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Experience beauty of state parks through ‘Paint the Parks’
 John Cavanagh

This state parks centennial year has set the stage for residents and other outdoor enthusiasts to look back at 100 years of history and highlight many of these outdoor destinations through several lenses: historical anecdotes, campfire storytelling, an interactive memory map, bird’s-eye-view videos, ambient nature sounds (Pure Sounds), Happy Little Trees planting program and, now, paintbrush and canvas.

“Paint the Parks” is an artistic interpretation of Michigan’s vast state parks system – from Tahquamenon Falls to Holland to Belle Isle and more – as showcased through original artwork of the Great Lakes Plein Air Painters Association. The group’s “open air” style of painting is an art form created by French Impressionists that encourages the practice of painting or drawing of landscapes outside the walls of a studio.

Over the last year, several painters set up easels in state parks, capturing the colors, the majesty, the nature and the history of these beautiful outdoor spaces. The “Paint the Parks” exhibit includes nearly 70 paintings, and people can experience it in two ways:

In an online gallery, highlighting different regions of the state, including the Upper, Northern Lower, Central Lower and Southern Lower peninsulas.

Up close and in person at an exhibit at the Michigan History Center, 702 W. Kalamazoo St. in downtown Lansing through Nov. 22.

“Painting nature has long been a mainstay of artists,” said Maia Turek, DNR parks and recreation engagement development specialist. “Our department partnered with the Great Lakes Plein Air Painters Association to highlight the spirit and allure of these special places in a whole new way.”

All original artwork is for sale through the online gallery, with 25 percent of proceeds going to support historic interpretation in state parks.

Learn more about “Paint the Parks” and the Michigan state parks centennial at Michigan.gov/StateParks100.

Public invited to review proposed forest road changes, share feedback through Dec. 1
 John Cavanagh

orvs ride though a forest setting.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has proposed some changes to off-road vehicle use on state forest roads. The public is welcome to share comments on the proposed changes through Dec. 1.

The review is part of an annual effort to ensure that the DNR’s forest road inventory is as accurate as possible, while meeting legislative requirements outlined in Public Act 288 of 2016.

The proposed changes include:

Adding roads that previously were unmapped.

Deleting mapped roads that do not exist or no longer exist.

Closing roads to conventional vehicle use (including ORVs); closing roads only to ORV use, and opening roads to ORV use.

View the specific locations of proposed changes by using the interactive web map or by viewing printable maps available at Michigan.gov/ForestRoads.

Public input will be accepted via email and online until Dec. 1. Send emails to DNR-RoadInventoryProject@Michigan.gov or comment via the online map at Michigan.gov/ForestRoads. Instructions are available on the website.

Public comment also will be accepted at the January meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission, where the state forest road proposals will be brought before the DNR director for information, and at the February commission meeting, when the DNR director is expected to decide. New maps showing state forest roads and whether they are open or closed to ORV use will be published by April 1, 2019.

Use caution when approaching deer
 John Cavanagh  / 

Chills and apprehension are spreading amongst rugged outdoorsmen.

A buck shot back, so to speak, puncturing the hunter fatally. It happened in Arkansas.

Details are skimpy. But it seems the hunter shot a deer with a mnuzzleloader. He walked up to the deer and it jumped up and speared him with his antlers. He died later in a hospital.

Now this almost never happens. I remember one story from my childhood about a hunter who shot a buck, walked up to it and the deer kicked him, opened an artery, and the guy didn’t make it back to his car. So, I was always told to be careful. If the deer is down, all four legs are pointed in the same direction. You walk up to him from the opposite direction.

If his eyes are open, he’s probably dead. If his eyes are shut, he likely is alive and needs a final shot to the head. If he’s breathing, draw your own conclusions.

Always poke him in the eye with the muzzle of the gun.

Since some of my companions know I hunt with a flintlock, I have had many notifications of this incident.

I have no desire to fight tooth and nail, or knife and antler, with a deer or anything else for that matter. If my path crosses with a buck this fall I hope every`thing occurs normally.

In other words, a deer goes strolling past, disappears in a cloud of smoke and leaves me to wonder how I can explain missing such an easy shot.