PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department will host public meetings in Mesa and Phoenix this week to present an action plan for wildlife-viewing recreation in Arizona and invite input from the public.

The meetings will be held from 6-8 p.m. on these dates:

  • Wednesday, June 29, Mesa, Arizona Game and Fish Department Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive.
  • Thursday, June 30, Phoenix, Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Highway. Note: This meeting will also be webcast at www.azgfd.gov/webcast.

Each meeting will include an introduction, a presentation on the plan (including strategies and objectives), and the opportunity for discussion and questions and answers.

The Wildlife Viewing Action Plan outlines objectives and strategies to help guide and implement a statewide watchable wildlife project. It identifies programs, products, and services the department is currently providing in wildlife viewing recreation, discusses opportunities and challenges for the future, and identifies new approaches that, if implemented, will help take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges.

Game and Fish is seeking input from the public on the general topics and strategies that have been developed in the plan.

“This is a step to include users and stakeholders in evaluating the plan,” says Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Joe Yarchin. “We’re looking for input on any broad objectives or strategies we might have missed, including alternatives. We want feedback on whether this is hitting the mark or has some gaps that need to be addressed.”

Game and Fish recognizes the need to manage for positive wildlife opportunities for all outdoor recreationists. There is strong public interest in watching wildlife. According to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 1.3 million wildlife viewing participants spend $838 million in Arizona annually.

Despite this comparatively large demographic, there appears to be a gap between the current conditions, as they relate to wildlife viewing recreation, and the desired future conditions. The action plan outlines objectives, goals and actions to narrow the gap.

Comments can be submitted at the meetings, or they can be sent via e-mail to wwreview@azgfd.gov or by U.S. mail to: Wildlife Viewing Action Plan Comment, c/o Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. The deadline to submit comments is July 6, 2011.

For a link to the plan and more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/wwreview.

Contact:
Tom Cadden (623) 236-7392,
tcadden@azgfd.gov,
Public Information Officer, AZGFD

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