DNR revises proposal to expand Bay County hunting area - WNEM TV 5

DNR revises proposal to expand Bay County hunting area

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BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A controversial plan to open up hunting space near park space didn't go over well with some locals the first time around. Now, the Department of Natural Resources has revised the plan for Bay County's Tobico Marsh.

“Schools use it. It’s very educational. So, I'm glad they made revisions,” Carol Dwan said.

Dwan is a resident of Bay City. She is just one of many with mixed reviews of the DNR’s revised proposal for new hunting boundaries at the Bay City Recreational Area.

“We heard a lot of feedback from the public that they weren't comfortable with a lot of the proposed regulations and new boundaries and things like that,” said Holly Vaughn, wildlife communications coordinator.

The original proposal to introduce hunting to the Tobico Marsh included 1,038 acres of land that would be dedicated to hunting areas that included trails for residents - even some spots dedicated to educational programs for children.

The DNR presented the plan in August and Vaughn said the people were just not having it.

“The big concern is that people could be injured with the hunting happening so close to the hunting trail,” Vaughn said.

So, it was back to the drawing board.

The DNR came back with a new plan presented Monday night. The new plan calls for only using 375 acres, space that does not include hiking trails or educational areas.

The DNR also said there will be restrictions on what type of firearms are allowed and there will be a "safety buffer" of 150 yards from the edge of the trails to the areas used for hunting.

Even with these revisions, William Roth, who frequents the state park, said he's still not on board.

“I don't understand why they’re worried about almost 400 acres. Why they’re pushing it to be huntable. There’s too many safety concerns. You have kayakers, hikers, bird watching,” Roth said.

 DNR commissioners will be voting on the revised proposal Thursday, Sept. 14. 

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