Following a series of listening sessions and public input, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has revised the proposed 2013 hunting and trapping maps for 20 state parks, including maps for three state parks in Door County.
Among the proposed changes at Peninsula State Park is a later opening -- November 15 instead of October 15, the closure of additional portions of the park to hunting and trapping, and limiting hunting to archery only.
At Newport State Park, additional closures have been proposed in areas near highly used trails; A larger closed area is also recommended at Potawatomi State Park. A link to all the proposed maps can be found at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/hunt/index.html.
The changes are being made after review of more than 2,000 written and oral comments the parks program received on its initial proposal to implement the part of a new law the legislature approved earlier this year -- Act 168, known as the Sporting Heritage Bill -- which expands hunting and trapping in state parks.
Act 168, which goes into effect Jan. 1, allows the DNR to prohibit hunting and trapping within 100 yards of a designated use area such as a campground, picnic area, or beach. A determination to prohibit hunting and trapping in any other areas of a state park, a portion of a state park, or during certain time periods must be approved by a majority of the Natural Resources Board.
The parks program will present the revised implementation plan to the State Natural Resources Board at its meeting Tuesday, December 11 in Madison. Board members held five listening sessions around the state to gather feedback on the department's preliminary plan to implement the law. In addition, the DNR accepted written and electronic comments on the draft plan.
In all, the DNR received 2,033 comments including written and oral comments provided at the listening sessions and those sent via email and letters. There were 157 oral comments presented at the five listening sessions.
"Many of the comments were directed at reducing hunting and trapping in specific state parks, and we reviewed each of those circumstances and made appropriate adjustments to the implementation plan where warranted," said Dan Schuller, Director of Wisconsin State Parks.
The Natural Resources Board will also be taking testimony and written comments on this issue at the December 11 meeting. The board has extended the deadline to register to testify to 4 p.m. Monday December 10. The meeting will be in Room G09 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison. The meeting begins at 1 p.m. and the Act 168 implementation plan is the third item on the agenda.