen by the Good Sam RV Travel Guide and Campground Directory

Every year, legions of RVers set out to explore the more than 100,000 miles of lake and ocean shoreline in North America. According to a recent study by PKF Consulting, 48 percent of RVers hit the water to go fishing, while 14 percent of RV travelers go canoeing and kayaking. Many RVers tow their own watercraft, while others rent vessels or simply enjoy the ambiance of the shoreline.

To help travelers find the top RV parks that offer the best waterfront camping, the editors and consultants of the Good Sam RV Travel guide and Campground Directory have compiled a list of the top RV Parks on North America’s finest coastal areas. Boasting RV parks from across North America, the list is tailored for RV travelers seeking to park their RVs a short distance from swimming, fishing, boating or other water activities.

The Good Sam RV Travel Guide’s Top Waterfront parks are:

Campland On The Bay, San Diego, California
Caspar Beach RV Park & Campground, Mendocino, California
Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina, Newport Beach, California
Pomo RV Park & Campground, Fort Bragg, California
Beverly Beach Camptown RV Resort, Flagler Beach, Florida
Camp Gulf , Destin, Florida
Carrabelle Beach RV Resort, Carrabelle Beach, Florida
Destin West RV Resort, Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Emerald Coast RV Beach Resort, Panama City Beach, Florida
North Beach Camp Resort, St Augustine, Florida
River’S End Campground & RV Park, Tybee Island, Georgia
Louisiana State Parks, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Castle Rock Lakefront Campground, St Ignace, Michigan
Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping, Mackinaw City, Michigan
Soaring Eagle Hideaway RV Park, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Traverse Bay RV Resort, Traverse City, Michigan
Cajun RV Park, Biloxi, Mississippi
Cottonwood Cove Resort, Cottonwood Cove, Nevada
Lake Mead RV Village, Boulder City, Nevada
Laughlin/Avi Casino KOA, Laughlin, Nevada
Frisco Woods Campground, Frisco, North Carolina
Holiday Trav-L-Park Resort For Campers, Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, Manteo, North Carolina
Beach Resort At Turtle Rock, Gold Beach, Oregon
Lakewood Camping Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach Travel Park, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Pirateland Family Camping Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Dellanera RV Park, Galveston, Texas
Island RV Resort, Port Aransas, Texas
Marina Bay RV Resort, Kemah, Texas
Cherrystone Family Camping Resort, Cheriton, Virginia
Columbia Riverfront RV Park, Woodland, Washington
Point Hudson Marina & RV Park, Port Townsend, Washington