For the first time, the Michigan DNR recently confirmed the presence of West Nile Virus in the states ruffed grouse population.
Five birds collected from August through October, including two found dead and three that were shot by hunters, were submitted for testing to the DNRs Wildlife Disease Laboratory in Lansing, where the confirmation of West Nile Virus was made.
West Nile Virus is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Most people infected with the virus do not show symptoms.
There is no evidence of human infection from eating properly cooked game that has been infected with West Nile Virus. As a general precaution, wild game meat should be cooked thoroughly, to an internal temperature of 170-180 degrees. Hunters should wear gloves when handling or cleaning game.
"We've had West Nile Virus in Michigan since 2002," said Thomas Cooley, a DNR wildlife biologist and pathologist at the Wildlife Disease Laboratory. "It's the first year that we've seen it in grouse."
In addition to five ruffed grouse testing positive for West Nile Virus at the disease lab, five grouse were tested that did not have the virus.
The Michigan DNR is seeking volunteer campground hosts in Michigan state parks, recreation areas and rustic state forest campgrounds for the 2018 camping season.
In exchange for 30 hours of service per week, including duties such as helping campers find their campsites, answering camper questions, planning campground activities and performing light park maintenance duties, campground hosts enjoy waived camping fees.
Both individuals and couples may apply for volunteer positions that begin as early as April and last through October. Volunteer hosts must be 18 years of age and provide their own camping equipment, food and other personal items.
"For many visitors, the camping experience wouldn't be the same without campground hosts," said Miguel Rodriguez, promotional agent for the DNR. "These dedicated volunteers engage with park visitors by helping out around the campground, answering camping and park questions and even hosting kids' crafts and fireside activities. All of this is accomplished while they are enjoying some of Michigan's most beautiful outdoor destinations."
Interested volunteers can click on "campground host" at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers to learn more about the volunteer host campground program, download an application and waiver and view a vacancy host campground report, which is updated regularly and indicates when and where hosts are needed in specific parks.
Hosts are screened and interviewed by park managers and selected based on familiarity with the state park system, camping experience, special skills, availability and knowledge of the area. Hosts must participate in a two-day host training session within the first two years of being selected as a host. The 2018 training will take place June 6-7 at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon.
For information, contact Miguel Rodriguez at 517-284-6127 or email@example.com.
The Michigan DNR will offer surplus public land for sale by sealed-bid auction between Dec. 12, 2017, and Jan. 10, 2018.
The auction will feature 80 parcels located in counties mainly in central/northern Lower Michigan and in the Upper Peninsula, including Alpena, Arenac, Barry, Bay, Cheboygan, Dickinson, Gladwin, Iron, Kalkaska, Lake, Menominee, Midland, Montmorency, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oakland, Osceola, Oscoda and Roscommon counties.