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GPS: Guiding Principles and Strategies - Wildlife Division's Strategic Plan

buck, GPS cover imageThe Wildlife Division moved swiftly but deliberatively to craft a new strategic plan (The GPS), which will guide the management of Michigan's wildlife resources over the next five years. Over the last year, we facilitated substantial public engagement opportunities with DNR staff, the public, our stakeholders and our partners - all this information helped us build the platform of the plan. We are excited to reveal The GPS (page-flip version: click in the upper right corner to turn to the next page) - it has been approved and we are now moving to implementation!



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Why now?

The bountiful wildlife resources found on both Michigan peninsulas belong to all of the people of our state, including future generations. These resources provide high economic and social values. The Wildlife Division is the state agency entrusted by our citizens with the responsibility of managing these resources for the public good. This responsibility is taken seriously by our dedicated professionals that work daily to manage current wildlife populations and habitats, while ensuring these resources will be available for our children and grandchildren to enjoy tomorrow. It is impossible to overstate the importance of wildlife in Michigan's rich history and heritage.

Can anyone imagine a future in Michigan where wildlife plays a lesser role in our quality and way of life? Would any Michigander want that kind of future? The Wildlife Division is facing major challenges in staffing, funding and a changing organizational structure.

We continue to manage wildlife on over four million state-owned acres as well as helping Michiganders manage wildlife on their own lands. Yet our staffing capacity has decreased by approximately 30 percent over the last 20 years, and our responsibilities continue to increase. Today, wildlife-based recreation accounts for billions of dollars in annual economic activity, providing the major source of revenue for many Michigan communities.

Furthermore, Michigan is changing and so is wildlife management. Michigan's land use is becoming more urbanized; threats to our wildlife such as climate change and invasive species are large in scope and unclear in outcomes. And in today's economic realities, funding for wildlife management is limited and restricted, and often overshadowed by the crises of our declining job base and school systems. Although daunting, these challenges only increase the urgency and need for a focused strategic plan to responsibly manage our state's wildlife.

All of these challenges provide us the opportunity to thoughtfully plot the course for tomorrow's wildlife. To be successful, the Wildlife Division needs to engage with all who have a stake in our state's future. This plan must incorporate ideas for a variety of interests ranging from hunting to the quiet enjoyment of the beauty in wildlife. Through the use of focus group meetings, surveys and other engagement tools, the Wildlife Division has pulled together and considered the many values and desires for wildlife populations and habitats. This information has guided the development of a vision and future direction for wildlife management programs in Michigan.

This is a large and important task that we are taking very seriously. We appreciate your input and thank you for your assistance, support and commitment to this effort.


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