Article Posted: April 24, 2002

LANSING–Michigan natural resource officials today announced the schedule for the annual Trillium Festival, May 4 and 5, at Muskegon’s Hoffmaster State Park. “This is a wonderful opportunity for visitors to enjoy Michigan’s natural beauty,” said park manager Elizabeth Tillman. “The festival is an entertaining and educational event celebrating spring and Michigan’s wildflowers.”

April and May are prime blooming season for the assorted wildflowers which blanket Hoffmaster Park’s forest floors and wooded stream banks, providing a beautiful backdrop for educational programs. Programs throughout the two-day festival help visitors learn more about all the natural features of the woods and sand dune communities so prevalent in P.J. Hoffmaster State Park. This event draws visitors from across the state each year.
The Festival is free, but a Motor Vehicle Permit is required for entry into any state park or recreation area for $4
daily, or $20 annually.
For a list of events that will take place throughout the weekend celebrating the rare and beautiful Trillium flower
and the 30th Anniversary of the Natural Areas Program, please call the contact listed above

Source: MDNR

So I did some research:

Growing deer herd gobbling park’s treasured flora, Michigan Sportsman, June 22, 2005Deer have wiped out most of the park’s trademark trillium, a dramatic change that forced the renaming of the annual Trillium Festival a few years ago.

Long-term effort to restore P.J. Hoffmaster State Park vegetation far from over, MLive, Nov 26, 2010 NORTON SHORES — In 2005, when the state first opened P.J. Hoffmaster State Park for deer hunting, the animals had ravaged the native vegetation and rare plants that grew near the forest floor.

Now, as the four-day hunt enters its sixth year, park officials say it has helped reduce the overabundant deer population, but plant recovery is far from complete.

Spring Is Blooming: The Best Places To See Wildflowers In and Around Grand Rapids, Experience Grand Rapids, May 14, 2015“We’re seeing a comeback of some of the flowers, some really big pockets, since we started (hosting) fall deer hunts. Its been slow, but we have great trails and some great flowers. The hepatica is blooming now, but we have white trilliums, bellworts, and variety of violets. We have a ton of spring beauties and Dutchmans breeches on southern-facing slopes. People also see jack-in-the- pulpits. The deer dont like to eat those.” (Gillette Sand Dunes

Gillette Nature Association at Hoffmaster State Park, March 2014. Park regrowing white trillium and selling them as fundraiser.

The Deer Dilemma

I came across this powerpoint presentation from Bloomington, IN while researching deer density issues.
Very well done and talks about indicator species and well as growth of the deer population over time.

The Deer Dilemma
• A local or temporary problem? No
• A minor problem? No
• Simple impacts? No

May be causing major and irreversible ecological effects


The Study, White-tailed deer browse damage in Ann Arbor, Michigan Bird Hills Nature Area, Winter 2015   is now available

The deer browse figures compiled in this survey may underestimate actual browse damage in several ways. First, the survey excluded plants that were already dead or lacked live buds for identification. Many of the excluded plants showed clear signs of deer browse, which suggests that browse damage could be contributing to mortality, but estimating browse-related mortality was beyond the scope of this study. Numerous other studies suggest that browse damage over several decades may already have eliminated or greatly reduced populations of deer-preferred species. Second, it is not possible to count how many buds are missing from a plant, so we focused on the number of branches browsed. However, some unbrowsed branches were counted even if they were quite small, while the portions of branches browsed off may have been larger than those that remained. Third, we assessed browse damage on all species, rather than on a set of species known to be preferred by
deer; damage on preferred species could be even higher.

This survey of 142 tree saplings (less than 2 meters tall) and shrubs in Bird Hills Nature Area shows that 80% have been browsed by deer, and 51% have half or more branches browsed. This level of browsing could interfere with forest regeneration and diminish the flowers and fruit available for birds, butterflies, and bees. Further monitoring would be necessary to track mortality, to reveal whether particular tree and shrub species of concern are browsed in future years, and to assess whether wildflower species are also being heavily browsed.

Download the full report of deer browse damage in Bird Hills Nature Area

Deer and the Flowers of the Earth

from Local In Ann Arbor

Not only do the flowers feed their pollinators, but the fruits and seeds that the flowers produce are often important food sources for small mammals and birds. The insects fed by flowers in turn are important in the diet of frogs and toads, snakes, and birds. The amphibians, birds and small mammals are the prey for raptors (birds) and sometimes larger mammals. But it begins with the flowers.

So in conclusion, the absence of flowers is both an early indication of deer overabundance and an injury to the ecosystem resulting from it. Aldo Leopold had a strong empathy for ecosystems and nearly personalized them in his concept of “the land”. As we reviewed earlier, he spoke of an ethic in which the land (the whole community of living things) was to be loved and respected. If we view the entire community as an entity to be preserved, we should note this symptom (of lost flowers) with concern. Washtenaw County Parks naturalist Shawn Severance, who has been involved for some years with studying the natural plant communities of Washtenaw County parks and natural areas, said it this way:

“The land speaks in flowers.” Yes, and it is trying to tell us something.

Deer Cull at UM Dearborn

Add Dearborn, MI to the list of Michigan cities that are performing deer culls

Information on the Deer Cull can be found in under In The News/Local.

The city of Dearborn initially denied the permit for the cull, changed its mind after the Wayne County Commission voted unanimously to approve the hunt.

An agreement with the county calls for the university (UM-Dearborn) to maintain the property “in its natural state [for environmental research and future preservation],” he said. “Because of the increasing deer population, we are unable to do that,” he said. “There are plant species that are being eliminated, invasive species are coming in. … With increased deer population comes increased risk of ticks, which carry Lyme disease.”

If we find a document for the actual Deer Management Plan, we will post it with others under Deer Management Plans/Michigan.

Kettenbeil told The Detroit News that deer are being killed in a 300-acre environmental study area, which the university manages. An aerial study, which was conducted last year, showed 57 deer in the area and the number grew to 76 in January.
According to Kettenbeil, there should be around five to 10 deer in the area as per recommendations. Kettenbeil said that his office received many reactions, including 10 phone calls or e-mails, in which hunters requested to take part in the attempt to manage the increasing population of deer. Aim is to cut the population of deer from 76 to around 20-25.

Other cities, counties, park systems in Michigan include:
Meridian Township
• Grand Rapids
• Marshall,
• Jackson
• Grand Haven and
• nature centers in Kalamazoo and Midland
• Barton Hills
• Kensington Metropark /Milford Township
• Indian Springs Metropark in White Lake Township
• Huron – Clinton Metropolitan
• Genesee County
• Blanford Nature Center
• Hillsdale
• Manistee
• Addison Oaks (Oakland County)
• Independence Oaks (Oakland County)
• Ludington


Maurita Holland, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

I speak for Ann Arbor’s symbol, the oak tree, shown on its stationery, documents, and doors, selected because it is a keystone species in our area, a species with disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance.

Oaks are the hub of a nature wheel, they support more than 5,000 species of insects, 58 species of reptiles and amphibians, 105 species of mammals, and over 150 species of birds that rely on them for some part of their life cycle. When oaks go, so do these associated species. Oaks create acorns, one primary native food for deer. Deer love eating new oak seedlings, and big oaks cannot replace themselves when deer densities are high. Loss of big oaks in Washtenaw County would cause massive animal suffering. A recent walk in Bird Woods showed no oak saplings—all browsed away, a generation of trees lost. That’s little surprise since a Cornell University study found no new oaks when deer density exceeds 14 per square mile, and our deer density in northwest Ann Arbor is much higher.

The cerulean warbler from South America comes to raise its young here. It depends on our mature trees, especially oaks once common in Washtenaw County. Hooded warblers migrate from Mexico and Central America to raise their young here. This species once was common in Washtenaw County but is now on the state threatened list. They seek forests with a mature canopy and a dense understory of small trees and shrubs in which to build their nests, but deer browse this understory so completely as to obliterate their nest sites, and deer even eat bird eggs when found close to the ground. I speak for our City’s symbol.

Actually, I also speak for deer, hungry deer who reproduce within 6-9 months of birth and continue reproducing until they die after 10-12 years. Contrary to myth, does, each of which has 1-3 fawns per year, will live within 1 mile of where they were born. Research shows that deer do not migrate long distances or fill vacuums. Instead, they stay in the area where they were born, doubling in population every two years. Does eat 10 lbs/day; bucks eat 15-20 lbs/day. Last winter, some actually left bloody tracks in the snow here, their mouths bleeding from eating spruce trees, one of many trees on the so-called “deer resistant list” that hungry deer eat when food is scarce.

Finally, I speak for the Washtenaw Citizens for Ecological Balance, formed by citizens who have experience with ecology, environment, gardening, conservation stewardship and who long have participated with local and national nature organizations. Our website, wc4eb.org, grew out of the tremendous number of resources we were reading and sharing. We soon realized that we had built a resource of interest to a much wider community. In fact, our online stats show that recent visitors to our site have come from as far away as Brazil. The deer management problem stretches from Brazil to Canada. We’ve collected best practices and management plans from hundreds of states and cities that are taking back their environment from a species that has no predator and whose population, left unchecked save for deer-vehicle collisions, doubles every two years.

#A2manydeer #we4eb