Learn to fish, shoot at U.P. State Fair in Escanaba

The Department of Natural Resources is part of one of the highlights of summer – the Upper Peninsula State Fair.  It continues through August 19 in Escanaba. Among the fair’s many exhibits and events is the DNR’s U.P. Pocket Park, a popular place where thousands of kids will learn to fish or shoot a bow or pellet gun in a safe, fun environment.

“We have a stocked pond for kids to learn how to cast and catch a fish, and then gently release it,” said the DNR’s coordinator for the event, Janet Canode. “We’ll have DNR staff and volunteers on site, to teach kids how to shoot using a pellet gun, and a bow, too. We have all the equipment, right down to the bait and the safety glasses.”

A couple of extra treats are in store for this year’s visitors: the Passport to Summer RV tour, and a taxidermy mount of Michigan’s only known wild wolverine.

The Passport to Summer RV will be on site during the kickoff on Monday, Aug. 13, from 4 to 8 p.m., where visitors can:

  • Indulge in a free sample of Hudsonville’s Pure Michigan Caramel Apple ice cream, the official flavor of Michigan state parks;
  • Learn about the state parks’ Recreation Passport; and
  • Get inspired by Recreation 101, a series of free, introductory classes and programs on everything from archery and kayaking to geocaching and campfire cooking.

Visitors can also get a rare, up-close look at Michigan’s “lone” wolverine. Discovered in the thumb area in 2004, the wolverine roamed the Minden City State Game Area until its natural death in 2010. The exhibit will be on display at the fair August 16-19 and features a taxidermy mount of the wolverine along with information about its time in Michigan and its natural history.

The U.P.State Fair takes place in downtown Escanaba. For more information about the fair, visit www.upstatefair.org.