Last Thursday July 12th, 2018 the Natural Resource Commission met to discuss CWD regulations, take action on Anterless Deer License Quotas and prepare for the 100th anniversary of the Parks and Recreation Division.
The meeting was kicked off with the Marketing, Partnership, Youth and Outreach Advisory Committee. A report by the Marketing and Outreach Division Chief Kristin Phillips was presented which highlighted the Pathways program which is educating youth about careers in natural resources. Also in the report were figures such as 500,000 people who passed through our visitor centers and 110,000 who went through educational programs.
This upcoming year will be the Parks and Recreation Division’s 100th anniversary. Ami VanAntwerp discussed the goal of raising $510,000 and an increase in park awareness. Nick Dohm from the Forest Resources Division presented the use of drones in the department. There are currently four certified drone pilots which help with forest fires, prescribed burns, emergency response, habitat evaluation and many other uses.
Tom Weston from the Marketing and Outreach division discussed the TV show Wardens and its partnership with the Outdoor channel. The show highlights the work of Conservation Officers and the department would like to extend its contract for two more years.
A report was given by the Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason that included details about a meeting next week in which wildlife chiefs in the Midwest will meet with the U.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Service to discuss how to better utilize funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Testing is underway in Jackson County after a deer was tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.
A Land Use Order was up for information which would restrict the use of motorized vehicles at two of the Grouse Enhancement Management Systems. This restriction would prevent motorized vehicle accidents and protect wildlife habitat at the Ralph GEMS and Bill Rollo GEMS in the Upper Peninsula.
A dedicated area in the Sharonville State Game area called the Pierce Road Unit was discussed by Dennis Tison of the Wildlife Division. This 600-acre land area is part of the Michigan Operation Freedom Outdoors program which helps those with physical challenges enjoy our natural resources free of competition with abled hunters.
The Law Enforcement Division Chief Gary Hagler presented Andrea Albert and Steve Butzin of Antrim County with a life-saving award for their outstanding work saving two snowmobilers who crashed into the Jordan River.
Action that was taken by the commission included approval of Anterless Deer License Quotas which can be found here: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/11WCO2018_Antlerless_Deer_License_Quotas_626279_7.pdf
This action will increase antlerless deer licenses for both private and public land in the Northeast Lower Peninsula. There will be a decrease in licenses for private land and an increase in licenses for public land in the Southwest Lower Peninsula. No changes will occur for the Southeast Lower Peninsula or the Upper Peninsula. In the CWD management zones there will be unlimited private land antlerless licenses.