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DNR makes state parks free; cancels camping, playgrounds, and charter fishing

Posted at 6:40 AM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 12:08:35-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Yes, you still need a fishing license for 2020. However, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is enforcing some changes to better serve the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

All recreation passports required to enter state parks have been waived, giving free access to all. Unfortunately, state playgrounds and camp sites are closed and are not available until further notice, according to Ed Golder, DNR public information officer.

The DNR announced Thursday that all charter operations and fishing operations are not considered critical activities to sustain life and asked that they cease operations immediately until April 15.

For all you anglers hitting the water, be mindful of social distancing. Anglers who do not abide by the governor’s executive order could be fined Golder says, adding that hot spots that attract large crowds could possibly even be shut down if fishermen don’t practice proper safe spacing.

Fishermen we spoke with say they're just happy to still be able to do the sport they love.

"Use your fishing pole as a measuring pole just to keep your distance," said Rob Bengel of Grand Rapids. "It’s a sport that anyone can get into. And it’s nice to get into a sport you love, even when all this mess is going on, nice to relax a bit and get out and enjoy the water."

Remember, fishing licenses expire March 31. You can get a new one on the Michigan DNR website, Meijer, or participating gas stations.