Bay City rec area proposals removed from NRC meeting agenda


by Evan Sasiela,

BANGOR TWP, MI -- The Natural Resources Commission of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has removed two proposals regarding the Bay City State Recreation Area from the agenda for its upcoming meeting.

The removal of the proposals from the agenda comes less than 24 hours after the DNR hosted an informational meeting at the state recreation area. Several dozen residents voiced their disapproval with one of the proposals, which would expand hunting and trapping opportunities at Tobico Marsh State Game Area.

Another proposal changing the name to "Bay City State Park" is also crossed out on the agenda. George Lauinger, unit manager of the state recreation area, said Monday that the change would be made to lessen confusion from visitors.

The agenda was revised Tuesday, Aug. 8.

The two proposals were to be considered by the NRC at its meeting Thursday, Aug. 10, in Jackson.

Ron Olson, chief of parks and recreation for the DNR, said a decision was made after Monday's meeting to remove the items from the agenda. He said a postponement would allow everyone to assess the entirety of the proposals before the NRC's Sept. 14 meeting.

Bay County Executive Jim Barcia spoke at Monday's meeting and stated the Bay County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution opposing the expanded hunting proposal.

"They've heard Bay County and the concerns that have been expressed," Barcia said.

DNR officials stated the increased acreage would allow more opportunities for hunters. Residents on Monday expressed safety concerns along the Tobico trails, which would be in areas open to hunting.

"There is nothing going to be addressed at the meeting this week," Olson said.

Olson said postponing a decision was respectful to the residents who came out on Monday.

"That's why you have a public meeting," he said.

Olson said both proposals are intended to return to the agenda at next month's meeting. He said both proposals were related, so they were postponed at the same time.

State Rep. Brian Elder, D-Bay City, confirmed that the proposals were removed. Elder organized Monday's meeting between the DNR and residents at the state recreation area.

The DNR informed Elder of the agenda changes on Tuesday. Elder said in its explanation, the DNR indicated there a lot of confusion about what the proposal was, and that was a reason for the postponement. 

Elder also referred to a number of different maps that were distributed at Monday's meeting. The DNR wanted to do a better job of relaying where hunting would be allowed and take the time to do more research, Elder said.

Elder said he is happy with the outcome and believes other people should be as well.

"I think the residents themselves should be quite proud of what they did," he said.

Carly Fox