Western UP Citizens Advisory Council meets to discuss natural resource issues

Published: Jan. 15, 2020 at 10:20 PM EST
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Citizens heard about a number of natural resource issues across the Western Upper Peninsula on Wednesday evening.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Western Upper Peninsula Citizens’ Advisory Council met on Wednesday in Baraga County to discuss a variety of issues.

One of the topics included the preliminary results from the 2019 deer season that showed deer harvest is down 11% across the U.P.

“The intent of this group is to be an advisory group from the citizens’ perspective to the DNR,” said Phil Wirtanen, Chairman of the Western U.P. Citizens Advisory Council.

The council always encourages the public to attend these meetings to voice any questions.

"We actually have multiple divisions in attendance tonight from within the DNR, so if you have a specific question for someone with trails, you could talk about that,” said Stacy Haughey, U.P. Regional Coordinator for the DNR.

One main agenda item this evening included an update on the Houghton County trail damage reconstruction.

Many trails are still closed in Houghton County due to the Father’s Day floods and the DNR is currently going through a multiple year process repairing those trails.

"The amount of damage to our trail system is beyond what most people recognize just because you don't see it driving by on the highway, but we had over 220 washouts on our trail system," said Ron Yesney, Upper Peninsula Trails Coordinator.

The DNR is applying for grants through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and looking for extra funding.

"The FEMA reimbursements only equate to a certain amount, and there is damage to above and beyond what is reimbursable to FEMA,” said Yesney. “So we are also looking at different avenues and formulas to find funding to reconstruct the trail systems back to what they were prior to the Father’s Day floods.”

The Western and Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizens Advisory Council Meetings are held every other month, alternating councils and anyone is welcome to attend.

The next meeting is in Marquette on March 25, 2020.

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