109 Michigan DNR History with Sgt. Mark Papineau

In this episode, we meet Michigan DNR Sgt. Mark Papineau. His official role as Technology Sergeant sees him researching new technology options, implementing software and equipment, and training Law Enforcement Division personnel – but he is also MiDNR’s foremost in-house historian, teaching recruits more than 100 years of the DNR’s storied history. Take a walk through time with Warden’s Watch and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources!

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Here’s what we discuss:

  • Michigan DNR began as a commission to protect and maintain fish stocks
  • First Michigan game warden appointed in 1887: attorney William Alden Smith
  • Reportedly the first salaried game warden in the nation
  • Smith went on to enter US Senate and chaired hearings into the Titanic disaster
  • His report resulted in major changes to maritime safety laws still in effect today
  • Early game wardens were paid by counties – some refused to pay
  • 1893 amendment to Game Warden Act allowed officers to seize equipment
  • Game warden history can read like a Hollywood action movie script!
  • Stetsons and bloused boots
  • Citizens often submitted poaching and wildlife complaints by mail
  • The evolution of the uniform
  • Early laws weren’t consistent between states
  • Some early officers’ names are still recognized and respected today
  • Chase Osborn’s vision to preserve MI forests
  • The Great Depression saw the division reduced to 95 officers
  • Field Administration Division combined many divisions and increased numbers
  • Poof – you’re a CO!
  • Illegal market venison in the late 1800s
  • 3000 miles of nets
  • DNR state seal
  • COs issued pistols in 1939 after officer deaths
  • Records have been lost through the years


Hosts: Wayne Saunders and John Nores

Producer: Jay Ammann

Art & Design: Ashley Hannett

Research / Content Coordinator: Stacey DesRoches


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