The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) will hold its regular monthly meeting Thursday, April 5 at the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University, 4125 Beaumont Road, Lansing. All meetings will be held in Room 101 of the center.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. with a joint session of the Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee and the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on State Parks and Outdoor Recreation. The Parks Advisory Committee will discuss a state forest campground plan and take action on a resolution in support of a director’s memorandum to adjust state forest campground camping fees. The two bodies will then have a roundtable discussion to include an update on the progress of the Blue Ribbon Panel, the role of the Parks Advisory Committee, future direction and partnering opportunities. DNR staff will provide updates on the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan, the state trail system and planning process, communication tools and finances.

At 2 p.m., the Policy Committee on Wildlife and Fisheries will receive updates from the Department of Natural Resources wildlife and fisheries chiefs and hear a report on bovine tuberculosis in Michigan.

The Committee of the Whole will meet at 3 p.m. A report from DNR Director Rodney Stokes will include a review of a reduction in state forest camping fees and an update on commemoration plans for fallen conservation officers. Fees at state forest campgrounds have been reduced by $2 to $3 per site per night as part of a reorganization of state campground management. The commemoration of fallen officers is linked to the DNR Law Enforcement Division’s celebration of its 125th Anniversary this year.

At 4 p.m., the NRC will present Partners in Conservation Awards to 14 Michigan scouting councils.

Public appearances before the NRC will immediately follow the award presentation. Those wishing to give public comments to the NRC should contact Debbie Whipple, executive assistant to the NRC, at 517-373-2352 or whippled1@michigan.gov, to register. Registration is also available at the meeting location.

The regular NRC meeting will begin immediately after public appearances. The commission is scheduled to take action on elk and bear regulation and license quotas for the upcoming hunting season. The commission will review three options for bear licenses in each of the eco-regions open for hunting: the Western Upper Peninsula, Eastern Upper Peninsula, and Upper Lower Peninsula. Factors that are considered when selecting license quotas include population estimates, hunter success rates, harvest effort, recreational opportunities, and social concerns about bear-related incidents. Also before the commission for action is the establishment of waterfowl hunting zones for a five-year period.

Items eligible for action by Director Stokes include the DNR’s 10-year Elk Management Plan, a reduction in mineral audit program fees, approval of a May 8 oil and gas lease auction for leasing rights on public land and seven land transactions.

For more information on the NRC, including this meeting’s agenda, informational memos and past meeting minutes, go to www.michigan.gov/nrc.

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