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The Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. The department strives to protect natural and cultural resources, ensure sustainable recreation use and enjoyment, enable strong natural resource-based economies, improve and build strong relationships and partnerships, and foster effective business practices and good governance.

RG 2013-113 Natural Resources Commission Meeting Minutes, 1909-1973

The Natural Resource Commission regulates game and sport fish. The commission decides what species are designated as game and establishes the first open season for animals. This collection contains the chronological minutes of the Natural Resources Commission. The minutes can be searched by title, subject, description, location, and date (year and/or month).

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RG 2013-113 Natural Resources Commission Meeting Minutes, 1909-1973

RG 2019-82 DNR Marketing and Outreach Photographs, ca. 2000-2010

The Marketing and Outreach Division works diligently to capture the beauty of Michigan and the activities of the department. This collection contains photographs taken by DNR photographer Dave Kenyon. Image subjects include Michigan wildlife, flora and fauna, DNR employees at work in various capacities and DNR education and outreach programs. The photographs may be searched by title, subject, description or date range.

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RG 2019-82 DNR Marketing and Outreach Photographs, ca. 2000-2010

Wildlife Statistical and Scientific Research Reports

The Wildlife Division produces reports each year on topics including animal hunting seasons, population surveys and disease research. The reports range from 1970 to 2000. Reports may be searched by title, subject, date range and full text. The reports are organized alphabetically by title.

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Wildlife Statistical and Scientific Research Reports

RG 2014-43 Wildlife Division Camera Point Project, 1927-2012

The Camera Point Project involves taking photographs from the exact same position across eighty years to view differences that may have occurred. The project is a valuable resource to track changes in various wildlife habitats.

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RG 2014-43 Wildlife Division Camera Point Project, 1927-2012

Survey Maps

This collection contains maps that document land surveys conducted by the federal government establish Michigan’s township and range boundary system. Some maps documenting resurveys are also included. The maps show bodies of water and land formations throughout the state. You can use these maps to get an idea of what Michigan’s landscape from 1816 - 1916.

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Survey Maps

History of the Department of Natural Resources

1837-1919

Management and protection of Michigan’s natural resources was handled by numerous individual commissions and officials, including the State Geological Survey, the Game and Fish Warden, the Michigan Forestry Commission and the Public Domain Commission.

1887

Enforcement of hunting and fishing laws moved from the local and county level to the state level with the establishment of the state Game and Fish Warden.

1919

Michigan’s state park system was created with the establishment of the Michigan State Park Commission.

1921

The Department of Conservation was created by the legislature to consolidate the individual commissions and officials into one department.

1933

The first Civilian Conservation Corps camps were established in Michigan. The Department of Conservation sponsored and supervised CCC work projects throughout the state.

1965

After the 1963 state constitution was ratified, several additional commissions were moved to the Department of Conservation, including the Water Resources Commission, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission and the Waterways Commission.

1968

The Department of Conservation was renamed the Department of Natural Resources.

1973

Michigan’s environmental protection functions were assigned to the DNR.  They remained there until the Department of Environmental Quality was established in 1995.

2009

The Michigan History Center, which is home to a network of museums and historic sites and the Archives of Michigan, became part of the DNR.

Resources

at the Archives of Michigan

In addition to content on Michiganology, you can find more original records from the Departments of Natural Resources and Conservation at the Archives of Michigan.

Adult woman and two young girls smile and laugh while paging through historic documents laid out on a wood table.