Escanaba DNR office expands hours, service

ESCANABA — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is expanding customer service availability at its Escanaba office, making it the fourth DNR customer service center in the Upper Peninsula.

Jo Ann Alexander, a DNR general office assistant at the Escanaba customer service center, assists Debbie Leisner of Escanaba. “By designating this facility as a DNR Customer Service Center, expanding the office hours, and having a full complement of department staff located at the facility, we will be able to serve more customers, helping them enjoy the natural resources and recreational opportunities throughout the region,” said Tim Melko, DNR western Upper Peninsula administrative manager.

The new designation, effective Monday, comes as Escanaba is getting ready for the Upper Peninsula State Fair, which opened Monday and runs through Sunday.

The fairgrounds, which includes the DNR Pocket Park, are located just a couple of miles south of the DNR office, along U.S. 2, 41 and M-35.

“We know a lot of people will be visiting the area, and the state fair this week, and we encourage anyone who has a DNR question or would like to purchase a license to stop by and visit us,” Melko said.

The DNR Pocket Park opened in mid-May and will remain open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Sept. 2. The park, which features a fishing pond, archery and pellet gun range, fire tower and a waterfall, is available for family gatherings, picnics, youth organizations, school groups, sports associations and public events.

There is no cost for the use of the Pocket Park, however, bait for fishing must be supplied by the user, except during fair week, when bait is supplied by the DNR. Fishing poles, archery and pellet gun equipment are also available.

During the fair, the Pocket Park hours will be extended throughout the week:

– 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday

– 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday

– 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday

– 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday

Escanaba is a prime central location for a DNR customer service center, given the numerous available recreation opportunities in the area, including fishing and boating on the Bays de Noc and the Escanaba River, camping farther south at J.W. Wells State Park, hiking and skiing along the Days River Pathway, bird and monarch butterfly watching at Peninsula Point, and the historic 1800s iron smelting townsite experience at Fayette Historic State Park.

Over the past three years, the DNR’s Escanaba field office was highest in the state in total sales of snowmobile, off-road vehicle and hunting and fishing licenses. The office had more than 14,000 contacts with the public over that same time.

By adding Escanaba, there are now 12 full-service DNR customer service centers located around the state, including Marquette, Baraga and Newberry in the U.P.

These customer service centers are open to the public 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Staff there is ready to help customers who want to buy a license, ask a question, learn about seasonal regulations, invite the DNR to participate in a school or community program, or simply learn more about Michigan’s terrific outdoor recreation opportunities.