Public input opportunity extended to all members:
If you hunt on state land in Michigan and feel strongly about maintaining our upland sporting traditions now is the time to let your voice be heard.
On Wednesday May 11, I testified on two Michigan Senate bills that could significantly affect wildlife conservation and hunting (read his written comments…). We appreciate the Legislature’s interest in public recreation on public lands and there is language in these bills that we agree with but overall they would negatively impact the public land we need for hunting and active forest management required to maintain habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock, and other young forest wildlife.
Senate Bill 39 (Read the most recent version…):
This bill includes:
- Language that would expand the ability of private individuals or corporations to purchase state hunting lands while allowing for the process to be confidential; clearly a threat to the future of public recreation on public lands.
- Language that will make it more difficult for the state to acquire land where long term wildlife and forest management can be conducted.
- Language establishing a lengthy process, including public hearings that the DNR would be required to conduct if requested to remove an existing berm (or gates or other barriers), even if the request addresses only a single berm on a single trail. With tens of thousands of berms, many serving vital wildlife and natural resource purposes, this would create an enormous burden on the DNR requiring extraordinary amounts of time, energy, and money that is better directed towards managing our wildlife and other forest resources.
- Wording that could facilitate lawsuits against conservation officers carrying out their duties.
- Language that would limit the use of state funds to manage “non-game” such as golden-winged warblers. This would stifle fundraising opportunities of the DNR and conservation organizations and essentially redirect federal dollars from Michigan to other states.
- On the positive side, the bill specifically supports active forest management, promoting working forests, and management to improve wildlife habitat.
Senate Bill 40 (Read the most recent version…):
Historically, funds from the Land Exchange Facilitation Fund have been used exclusively to purchase additional state lands. This legislation would allow these funds to be used for virtually any natural resource management-related costs thus limiting new land purchases.
How can you help?
A public meeting took place Wednesday, May 18 in Lansing but a vote did not take place yet.
You can submit comment to Mr. Corey Woodby, Committee Clerk, at his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a resident you can contact your Senator with opposition to these bills, this is especially important if you live in any of the following Senate Districts. These are the members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. You can find your Senate District by entering your zip code at this website: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysbyaddress.html.
- Tom Casperson (R) Committee Chair, 38th District
- Phil Pavlov (R) Vice Chair, 25th District
- David Robertson (R) 14th District
- Jim Stamas (R) 36th District
- Rebekah Warren (D) Minority Vice Chair, 18th District
If you have questions about how to make your voice heard, or this legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact:
Eric Ellis, Lower Peninsula, East U.P., Indiana, Ohio
Meadow Kouffeld-Hansen, West U.P. and Minnesota
(218) 398-1076 (Cell)
(218) 999-4722 (Office)