Land Use Committee Report– Winter 2011
Savanna Ecosystem Restoration Project
GLFWDA will assist Otto Township with their litigation of the Savanna Project. Non-tax deductable donations to assist with the costs of litigation can be made atDonations@GLFWDA.org
. Make sure to list “Savanna Litigation” in the notes so we know where the funds are intended to go.
Hunting/Snowmobiling ban in Semi-Primitive Areas
The comment period for this will have closed shortly before this report is printed. GLWFDA will be submitting comment supporting Alternative 3. This would redefine several Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized Recreation Areas to other classifications more suited to the uses those lands actually witness on a regular basis.
GLFWDA is involved with the legislative process again this year. The LUC recently met with Representative Huuki's staff, CRAM, DNR, and Republican Policy staff to review the 3 Draft Bills just released from the Writers. A few corrections were made and the Bills were resubmitted to the Writer for revision. There is a great deal of language from the Bills we introduced last year, with some minor changes. Carried over to these Bills from last year’s Bills:
• Increase Permit Fee to $30.50
• Liability protection for maintenance workers/grant recipients
• Increase in Permit Trigger from 20 people to 75 ORVs
• Define "Other Route" to mirror the recent Attorney General's opinion
GLFWDA will meet with the Writer and Huuki's staff again when the new Drafts are out to ensure they say what was intended. Then they'll be released to Committee early next year.
Off Road Vehicle Advisory Workgroup (ORVAW)
The meeting was held at the Ramada Inn on Saginaw Highway in Lansing on Nov 9th.
BUSINESS ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION
How the Safety Education Money is Used
Corporal John Morey, distributed and reviewed a handout detailing the ORV safety education fund. Appropriation by department/DNR division: Civil Service $1,200, DTMB (information technology) $13.600, Grants (education grants to counties) $150,000, FMD (grant administration) $6,600, Law Enforcement Division (education supplies, materials, equipment, personnel, instructor academy, etc.) $87,400, Marketing and Outreach (printed student/class materials, personnel, guidebooks, etc.) $54,100. Annual revenue is approximately $200,000. Fund balance is decreasing rapidly. End of FY 2010 was $285,000. End of FY 2011 estimated is $190,000. Chair Dunn asked what impact implementation of the on-line course would have on the budget. Cpl. Morey replied it is unknown at this time. Tim Kobasic asked if the snowmobile safety instructors were notified about the on-line snowmobile safety education course. Cpl. Morey said there was a press-release and noted the on-line course is not intended to replace the hands-on course, but to provide an alternative for certification.
Chair Dunn, announced that Tim Kobasic, John Chad and Jim Faiella have been reappointed for two year terms.
Legislative Ride Update
Amy Trotter reported she received an email from Jim Faiella who has contacted
Representative Bumstead’s office to begin planning a legislative ride in the Baldwin area next May. Amy is compiling a list of invitees and will work with Jim.
Tim Kobasic reported the UP ORV Tail Development Association invited legislators to a 7 hr. work secession this year but if fizzled out. They are planning a recreational ride with UP legislators next spring noting Representative Huuki is very supportive of the ORV program.
ORV Program Budget Needs
Chair Dunn, distributed an information from the long-range financial workgroup that was
convened in 2008-9. Steve Kubisiak explained the workgroup identified 29 budget need categories and estimated funding level to support the optimum program. He said in order to meet the optimum program desired by stakeholders a fee of $35 - $45 would be needed. The first column of the handout shows the optimum budget that was proposed for 2010 and the second column illustrates program reductions by category that would be needed if a $30 fee were instituted. Chair Dunn noted that while a $45 fee may be the optimum a $25 - $35 fee may be more politically palatable. Discussion by the ORVAW members then turned to questions about specific program categories and the need for more information. Staff will provide the ORVAW members with the full 10 year plan that was developed by the long range financial planning workgroup and the current FY 2012 budget. Amy Trotter asked if anyone has approached the State Park Blue Ribbon Panel. Chair Dunn will contact Erin McDonough.
2012 Meeting Schedule
Chair Dunn opened discussion on the 2012 meeting schedule and asked if 4 meetings are necessary. It was the consensus of the workgroup to hold quarterly meetings. Tentative dates are February 8, May 9, August 8 and November 7. Amy Trotter will check availability of MUCC office. The workgroup will confirm the schedule by email.
ORV Law Review Committee
Tim Kobasic, expressed concern with the safety education teaching text and that the test should be matched to the age of the student. He believes 97% of the students already ride and expressed concern with the 90% cc issue. He noted problems with test content regarding operation of full size vehicles. He proposed a two-tier curriculum, one for youth under age 16, and one for older adults. He also suggested that anyone born after 1990 be required to take a safety course. Cpl Morey asked Mr. Kobasic to send him his concerns and recommendations concerning the ORV safety education program so he can share it with the safety education workgroup.
Drummond Island Update
Pat Brower, reported the Drummond Island Writing Team met for the second time last Monday and Tuesday. The topic was recreation and he was very pleased with the outcome of the consensus based recommendations. The first meetings addressed hunting, fishing and trapping, the second meeting dealt with recreation, and the third meeting scheduled for December 7 and 8 will address education and outreach. No details will be available until the final plan is published.
SB 248 Update
Steve Kubisiak, referred the workgroup to the House Committee summary of SB 248 in their meeting packets. He said the Governor’s Office has implemented changes in the way state departments do bill analysis and that official positions will now be issued by the Governor’s Office. Tim Kobasic expressed concerns with the legislation citing possible implications to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and Park Endowment Fund. Amy Trotter said MUCC is opposed the legislation.
Tim Kobasic made a motion seconded by Amy Trotter that the ORV Advisory Workgroup oppose SB 248. Motion unanimously carried.
Chair Dunn will advise the Michigan Snowmobile and Trials Advisory Council on the action taken by the workgroup.
Bill Gilbert supports a two-tier ORV safety education program and believes the more education the better and safer the program will be in the future.
Kristin Throll, Recreation Program Coordinator, Huron-Manistee National Forest reported they are taking comment on their Forest Plan revision until December 23. She announced that Rose Ingram and Ted Schultz are retiring and the forest has been directed to operate at a 10% reduction.
Amy Trotter reported that MUCC has an action alert on HB 4684 and is opposed. The bill would prevent the DNR from issuing orders to restrict equine riding on state lands and could jeopardize federal wildlife funding.
Drummond Island ORV Route
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is coordinating the development of a Drummond Island Comprehensive Resource Management Plan (Plan). As part of this process, they have created a Drummond Island Plan Writing Team, which is comprised of a variety of organizations, agencies, and individuals with an array of interests concerning natural resources and Drummond Island. GLFWDA has secured two positions on this Team.
The purpose of the Writing Team is to create a Comprehensive Resource Management Plan that would provide resource management recommendations and alternatives that are acceptable within the mandates of the DNR’s mission, while meeting the overall needs of Islanders, DNR, and resource users. The Plan will also focus on strategies for providing quality hunting, fishing, and trapping opportunities, and promote Drummond Island as a special place to attract resource-based tourism.
Meetings have concluded and the finial recommendations will be released for public comment when they are presented to the Natural Resources Commission in February or March 2012.
North East Michigan Council of Governments
The NEMCOG intends to produce a comprehensive recreation map for their area. The electronic map would list any and all trails, from hiking and biking, to orv and kayak routes. They’ve received considerable attention from other areas and it is believed that this would serve as a template for other regions to use promoting their areas. GLFWDA has met with the program administrators and GIS specialist to gauge their knowledge of the issues surrounding back-country driving. They had little. It was suggested they consider including a brief summary of the rules for each major jurisdiction as well (CRC, State, and NFS). They were excited to hear that GLFWDA has a strong desire to work closely with them to ensure the map’s accuracy across all the jurisdictions involved.
Oceana Rustic Roads Project
The LUC’s next step will be working with an Attorney to determine which course of action would be appropriate for this workgroup to focus it’s energies upon to gain maximum impact for the rustic travelways in Oceana County.
Sullivan Township Scramble Area
This project could also use some additional assistance. If you are interested in a project near the Muskegon/ Ottawa county line, please contact LandUse@GLFWDA.org
to find out how you can help.
LUC Secretary, Mike Olmstead & LUC Chairman Pat Brower