DNR’s UP advisory councils marking 10th anniversary

MARQUETTE — During their annual joint meeting today in Marquette Township, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Eastern and Western Upper Peninsula Citizens’ Advisory Councils will celebrate a significant milestone.

The councils — which each have 20 members — have contributed 10 years of significant work advising the DNR on issues and concerns important to the diverse representative membership of the two groups.

“We’re happy to be celebrating the work the councils have contributed to making sure decision makers at the DNR and Michigan Natural Resources Commission are aware of the Upper Peninsula’s perspective on natural resource issues,” said Stacy Haughey, DNR U.P. regional coordinator. “Creating the two councils a decade ago has turned out to be a great decision.”

Since their inception, the councils have drafted roughly 80 resolutions that were forwarded to the DNR on issues ranging from supplemental deer feeding and delisting gray wolves to muskellunge spearing, crossbow permits for disabled hunters and off-road vehicle use at state parks.

“We appreciate the dedication and time of the council members who have made this process so successful,” Haughey said.

The two councils meet bi-monthly throughout the year. However, once each year, they meet in joint session in the centrally-located Marquette area.

Today’s joint meeting will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Eastern time at the Marquette Township Community Center, located at 1000 Commerce Drive in Marquette Township.

Special guests at the meeting will be Michigan NRC Chairwoman Vicki Pontz and DNR Deputy Director Bill O’Neill. Together they will provide the group with an update on ongoing efforts to combat chronic wasting disease.

The councils will also hear a presentation on the results of the recent deer camp survey, which details hunter insights into last fall’s deer hunting seasons, and the councils will consider a joint resolution of support for continued U.P. representation on the NRC.

The DNR’s eastern and western Upper Peninsula citizens’ advisory councils are designed to provide local input to advise the DNR on regional programs and policies, identify areas in which the department can be more effective and responsive and offer insight and guidance from members’ own experiences and constituencies.

The council members represent a wide variety of natural resource and recreation interests. Agenda items are set by the council members and council recommendations are forwarded to the DNR for consideration.

Anyone interested in being considered as a future council member should fill out the application form found on the DNR website. For more information, contact the DNR Upper Peninsula regional coordinator’s office in Marquette at 906-226-1331.