Hunting approved in Tobico Marsh, leaving residents concerned - WNEM TV 5

Hunting approved in Tobico Marsh, leaving residents concerned

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BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Proposed changes at a state park caused quite the controversy last year which included more hunting and trapping in areas already used for hiking and camping.

But despite growing calls against the plan it turns out those changes were approved.

>>Read more: DNR to allow hunting in Tobico Marsh<<

The community raised a list of concerns when the changes for the Tobico Marsh were first proposed in August.

Mainly regarding the safety of families with hunters shooting guns so close by.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources tells us it heard from those concerned about hunting and trapping in parts of Tobico Marsh and the DNR said what it approved will work for everyone using the park.

“I was kind of stunned,” said Drew Pentkowski.

Pentkowski was angry when he learned hunting and trapping will be allowed in parts of the Tobico Marsh. He lives nearby and thinks it was a bad idea for the DNR to approve the move.

“I don’t see why they would alienate anybody from coming out here because they would be in fear being shot or stepping into a trap of some sort,” Pentkowski said.

TV5 asked Brian Dunn, the acting Supervisor for the soon to be Bay City State Park, what he had to say about the people who are upset that there will be hunting and trapping out in the marsh.

“We’ve done everything we can to put as many safety boundaries in place,” Dunn said. “Public input was taken into account when all these decisions were made.”

Dunn believes the changes that will allow for hunting and trapping in parts of Tobico Marsh will work for everybody.

“We’ve put in all the safeguards, we can so both our hikers, our bird watchers and our waterfowl hunters will all be able to use the same space,” Dunn said.

Acting on a tip from a viewer who wondered why the DNR did not publicize its decision, TV5 contacted the DNR directly and we were told that 10 public meetings were held before the changes were made.

The spokesperson also said there will be a 150 yard no hunting buffer zone from trails used by visitors including school trips. For his part, Dun said the park will take all the necessary steps to make all visitors safe.

“There’ll be posts in the ground that are bright fluorescent colors marking the boundaries from the no hunting and hunting areas,” Dunn said. “Out in the open water of the marsh, there will be buoys marking which side where waterfowl hunters can and can’t be. And new maps and signage is being put up as well.”

But Pentkowski insists allowing hunting and trapping is a bad idea. He hopes no one gets hurt.

“Accidents happen and with the many people coming in here to trap I think accidents will happen,” Pentkowski said.

The DNR spokesperson said no high power rifles will be allowed in the park and no motorized watercrafts will be allowed in the marsh.

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