|December 10th, 2010, 12:34 PM||#1|
Member since 1994
Join Date: 03-25-06
Location: Muskegon and Oceana Counties
GLFWDA LUC Report for December
The 2010 winter MSTAC and ORVAW meetings as well as the Gladwin District (DNRE) Open House were all held on Wednesday, December 1st. The GLFWDA Land Use Committee attended all three. Below are the reports of each as well as updates covering a few other issues that have surfaced since the November Deer Season break.
The meeting was VERY informative. Discussions and presentations were made by DNRE Staff covering all of the Federal and State fish and game funding sources and how they’re requirements impact trails of all types, as well as the various funding sources available to FMFM for the administration of their functions. Most of the time was spent on the Federal Pittman-Robertson Act. I have included a copy of the presentation (Pdf file) that was made. There are 13 different funding sources for FMFM to utilize, but the VAST majority of these are restricted use funds that can only be applied to the subject for which they were set aside (like the ORV Fund). Trails links and website locations were demonstrated and discussions about how to link them ALL into one cohesive library will be ongoing. A presentation about Tread Lightly’s new Respected Access initiative was made, including discussions about courtesy and etiquette amongst users on the trail.
The 2011 MSTAC meetings will be held on 4/20, 7/20 and 10/19 at the Ralph A. MacMullen Conference Center (RAM Center) located at 104 conservation Drive, Roscommon, MI 48653.
The first ORVAW meeting was held immediately after the MSTAC. The proposed Rules of Procedure and meeting schedule were adopted. 2011 meetings will be held on 2/9, 5/11, 8/10 and 11/9. They will be held in Lansing and begin at 6:30pm. DNRE is trying to get them scheduled at the same location as the old Advisory Board meetings, but this needs to be confirmed with the Hotel before official announcement can be made, so as of this writing, location is TBD. Updates on the issues that were before the Advisory Board before it was dissolved were also given. Safety Education and ORV Program signage were the primary two topics.
A conversation with ORVAW member John Chad of Happi-Trails ATV Club yielded two opportunities for GLFWDA. Happi-Trails is hosting the 3rd Annual Grayling AuSable Recreation Expo on May 14 and 15, 2011. GLFWDA is invited to participate. More information can be found here: http://www.happi-trailsatvclub.com/G...tion-Expo.html . This could be a good PR event to seek new members and introduce ourselves to many of the government officials in the area. The other opportunity is that Happi-Trails and several other organizations in the area are attempting to get an ORV Route designated that would travel from Grayling to the Bridge. They are currently pouring over maps and GPSing several areas to determine which paths would be most suitable. The GLFWDA Land Use Committee has been invited to join the discussions and effort.
Gladwin Open House:
The Gladwin District Open House was held to give the public the opportunity to comment about the projects the District plans to undertake in 2012. This is a bit of a misnomer as the opportunity to comment is VERY minimal. The LUC obtained a PILE of information no less than ¾” thick about the various projects. Each contains a great deal of information about the logging that will take place in each compartment and a map that does show the road system in each, but there is NO information about which roads are to be closed. Discussions with Forester Steve Nyhoff indicated that the process for deciding road closures is on a site specific basis that will only begin when each timber sale is administered. The dates of the timber sales are weather dependant and, as such, no time line can be given. The administration of the sale will only leave about a two week period between the inspection of the road system and the implementation of the project’s decision governing which roads are to be closed. This leaves GLFWDA little opportunity for involvement. Mr. Nyhoff’s advice was to select which roads were most desirable by the 4x4 community and send in an early request that they be kept open. He advised that the District Manager was ultimately responsible for the decision and comments are merely “taken under advisement”. This indicates that they don’t really carry any real weight and are not appealable through the current process. The LUC finds this EXTREMELY disconcerting. This process MUST be improved if GLFWDA or the public are to have ANY real impact upon the road system on State lands. The LUC will attempt to locate the project list and descriptions in the DNRE’s database and post them to the website for review by the membership so that a compilation of comments can be sent to the District Manager in a timely fashion.
ORV Safety Training:
The new Draft of the ORV Safety Training Manual was release but still had a few issues with our suggested material. The most notable of these was the lack of any strapping information. Submissions were reissued. DNRE is concerned about liability. We have a teleconference between GLFWDA, Cpl. John Morey (Program Coordinator), Lt. Andrew Turner (Program Administrator) and Kalkomey (DNRE’s Printing Firm) to attempt resolution. It is our position that the State’s liability exposure for the inclusion of strapping information is little different than the liability they have already accepted with their inclusion of winching information. ALL extractions involve deadly force. The inclusion of information only demonstrates that the DNRE is attempting to lessen the dangers by ensuring that students are taught proper procedures BEFORE attempting an extraction with either device.
DNRE has also decided to form a new ORV Safety Education Advisory Committee to provide input on all aspects of the Department’s ORV Safety Education Program. GLFWDA has secured a position on this committee as well. The seven member Committee (5 Instructors and 2 DNRE Staff) will have their first meeting on January 13, 2011. It will be a full-day’s session.
Oceana County Roads:
The LUC was been asked to speak at the Michigan Township Association meeting in Oceana County on December 9th. The conversation’s subject is about GLFWDA’s and Otto Township’s desire to have the Oceana County Road Commission (OCRC) re-adopt the two track roads that were dropped from inventory in 2006. The OCRC Managing Director has expressed strong support for the measure; however the Commission has indicated a reluctance to entertain a Motion without support of ALL the Township Supervisors in Oceana County. We were well received, gaining the support and contact information of 8 of the 10 Townships who were present. We will gain contacts with the 6 Townships who were not in attendance and begin working to convince the two who were opposed to the idea of it's merits. There are 133 road segments totaling over 80 miles that were formerly CRC roads, ALL of them are two tracks.