April 14, 2003

National

Regional

General

2nd Amendment issues- Guns

Lake Michigan

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

New York

Wisconsin

Ontario

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National

Charlton Heston Message To U.S. Troops

   (Los Angeles) – Academy Award winning actor and civil rights activist Charlton Heston, and his wife Lydia, sent the following message of support to U.S. military troops:

 

   "There is no duty more noble than that which has called you across the world in defense of freedom.  Yours is a mission of hope and humanity for the oppressed.  Rest assured that while pretend-patriots talk of supporting you, even as they condemn your noble cause, an unwavering

vast majority of Americans share and take pride in your mission.  You represent all that is good and right about

America and are the true face of American patriotism.  You walk in those same righteous footsteps of all those patriots who, before you, fought to preserve liberty for all.  Our prayers and our personal gratitude are with you and your families.


May God Bless You,
Charlton and Lydia Heston"


Feds to buy less land - Greens upset, want more

   Rep Charles Taylor (NC), Sen. Conrad Burns (Montana) and Interior Secretary Gale Norton have joined to reduce land acquisition funding. The federal government owns nearly one-third of the land area of the United States and is sorely pressed to properly manage it.  "We frankly cannot go about buying additional lands when we clearly don't maintain the lands we have, can't protect them from fire, and don't come close to compensating local communities for the property tax losses associated with federal land   

ownership" said Taylor.

 

   Norton defended the land acquisition plan at a hearing on the agency's budget proposal. Before buying up additional wilderness, the department must do a better job of managing the nearly 507 million acres it already controls, Norton said.  The proposed cut drew the ire of Democrats and environmentalists who said it marked another example of the White House distancing itself from environmental protection. 

 


Dingell, Oberstar Introduce Legislation to Protect Wetlands

Washington, D.C. - Congressmen John D. Dingell (D-MI) and James Oberstar (D-MN) have introduced legislation in the U.S. House to restore protection to America's wetlands, due to a recent Supreme Court decision. The bill, the Clean Water Authority Restoration Act, will restore the original intent of the 1972 Clean Water Act and reestablish protections for isolated wetlands throughout the United States.

In 2001, the Court ruled that the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers do not have jurisdiction over certain "isolated" wetlands.  The Clean Water Authority Restoration Act reaffirms the original intent of the Congress by creating a statutory definition of "waters of the United States" based on longstanding definitions in the Army Corps of Engineers regulations.  The legislation also deletes the term "navigable" from the Act to reinforce that Congress' original concern in 1972 Act related to pollution rather than navigability.


Norton announces $34.8 Million in Grants

To support habitat conservation for private lands

   Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton on February 27 announced $34.8 million in grants to states under a new partnership program to assist private landowners in conserving and restoring the habitat of endangered species and other at-risk plants and animals.

 

   The cost-share grants, part of the administration's new Landowner Incentive Program, will support partnerships in 42 states. State fish and wildlife agencies, landowners or non-profit groups must put up at least 25% of the cost of projects. With these grants, states will be able to provide financial and technical assistance to interested landowners. President Bush proposed $113.2 million for the Cooperative Conservation Initiative in his Fiscal Year 2004 budget.

 

   The LIP grant program is two-tiered.  Grants awarded to

states under Tier 1 focus on administrative program needs and may not exceed $180,000 in federal money.  Tier 2 grants support project implementation.  All grants require at least a 25 % match from non-federal sources.

               

   A Great Lakes state list for the grants follows. For more info visit the FWS Grants-at- a-Glance web site: www.grants.fws.gov/

 

STATE                    TOTAL      

TOTAL             $34,797,154

INDIANA                180,000

MICHIGAN          1,531,718

MINNESOTA       1,514,542

NEW YORK           180,000

OHIO                     180,000                                          

PENN                 1,495,000

WISCONSIN          180,000

 


Regional

Record low waters possible this summer

   MADISON, Wis. -Unusually low water levels in the Great Lakes for this time of year may combine with lingering El Nino conditions to yield the lowest summertime water levels in decades, according to Philip Keillor, coastal engineering specialist at the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

   "This is the first time since the 1960s we've had such low late-winter water levels on Lake Michigan coinciding with El Nino conditions," Keillor said. "The last time that happened, we had some of the lowest water levels on record."

 


Dr. Leon Carl New Director - USGS Great Lakes Science Center

   Dr. Leon Carl, a long-time natural resource manager and researcher in the Great Lakes area, has been named center director for the USGS Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) in Ann Arbor, MI.  The USGS center provides scientific information for restoring, managing and protecting living resources and their habitats in the Great Lakes basin ecosystem.  Carl will oversee more than 100 employees across the region with an annual budget of about $9.6 million.

 

   Carl is formerly the director of the Watershed Science Center at Trent University in Ontario. He has also worked for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. With bachelors,

masters, and doctoral degrees from the U. of Michigan, Carl is no stranger to Ann Arbor and the Great Lakes area.

 

   In addition to responsibilities in Ann Arbor, Carl will have oversight for the administration of the USGS center's five research vessels and eight field stations. Those facilities are the Lake Superior Biological Station, Ashland, Wis.; Lake Michigan Ecological Research Station, Porter, Ind.; Cheboygan Vessel Base, Cheboygan, Mich.; Munising Biological Station, Munising, Mich.; Hammond Bay Biological Station, Millersburg, Mich.; Lake Erie Biological Station, Sandusky, Ohio; Lake Ontario Biological Station, Oswego, N.Y.; and Tunison Laboratory of Aquatic Science, Cortland, N.Y.  For more info on the Great Lakes Science Center, visit:  www.glsc.usgs.gov

 


General

Job opening - Research assistant in brook trout ecology

Department of Biological Sciences
Michigan Technological University

Position: The successful applicant will assist us in our research on the ecology of coaster brook trout along the south shore of Lake Superior.  We have long-term funding to examine the population and community ecology of migratory and stream-resident brook trout.  This research is collaborative with Dr. Ed Baker of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.  Lodging will be provided. 

 

Dates of employment: July 1 to November or December (weather dependent).

Qualifications: Applicants should: 1) have a track record of being responsible and mature; 2) have an understanding of basic research techniques; 3) be enthusiastic and self motivated; 4) be able to work independently or in groups; 5) be in good physical condition, and able to work in rough and slippery terrain.  Preference will be given to those with prior fieldwork experience and/or class experience in fish or aquatic ecology.

Closing: Applications will be considered until a candidate is selected.
 
Contact: For details, contact Casey Huckins cjhuckin@mtu.edu  906-487-2475.

 


Fish die offs coming your way

   Receding ice on many ponds and lakes could reveal a misfortune building since winter first gripped the midwest. As ice disappears, dead fish commonly appear.
 

   Winter fish die offs are common during winter, but "This winter's persistent harsh, snowy weather should increase the number of affected lakes and ponds," said Doug Keller, Indiana DNR fisheries biologist.  "Many conditions conspire this time of year to kill weak and unhealthy fish. Low oxygen levels due to heavy snow and ice cover are a primary cause.  And due to stress from low oxygen, bacteria and other pathogens may infect fish," said Keller.

   Shallow ponds and lakes that began winter with abundant weed growth are the most susceptible to low oxygen levels.  Decomposing vegetation reduces the

amount of oxygen in the water. "People are often concerned that lakes are experiencing some kind of poisoning when the ice first retreats," said Keller.  "Typically, fish have died earlier of natural causes and have remained hidden under the ice." 

 

   Larger lakes may also have large quantities of fish washed ashore.  Gizzard shad are particularly susceptible to cold temperatures and may have died in huge numbers under the ice.
               

For information on managing ponds and lakes for fishing, go to: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/fsmgt/fishpd.htm

 

Fin Clipping Themselves Out OF A Fishery

A clipping screw-up on my side of the border             by Darryl Choronzey

   Michigan anglers trolling Lake Huron shouldn’t count on the Province of Ontario to put too many salmon on fishermen’s stringers over the next five summers. In fact, Michigan anglers might have a better chance of winning the state Lotto than going out on the big lake and catching an Ontario stocked Chinook. Not that the Province itself was ever really responsible for stocking Chinook salmon into Lake Huron or Georgian Bay. For years, that has been a task left up to volunteer groups who raised and released hundreds of thousands of healthy little Chinook annually into the two bodies of water at their own expense. 

 

   The trouble is, along came the…great experiment! Biologists on both sides of the border got together and decided it was time to learn if the Chinook swimming around the big lake were actually born in the wild or stocked from a tanker. Michigan has been removing the adipose fin and injecting a micro-nose tag into a small percentage of Chinook fingerlings , while feeding all a diet containing a percentage of oxytecycline. Under a microscope the chemical can be identified on the scales or bones of hatchery fish.

 

   On the Ontario side of the lake its been a different story. In fact, to many experienced anglers it’s about to be a catastrophe. Not content to remove just the adipose fin and inject a nose tag into 10,000 salmon raised by each of the volunteer clubs around the lake, the ministry has made all clubs remove one or more of the belly fins from all fingerlings stocked as well. Now remember that these are Chinook salmon that have only been out of the egg less than four months and measure approximately 2-3 inches in length at time of release.

They began clipping belly fins four years ago. I warned them of the damage to the fishery. This past summer, the first year of the adult returns, the run was dismal. One charter boat operator that averages 1800 adults was down to 600 with only 3 fish having the missing fin. No where do they clip belly fins on chinook. Even our provincial hatchery has admitted that these fish are too small for belly fin identification.

 

   To this angler, and others, the belly fins of a fish, especially a juvenile salmon measuring less than four inches in length are all important to survival . Although taking it somewhat to the extreme, anglers even have compared the clipping of these fins, to the chopping off of a child’s leg before putting him on a school bus for that first morning of kindergarten.

 

   Five years ago, upon learning of the proposed experiment, anglers voiced their concerns to the fin removal experiment about to be carried out on the Canadian side of the lake, but to no avail. Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to visit hatcheries from Alaska to Oregon. I have yet to find a west coast facility that carries out any form of fin clip of belly appendages. I’ve also met with some of the finest fisheries scientists in British Columbia, Washington and Oregon and they bluntly stated that removal of belly fins on fish the size of Chinook fingerlings about to be released into the wild would drastically affect survival rates.

 

   Each year, since the spring of 1999 ministry biologists have ordered the mutilation of salmon fingerlings with the removal of a particular fin to represent a particular year class. The first year saw the right ventral go down the drain. The next year it was the left pectoral that faced the knife. Following this the right pectoral fin was sliced and diced in all fish released in the spring of 2001. To many anglers it appeared the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources was really out to get the Lake Huron salmon program, when in the spring of 2002 all Chinook salmon fingerlings were ordered to have both left and right ventral fins removed.

 

 

   Is that something like removing both the legs of pre-schooler before lifting him on the bus. The lucky little guys may just have been the 10,000 going out of each hatchery with a metal nose tag imbedded in their snouts and also missing their adipose . They may have just sunk to the river bottom for a quicker death upon release. Just who in their right mind, would make a decision to cut off three fins on a three inch fingerling and expect survival? This spring (2003) will see a promised end to the program with all fish having their left pectoral fin removed and again that 10,000 from each hatchery losing an adipose and getting punched with the nose tag.

 

   The results to date on Lake Huron and especially Georgian Bay have been, as predicted by concerned anglers, to be disastrous to say the least. The first adult returns from the experiment have been the lowest in Ontario since the introduction of hatchery stocks almost 20 years ago. On Georgian Bay, the sport fishery was almost wholly supported by wild stocks from a handful of major tributaries. On Huron, anglers caught very few clipped fish, but it appears that once again the open water fishery survived thanks to Michigan's released unclipped salmon.

 

   Here on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes, I personally have been involved with the Great Lakes’ salmon fishery since the late 1960’s. I also played an important part in the establishment of the Lake Huron/Georgian Bay salmon fishery in Ontario. Over that same period, I’ve at times heard Yankee anglers complain about the scientists that for a large part control and make decisions regarding the Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior sport fisheries. Allow me at this time to comment on my observations.

 

   First and foremost , count yourselves lucky. Your state fisheries departments for the most part operate your sport fishery as a business. For the most part they acknowledge the need for on water recreation. They also for the most part acknowledge the economic benefits of the Great Lakes salmonid fishery.

 

   On my side of the lake, in my opinion, the Ministry of Natural Resources fails on all three counts. On your side of the lake I’ve been acquainted with many of your fisheries’ finest managers including Howard Tanner, Bill James, Asa Wright, Meryl Keller and a host of others. An interesting fact, is that all were not only concerned civil servants, but they also all loved the sport of fishing. On my side of the lake, catching sight of a fisheries manager enjoying a day on Lake Huron or Georgian Bay is as likely as pulling a hundred lb salmon out of the lake. On your side of the lake hatchery raised salmon are regarded as important commodity. I honestly believe, that over here in Ontario hatchery raised salmon are looked upon by my biologists as more nuisance and just as much a mistake. At times, many times in fact, I believe that some here in Ontario who are paid to protect and provide , would in fact love to see the salmon program totally collapse.

               

   For the time being anyway, don’t count on any Chinook stocked on the Ontario side of Lake Huron to improve your fishing. But in the meantime, please keep stocking your Chinook fingerlings so that I can catch a salmon or two here on my side of the lake.

 

   Choronzey is an avid, advocate, and active outdoor writer, author and radio/TV personality. Published and edited the popular "Ontario Fisherman Magazine" for 15 years; presently is executive producer/hosts the "Going Fishing" Television Series; an active member of Canadian Outdoor Writer Association and Outdoor Writers Association of  America.  He also represents the Province of Ontario on the GLSFC's Board of Directors.


2nd Amendment Issue - Guns

Seneca County judge objects to state gun law

   A Seneca County judge has ruled that Ohio's law against carrying a concealed weapon is unconstitutional. "The statute deprives Ohio citizens of an effective means of self-defense," said Common Pleas Judge Michael P. Kelbley in an 18-page ruling filed last month. "The Constitution states in clear terms that the people of Ohio have the right to bear

arms."

 

   Kelbley said he based his ruling on the Ohio Constitution, and not the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Article One, Section Four of the Ohio Constitution states, in part, "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security."


Is handgun debate another battle of the sexes?

   Two women leading the fight to make permits to carry handguns available to most Minnesotans say they are trying to make the state safer for everyone,  and  after years of struggle and defeat at the hands of gun-control forces, they may just succeed.

               

   Rep. Lynda Boudreau, R-Faribault, and Sen. Pat Pariseau, R-Farmington, are the chief sponsors of the initiative. If it passes, it will be due to the persistence

of these two women. "It's a done deal, if not this year, then next," said Boudreau, noting that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and majorities in the both the House and the Senate now support some form of her legislation. "If we get it to the floor, it will pass" said Pariseau, whose bill has been denied a hearing for six years in the DFL-controlled Senate but is expected to receive one soon   "She's very passionate about what she takes up," said Senate Minority Leader Dick Day, R-Owatonna. "But she gets along really well with people."

 


Congress proposes reforms to curb lawsuits against firearms

   The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act was introduced  Feb. 27, as H.R. 1036. The bill, which was introduced with 244 co-sponsors - more than a majority of the House of Representatives, would prohibit frivolous lawsuits against federally licensed manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or  

 

ammunition products for the harm caused by the criminal or unlawful misuse of their products. Already 30 states have enacted laws to stop these reckless lawsuits.

  

   On April 9 that proposal was passed in the U.S. House by an overwhelming majority of 285-140. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

 


Smith & Wesson Surprise at SHOT Show

   Unveiling its Model 500 five shot revolver, chambered for the new Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum cartridge, caused more of a stir at the SHOT Show in Orlando than the folks at S & W had thought was possible. Anti-gun groups denounced the handgun, which fires a round producing about three times the muzzle energy of a .44 magnum, as too powerful. Local TV crews scrambled to get pictures of it on the network feeds even though Orlando area law enforcement told them the 4 ½ lb hunting firearm was

hardly the sort of thing criminals would hasten to tote around.

  

   Scripps Howard writer Lowell Branham took note of the AP's over-reaction to the Model 500 announcement, and multiple mistakes in its story, to observe "...that's pretty much par for the course for a news agency that has about the same regard for grammar and punctuation that it does for accuracy and objectivity, which is next to no regard at all."


States Reconsider Limits On Law-Abiding Gun Owners

   As violent crime rates continue to drop in states that allow citizens to carry concealed firearms, some of those states are reconsidering the limits they place on that constitutional right.
               

   Citizens of Virginia who hold a valid carry concealed weapons (CCW) permit are now officially allowed to possess their weapons in state parks. Gov. Mark Warner ordered the policy change Sept. 23, 2002, after Virginia's attorney general, Jerry Kilgore , determined that the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation had "exceeded its statutory authority" by prohibiting legally

possessed firearms.

 

   44 states have some form of CCW law, even though roughly 12 routinely deny most applications.                 CA, IA, MD, MN, NJ and NY do not recognize an individual citizen's right to own and carry firearms for self-defense in their state constitutions, while 37 states prohibit counties and cities from imposing limits on gun owners more stringent than those set by the state legislature.
               

   IL, KS, MO, NB, NM, OH and WI forbid private citizens from carrying concealed weapons under any circumstances.

 


 

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Perch Populations still declining

Early studies show few year class fish beyond '98

   Lake Michigan Perch populations continue to decline, preliminary studies show. The Wisconsin DNR in their recent winter perch assessment  say their assessment nets reflect depressed yellow perch numbers.

 

   DNR fisheries biologists say most of their catch was "comprised mainly of the 1998 year class."  Other fisheries officials say creel numbers show similar results. The  Sport harvest decreased from 134,000 in 2001 to 98,000 in 2002, and officials have expressed serious concern the

Lake is losing the 1998 year class at a fast rate.

 

   Acknowledging there are hardly any other year classes in the Lake's yellow perch population, they have yet to hear from Michigan, Illinois or Indiana, but suggest the situation is similar lakewide.

               

   These and other preliminary results will be discussed at the  upcoming Yellow Perch Task Group (YPTG) meeting on March 18 in Milwaukee.  Discussions will include what further measures are needed to protect the remaining 1998 year class as a brood stock.


Illinois

Bill Forcing Illinois Boaters to Tape the sides of Their Boats Draws fire

House Vote Expected Shortly
   The Illinois State Senate's approval of legislation, SB. 0142, requiring the state's 375,000 recreational boat owners to put a one inch tape along the sides of their boats drew fire from the nation's largest organization of recreational boaters, BoatU.S.
 

   The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. Larry Wollard (D-59), was approved April 3 by a vote of 34-24 and is now before the Illinois House of Representatives. Action in the House could come soon and BoatU.S., with 535,000 members nationwide and nearly 20,000 members in the state is calling on all Illinois boaters and anglers to act before it is too late.
 

   "This legislation is ill-conceived, lacks any scientific basis, possibly violates Coast Guard regulations and has no support from any major boating safety organization that we are aware

of," said BoatU.S. Government Affairs director Michael Sciulla

 

   'The public's reaction to this requirement, if it passes the Illinois House and is signed into law by the governor, is likely to be the same as if the state required every car owner to add a reflective stripe around their vehicle," noted Sciulla.
 

   Beyond being an eyesore, requiring that a boat's expensive gelcoat be taped could prove to be a potential moisture trap that could ruin a boat's hull, cause expensive repairs and lower the vessel's value.
               

   In the wake of the Senate's vote and given the fact that the Illinois General Assembly could conclude its session as early as May, BoatU.S. is urging all Illinois anglers and boaters to contact their state legislators and urge them to oppose S.B. 0142. A list of Illinois representatives can be obtained at http://www.legis.state.il.us/house/  .


Indiana

IN Campground reservations filling up fast for summer

   Indiana's DNR campground reservations are filling up fast, but there are still a few excellent campsites available for summer holidays and weekends.  Since the DNR's new reservation system went live late last year, campers have staked claims on nearly 60,000 sites by making reservations online:  www.camp.IN.gov  or toll-free 866-622-6746

 

   "It's definitely time to make reservations.  While many Memorial Day sites are spoken for, we still have openings at some of our finer parks," said Becky Weber, DNR State Parks and Reservoirs marketing director.

 

   Properties with a good stock of electric campsites remaining for Memorial Day are:

Charlestown State Park -- the only state park offering AA campsites

Lieber SRA at Cagles Mill Lake

Lincoln State Park

Brown County State Park -- Taylor Ridge campground

Harmonie State Park

Deam Lake and Wyandotte Woods SRAs

Mississinewa Lake

Patoka Lake

Summit Lake State Park

Salamonie Lake

 

 

   Raccoon Lake and Paynetown (Monroe Lake) state recreation areas still have a few electric campsites available.

 

   Potato Creek, Pokagon, Ouabache, Mounds, Clifty Falls, Brown County Horseman's, Spring Mill and Turkey Run state parks have no electric campsites remaining for Memorial Day, but some non-electric sites are available.

 

   Campsites can be reserved six months ahead for the summer and fall period (May 1 through the end of October).

 

   To check availability and make reservations for campsites, shelters or family cabins (except family cabins at Brown County State Park) go to: http://www.camp.IN.gov   Or call toll-free: 866-622-6746 Monday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m. EST or on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. EST.

 

You can also check availability for all seven state park inns and family cabins at Brown County State Park at:

http://www.indianainns.com    Or call toll-free: 877-563-4371

 

Information about Indiana state parks and reservoirs is available at: http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/index.html


Bass surveys underway at Manitou and Winona lakes

   Anglers who fish two northern Indiana natural lakes this year could help determine how bass fishing is regulated in the future.

 

   DNR fisheries biologists plan to conduct intensive surveys of largemouth bass populations and fishing at Manitou Lake in Rochester, Ind. and Winona Lake in Warsaw, Ind. The research project will gather data on the abundance and size of largemouth bass populations in both lakes and look at the impact anglers have on bass survival under current fishing rules.

 

   Current rules allow anglers to catch and keep largemouth bass year-round and take as many as five bass per day as long as they are 14 inches or larger.  No rules are in place to regulate tournaments at either lake.

 

   "A lot of our current bass management philosophy is based on data obtained from small lakes. We need more data on our larger, popular bass fishing lakes," said Jed Pearson, DNR fisheries biologist.

 

   Clerks will be stationed at both lakes from early April through October this year and from January through May next year to gather data on the amount of fishing effort and fish catches. They will be on hand to count the number of fishermen, examine their catches and ask them questions related to fishing.

   The data will allow biologists to evaluate seasonal variations in bass fishing effort and catches and estimate the percentage and size of bass removed from each lake. Catches of other fish will also be noted.

 

   In addition, biologists will sample bass populations with electrical shocker boats to estimate the total number of adult bass in both lakes. Sampling crews will capture, mark and release unharmed as many bass as possible over a four-week period during April and May of both years.

 

   Biologists will use the data to determine total annual survival and mortality rates of bass.  Complete fish population surveys will also be conducted in June to examine the overall fish community in both lakes.

 

   DNR biologists conducted similar research at Lake Wawasee in 1997 and Lake James near Angola in 2000, and several small lakes since 1990. The studies eventually led to implementation of the current 14-inch size limit on bass.

 

   "We're not sure what at this point the data from Manitou and Winona will tell us, but we want to look closely at the size of bass caught, the number of bass caught per angler, and the percentage of the catch and bass population taken during various months, especially the spring spawning season," said Pearson.

 


Michigan

Cool orders ban on Asian carp, snakehead fish

   At a recent meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission in Gaylord, DNR Director K.L. Cool signed an emergency order banning possession and transportation of live Asian carp and snakehead fish, as well as eggs of these species.

 

   Cool said the order, which carries the weight of law, is

meant to prevent the spread of these exotic species into Michigan waters. Asian carp and snakehead fish have not been found in Michigan waters to-date, but DNR Fisheries biologists said both species would have dramatic negative impacts on the waters, as well as native fish species.

 

   Cool said. "This order is necessary to protect Michigan's aquatic environment."

 


Improvements begin at five State Forest Campgrounds

   Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials announced that five State forest campgrounds will close temporarily for renovations during the coming weeks.

               

   Michigan campers have access to 145 State forest campgrounds statewide. These areas offer a more rustic, secluded camping experience on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors interested in the areas listed below should call ahead to ensure the campgrounds have reopened. The improvements slated for this spring will make the following State Forest Campgrounds compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act to enhance campers experience in the years ahead: 

 

* BLACK CREEK, Midland County, Gladwin Management Unit

Closed April 13; Re-opening July 1.

Contact:  Jerry Turner, Sanford Field Office, 989-687-7771

 

* BAXTER BRIDGE, Wexford County, Cadillac Management Unit

Closed April 27; Re-opening May 5.

Contact:  Paul Kollmeyer, Cadillac Operations Center, 231-775-9727, Ext 6051 or Baldwin Field Office, 231-745-4651, Ext. 6950

 

* HOUGHTON LAKE, Roscommon County, Roscommon

Management Unit

Currently Closed; Re-opening June 9.

Contact:  Lee Osterland, Roscommon Field Office, 989-275-5151, Ext. 2750

 

* JONES LAKE, Crawford County, Grayling Management Unit

Closed May 4; Re-opening 2004 Camping Season

Contact:  Larry Allwardt, Grayling Field Office, 989-348-6371, Ext. 7450

 

* WEBER LAKE, Cheboygan County, Gaylord Management Unit

Closed May 28; Re-opening July 1.

Contact:  John Lange, Indian River Field Office, 231-238-9314

     

   Campers throughout Michigan are reminded to exercise extreme caution when transporting firewood this year. The Emerald Ash Borer is a new exotic pest found in Southeast Michigan that quickly kills ash trees. Firewood infested with this, or any other exotic insects and diseases, can easily be spread across the state.  Campers are urged to use local sources of firewood, and burn all firewood before returning home. For more information, visit the states Emerald Ash Borer website at www.michigan.gov/mda .

 

 


Parks announce carry in, carry out program

   Day users at Michigan state parks, recreation areas and linear trails will be asked to carry out everything they carry in under a new program announced today.

 

   The Carry In, Carry Out Trash Free Parks program asks day users at more than 35 facilities to remove their own refuse. Signs in day-use areas and at trail heads will inform visitors of the program. Small plastic bags will be available from dispensers in picnic areas for visitors to use. Large groups, however, are encouraged to bring their own larger bags. Campgrounds are not part of the program.

 

   The goals of the program are to improve the overall appearance and safety of the parks through the removal of unsightly, pest-attracting refuse containers, as well as to promote an outdoor ethic embracing the idea that park users are active partners in the stewardship of our natural resources. Officials hope it also discourages wasteful picnic practices and encourages reusing and recycling and ensure more productive use of park staff time by limiting the time spent on trash removal.

 

   At least 23 other state park systems across the United States have been reaping the benefits of this type of program. Park visitors only need to make small changes to see significant waste reduction. Visitors are encouraged to:

* use reusable food containers, napkins and tablecloths

* avoid single serving or individually wrapped products

* recycle such items as glass, Styrofoam and plastics.

 

   State parks participating include: Bewabic, Cheboygan, Clear Lake, Harrisville, Hoffmaster, Holland, Lakeport, Ludington, Maybury, McLain, Mitchell, Muskegon, Muskallonge, North Higgins Lake, Orchard Beach, Port Crescent, Seven Lakes, Silver Lake, Sleeper, South Higgins Lake, Traverse City, Van Riper and Wilson.

 

   Recreation areas include: Bald Mountain, Bay City, Brighton, Fort Custer, Holly, Ionia, Metamora- Hadley and Pinckney. Trail parks include: Hart-Montague, Kal-Haven, Lakelands, Van Buren and White Pine.

For more information, contact Colleen Steinman at 517-373-0399.

               

   Campers throughout Michigan are reminded to exercise extreme caution when transporting firewood this year. The Emerald Ash Borer is a new exotic pest found in Southeast Michigan that quickly kills ash trees. Firewood infested with this, or any other exotic insects and diseases, can easily be spread across the state. Campers are urged to use local sources of firewood, and burn all firewood before returning home. For more information, visit the state's Emerald Ash Borer website at www.michigan.gov/mda.

 


Minnesota

MN spring fire restrictions began April 1

   Burning restrictions have been implemented by the Minnesota DNR over much of central and northern Minnesota.

The purpose of the fire restrictions is to reduce the large number of wildfires caused by vegetative debris burning and to reduce personal property damage.

 

   Beginning April 1, fire restrictions took effect in the following counties: Aitkin, Anoka,  Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Carver, Chisago, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Grant, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pine, Pope, Ramsey, Scott,  Sherburne, St. Louis, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, Washington, Wright, and the eastern one-half of Roseau county.

 

   Snowfall throughout Minnesota was well below average

 this winter and many areas of the state experienced fires into January. Within a day of the melting of the last snowfall, the DNR had responded to several

fires.  "This just shows us that even though it may rain or snow today, it only takes a day of warm, dry weather for the conditions for wildfires to return," said Dave Schuller, DNR Firewise Specialist.  "This is the case every spring until the grasses green up."  Past fire data has shown a 35-40 % decrease in the number of wildfires since spring burning restrictions were imposed five years ago.

                               

   A variance can be applied for at DNR Forestry Division offices, for prescribed fire projects, approved agricultural practices, or construction projects if an economic hardship exists. No burning permits will be issued for the burning of piled vegetative debris.  The fire restrictions will be lifted when vegetation green-up occurs and safe burning conditions prevail.

 


Four new state-records recognized

   The Minnesota DNR has officially recognized four new state record fish.  New records were set in 2002 for yellow bullhead (3 lbs 10.5 oz), white crappie (3 lbs, 15 oz ), silver redhorse (8 lbs, 4 oz) and tullibee (5 lbs, 11.8 oz).  To

qualify for a state record, anglers must have their fish weighed on a certified scale witnessed by two observers, have the fish positively identified at a DNR Fisheries office and complete a notarized application with a photo of the fish.

Becoming An Outdoors Woman offers programs in canoeing, kayaking, rafting

   The Minnesota Becoming An Outdoors Woman program will host five events this summer during which women can develop their skills in canoeing, kayaking and white-water rafting. The events vary from one to five days and are tailored for different skill levels.

 

   White-water rafting is being offered for the first time Thursday, June 5, through Superior Whitewater, which has been operating on the St. Louis River for several years. Participants will have an opportunity to paddle a raft while guides in kayaks direct them through the white-water challenges, according to Jean Bergerson, coordinator for the Minnesota Becoming An Outdoors Woman Program.

 

   "I went on the trip last year and it was both fun and challenging," Bergerson said. The morning trip, which is limited to 30 participants, costs $40 per person, including lunch. To register, call the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or 888-646-6367.

 

   A Snake River canoe trip is planned May 19. This activity, featuring easy paddling, is a good trip for beginners. Canoeists will meet at Mora at 10:30 a.m., spend a half-day on the Snake River, and enjoy lunch en route. Cost for the trip and lunch is $15, which includes equipment. Registration is being taken by the DNR Information Center.

 

   A Crow River canoe trip July 12 will involve a more challenging paddle. Participants will meet at the Crow River landing at Lake Rebecca Park Reserve and travel to Hanover to spend a full day on the river. Canoeing experience is recommended for this trip. The cost is $30 including parking fees, canoe rental and shuttle.

Participants should bring their own lunches. Registrations are being taken by Three Rivers Park District at (952) 474-4822, extension 708.

 

   Anoka County Parks is cosponsoring an overnight canoe trip on the Rum River July 11-12. This will include two days of paddling and an overnight camp at one of the riverside campsites. The trip will start at 10 a.m. Friday and canoeists will be off the river by 4 p.m. Saturday.  The cost is $30, including food and canoes. To register call (651) 429-8007.

 

   The BOW program and Laurentian Environmental Center are cohosting a five-day canoe trip in the Quetico and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness July 9-13. Canoeists, canoes and all gear will be flown to Lac La Croix to start the trip. Everything will be provided except for personal clothes. Flying to Quetico for the start will leave more time for day trips and wilderness enjoyment. The cost for the entire trip, which is limited to 16 participants, will be $595. Register by calling 1-888-749-1288.

 

   "The fly-in portion is an exciting addition to the BWCAW trip, which has been very popular activity for the last four years," Bergerson said.

 

   "We are excited to be able to offer this variety of trips for women," she noted. The BOW Program is designed for women over age 18, who are interested in learning or expanding their expertise in outdoor skills.

 

   The classes are usually taught by women. Program fees include all the equipment, hands-on instruction, and information to assist participants who wish to continue in that sport.

 


Spring MN Becoming An Outdoors Woman workshop scheduled

   Registration guides are now available for the spring Becoming An Outdoors Woman workshop, which will be held May 17-18 at Camp Courage near Maple Lake. Registration will be Saturday morning. The final session will conclude Sunday afternoon.

 

   "Our workshops are designed so women can sample three different activities during the weekend," said Jean Bergerson, Minnesota BOW coordinator.  Some activities offered for spring include firearm safety, canoeing, navigation, survival and angling. "In addition to participating in a weekend of hands-on learning, participants will have fun and meet other women who are interested in similar activities," Bergerson said.

 

   BOW offers the instruction as well as the equipment

needed to learn outdoor skills, to refresh previously learned skills, or to spend the weekend exploring new options.

 

   "A BOW workshop is a great Mother's Day gift," Bergerson suggested. Registration guides explain the schedule and weekend offerings, and allow registrants to sign up for individual classes.

 

   This workshop is being underwritten by grants from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Ruffed Grouse Society, and the Friends of the National Rifle Association. "Their generous support has held event cost to $30 per person," Bergerson noted.

               

Registration guides are available from the DNR Info Center: 651-296-6157 or toll 888-646-6367.

 


Red River anglers reminded of spring angling restrictions

   Low river levels and the lack of spring flooding have created excellent fishing conditions on the Red River of the North, particularly from the Fargo-Moorhead area upstream (south) to Wahpeton-Breckenridge. Growing numbers of anglers are taking advantage of favorable spring conditions to fish the Red River of the North, which is open to year-round angling.

 

   Minnesota DNR officials remind anglers that from March 1 through May 2 reduced limits and size restrictions are in effect on the Red River for walleye, sauger and northern pike. These regulations, referred to as the Spring Conservation Season, apply to all anglers fishing the Red River, regardless of the state in which they are licensed. Wording in the 2002-2004 North Dakota Angling Guide has created some confusion for anglers.

   During the Spring Conservation Season, anglers are limited to three walleye and sauger in combination. All walleye and sauger from 18 to 28" must be immediately released. An angler may possess two walleye or sauger in combination less than 18" one more than 28". Anglers must release all northern pike more than 27" during the Spring Conservation Season. The possession limit for northern pike is three fish.

               

   The Spring Conservation Season was implemented in 2000. The objective of the Spring Conservation Season is to provide additional angling opportunity by allowing year-round fishing while protecting the spawning stock of important sport fish species. Walleye and northern pike are particularly vulnerable in the spring when they are concentrated near key spawning areas or below fish migration barriers.

 


New York

Legislation Introduced in NY  - Will penalize animal rights terrorists

   New York is the second state to introduce a bill that will help prosecute animal rights terrorists.   The proposal is based on a model bill created by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA).  House Bill 4884, introduced by Representative Richard Smith (D-Blasdell), will recognize animal and eco-terrorism as forms of domestic terrorism, increase penalties for persons participating in politically motivated acts of animal or eco-terrorism and create specific penalties for those who assist or finance these acts of terrorism.

               

   This is part of the USSA national campaign to combat

animal rights terrorism on a state-by-state basis.  New York follows Texas’ lead in introducing this bill with legislators in other states also preparing to introduce similar bills.

 

   "The FBI found extremist animal rights groups to be among the largest and fastest-growing domestic terror threats," said USSA Senior Vice President Rick Story. "Terrorist groups like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front caused $17.3 million in damages during 2001.  This legislation can help identify and prosecute those who are involved in animal rights terrorism."

 


Wisconsin

Wisconsin Communities receive funds for boating projects

   MADISON –Six Wisconsin units of government and four lake protection and rehabilitation districts will receive state grants totaling $247,390 to make improvements for recreational boating in their communities.

 

   The grants were approved at the Feb. 11 meeting of the Wisconsin Waterways Commission, a five-member commission appointed by the governor to determine the need for recreational boating facilities. Funds for grants come from the state Water Resources Account and are raised through a formula transfer of excise tax on gasoline used for marine purposes.

 

   Units of government and qualified lake associations interested in applying for matching funds for recreational boating projects should contact the community services specialist at regional DNR offices. Eligible sponsors also include town sanitary districts and other local governmental units established for the purposes of lake management.

 

   The commission approved nine new projects and amended two grants previously awarded for recreational boating facilities. Grant agreements for the approved projects will be released by the Department over the next several weeks. The following is a list of projects:

  • TOWN OF TAYCHEEDAH, Fond du Lac County: $6,400, to dredge a 50 foot navigation channel to deep water at the Fisherman’s Road public access on Lake Winnebago.

  • OKAUCHEE LAKE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT, Waukesha County: $33,150 to acquire a small weed harvester for use as a skimmer and a transport trailer for use on Okauchee Lake.

  • LOON LAKE-WECOTT MANAGEMENT DISTRICT, Shawano County:$17,540 to apply chemicals to control Eurasian Water Milfoil on Loon Lake

  •  MARQUETTE COUNTY: $6,500 to improve the existing access to Buffalo Lake along Highway C.

  • Activities will include site preparation, launch ramp construction, parking lot marking and drainage, linkage path improvements and signage.

  • TOWN OF WASHINGTON, Shawano: $10,000 to improve the launch on White Clay Lake. Improvements include site preparation, construction of new launch ramp, paving of the parking area and remove overhead lighting.

  • TOWN OF LAGRANGE, Walworth County; $19,060 to renovate the West Shore boat launch to Lauderdale Lakes. Improvements will include the installation of pre-cast concrete planks for the ramp, paving of the parking area, accessible boarding dock and erosion controls.

  • TOWN OF LAGRANGE, Walworth County: $12,000 to renovate the Sterlingworth Bay boat launch on Lauderdale Lakes. Improvements will include the installation of pre-cast concrete planks for the ramp, paving of the parking area, accessible boarding dock and erosion controls.

  • BEAVER DAM LAKE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT, Barron County: $31,595 for the chemical treatment of Eurasian Water Milfoil on Beaver Dam Lake.

  • BIG ROCHE-A-CRI LAKE DISTRICT, Adams County: $36,933 to acquire a weed harvester and trailer for use on Big Roche-A-Cri lake.

  • RACINE COUNTY: $ $13,626 increase to an existing project to renovate the Pershing Park launch to Lake Michigan.

  • CITY OF RACINE, Racine County: $60,583 increase to an existing project to dredge a navigational channel in the Root River.

   The next meeting of the Commission will take place in late April. Sponsors interested in making application should get in contact with regional community service specialist for their area. Projects cannot be forwarded to the Commission for consideration until the sponsor obtains all appropriate water regulatory permits or weed harvesting permits.   For more info: Larry Freidig - (608) 266-5897

 

 


Wisconsin Wins Big - Law protects right to fish, hunt

   Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment last week to further guarantee state residents their right to hunt, trap and fish, approving the measure with greater than an 80% approval rating. The amendment,  "The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law" provides the means for a legal challenge should extreme anti-hunting groups attempt to prohibit those activities.

 

    "It will just put a lot of folks' minds at ease and protect

               

us from the unreasonable restrictions that certain individuals would like to place on us," said Steve Oestreicher, chairman of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, the state's major outdoors group. Similar referendum processes have begun in Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska and New York. The Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation is assisting the Nebraska Legislative Sportsmen's Foundation on this issue and will work with the sportsmen's caucus in Missouri as well, part of an effort to be active in 11 state legislatures to protect the rights of outdoorsmen and women and promote wildlife conservation.

 


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