February 2004 News
Keweenaw Point Advisory Committee: Minutes of meeting January 20, 2004, Allouez Community Center
Meeting convened at 6:30 p.m.
Attending: See list of committee members, p. 2, plus, DNR (Michigan Department
of Natural Resources) employees Jim Ekdahl, Marty Nelson, Ron Yesney, Debbie Begalle, Lee Verberkmoes and Ann Wilson.
1. Debbie Begalle, DNR Western Upper Peninsula district
supervisor, opened the meeting with welcoming comments and introduction of DNR staff present.
2. Jim Ekdahl, DNR Upper Peninsula field deputy, offered additional comments. He indicated his appreciation for the willingness of committee members to offer their assistance to the DNR in identifying issues important to future use of Keweenaw land. The committee's advice will be important to the DNR as it develops plans for this area.
3. Marty Nelson, DNR Baraga unit manager, then showed a program to the group outlining some history and current conditions of the tract, including natural features, topography, roads, popular spots, private and public land holdings, etc.
|At the Jan. 20, 2004, organizational meeting of the
Keweenaw Point Advisory Committee in the Allouez Community Center, Marty
Nelson, right, DNR Baraga unit manager, shows slides of Fish Cove,
an area included in the state's recent Keweenaw Tip purchase of 6,275 acres
for conservation, public access and recreation. (Photo by Michele
4. Ron Yesney, DNR Western Upper Peninsula recreation
specialist, then offered a program outlining practical tips on how citizen advisory committees operate ( see program copy) and support services to be provided by the DNR, including the taking of minutes, setting up meetings, dates and locations, press releases, and support in terms of information requested by the committee during its fact-finding. Ron also stressed that the committee will be asked to host two public meetings, one in February and another in September. The first public meeting will be to take comment from the public about how they perceive management of the Keweenaw Point lands should proceed. The last public meeting will be for the purpose of presenting the committee's final recommendations before submitting them to the DNR. In addition, all meetings of the committee will be open to the public; and a segment of each meeting will be set aside for public comment and questions.
|During the Jan. 20 organizational meeting of the
Keweenaw Point Advisory Committee, DNR Recreation Specialist Ron Yesney,
standing, explains functions of citizen advisory committees and support
services to be provided by the DNR. Also pictured are, seated from left,
Marty Nelson, DNR Baraga unit manager; Debbie Begalle, DNR Western U.P.
district supervisor; Ann Wilson, DNR (Marquette) communications
representative; Jim Ekdahl, DNR Upper Peninsula field deputy; Clarence
Monette, secretary, Keweenaw County Historical Society; and Don Keith,
Keweenaw County commissioner.
5. Ann Wilson then discussed committee formation and how individuals on the committee came to be selected. She also talked about communications methods most effective for reaching individuals with an interest in these issues, both locals and those outside the immediate area.
The audience then was asked to offer comments and questions.
- Can private landowners be given a seat on the KPAC?
Answer: Ann Wilson told the group that the committee specifically includes representatives from all affected local units of government, including county and township. The intent was to allow those elected individuals to serve in a representative capacity for all those citizens within their jurisdictions. The fact that the private landowners in the KP regions are not organized into a group makes it impossible to select one person who can represent all private landowner interests fairly.
- Will local zoning ordinances have any reflection on what can or cannot be allowed in terms of development recommendations at
Answer: Jim Ekdahl answered, "There is uncertainty in Michigan law regarding whether local zoning regulations pertain to state land.
We hope to be able to identify uses of the Keweenaw property which are compatible with local zoning concerns, and that do not provoke zoning issues or disputes. This issue may need further clarification, depending upon final plans."
- Will meeting dates be set for the public to attend?
Answer: Yes, all meetings will be posted publicly and minutes will be posted at key locations, including local libraries, the courthouse and Fort Wilkins State Park for the public to inspect.
Keweenaw Now, a local website, was recommended to be added to the list of media that can be used to provide information to the local community.
- What will happen to the recommendations when they are done and when must they be submitted?
Debbie Begalle responded that the recommendations would go to the Western UP Eco Team for review and then be forwarded through appropriate divisional channels, and ultimately to the Chief of FMFM and staff in Lansing. Jim E. supported the channel for the recommendations, emphasizing the timeframe that may be involved could prove somewhat lengthy. Debbie added that implementation of the final management strategy would come through the Baraga Management Unit. The timeliness of the implementation would depend upon funding and logistics. Grants would be a likely source for funding and engineering would certainly have to be included as part of the cost and time commitment.
- The members of the committee then introduced themselves and talked a bit about the organizations and interests they represent.*
Debbie Begalle then asked the committee to select leadership.
Don Keith motioned, with Dana Richter, second, to select Bill Deephouse as Chair of the KPAC. Jeff Knoop was asked to serve as vice chair.
Friederike Greuer was asked to serve as secretary. The nominations won unanimous approval from committee members.
Dates for future meetings were discussed. It was agreed that KPAC would meet on the first Tuesday of each month. The location would remain the Allouez Community Center in Allouez for the time being (Don Keith confirmed). As warm weather months commence, meetings may be moved further north; and Deb offered to arrange for tours of the lands under consideration in order to further familiarize KPAC members with the geography and special features of the area.
A member of the audience again raised the matter of placing a riparian landowner on the committee, and it was explained that the private landowners have no organization from which they could nominate and appoint someone to serve. The man indicated that it was required by the DEQ as part of permit requirements to name all adjacent landowners for stream crossings. In fairness to all the private landowners, resident and non-resident, the local units of government, represented by their elected officials, and in
most cases, chair of the local governmental boards, will serve on behalf of all landowners.
The next meeting of KPAC will be at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, February 3, at the Allouez Community Center. The committee will set forth a work plan for discussion of key priorities that will fall under their area of recommendations, including recreation, timber management, shoreline usage, etc.
Following the establishment of the work plan, the committee will conduct a special public comment session.
As amended: January 25, 2004 aw
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