Fishing resources

Representative Markkanen proposes bespoke natural resources commission for UP

Representative Markkanen proposes bespoke natural resources commission for UP

Lawmaker: New body would have better pulse on region

State Rep. Greg Markkanen is spearheading new plans creating a natural resources commission for the Upper Peninsula — as the current state commission continues to actively hamper resource and recreation needs and challenges of the region.

Internal Bills 6383-87 establish the authority of the separate committee and establish the rules for its operation. Other UP lawmakers have joined Markkanen in sponsoring proposals.

“Issues regarding UP hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation regulations and other important natural resource issues should be led by UP voices and UP residents,” said Markkanen, of Hancock. “We have seen a consistent pattern of decisions from the existing commission that does not take into account the voices or concerns of the UP. Many people within the UP feel that this commission has let them down and is actively working against their interests. A more personalized panel will eliminate this element and provide oversight that better reflects our residents while meeting their needs.

The commission’s recent deer harvest reporting mandate is another example in a long list of instances where it has been disconnected from UP residents. The new ordinance requires hunters to file reports online within 72 hours of capturing a deer – including the exact location, type of hunting device used and other personal information. Failure to do so would constitute an offence.

Markkanen supports advancing legislation that says the Natural Resources Commission cannot compel hunters to make such reports because bow season must begin Oct. 1. The second-term lawmaker said the order is impractical and overly cumbersome — as many areas hunting reliable internet access and enacting criminal penalties go too far to encourage data collection. The plan, House Bill 6354, was approved in a vote by the Michigan House on Wednesday.

HBs 6383-87 were referred to the House Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee for review.