Wisconsin State Park new reservation system begins Dec. 14

MADISON - Wisconsin State Park System customers can log into the new reservation system to set up their new accounts beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14.
Starting at 9 a.m. on Dec. 17, 2018 customers can begin making reservations using the new, improved - and less expensive - reservation system.
People will be able to reach the new reservation system at wiparks.net or by searching the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "camp." All reservations that have already been previously booked will automatically be transferred to the new Camis system. All campers who have reserved sites for next year will receive an email confirming their reservations transferred to the new system. Anyone who has questions regarding their reservations can call the customer service line at 1-888-947-2757 beginning at 9 a.m. on Dec. 17.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is contracting with a new provider, Camis USA, Inc., that was awarded the reservation contract through a competitive bidding process. Camis USA currently operates reservation systems for Michigan, Maryland and Washington state parks.
No new reservations can be booked until Dec. 17. Customers who do not have current reservations only need to set up an account in the new system to begin making reservations with Camis USA.
Under the new system, it will cost users $7.75 to make a reservation, compared to the previous price of $9.65. Customers can also expect many enhancements when making reservations, including better searchability for campsites, and a mobile-friendly website that makes it easier than ever to make a reservation from a phone or tablet. The new system will also accommodate reservations for shelters and amphitheaters. Customers can make reservations for sites up to 11 months in advance of their arrival, either online or by phone. The reservation phone number (1-888-947-2757) and access to the online reservation system through the DNR website will remain the same.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR to host employment event for military veterans

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is hosting its second annual Veteran Employment Information Event on Tuesday, Jan. 8, in St. Paul.
Many veterans want to work in a natural resources environment, and many military skills translate into DNR positions.
“If you’ve served in the military, you probably have a lot of experience in many of our professional areas,” said Don Matthys, DNR management resources regional supervisor and U.S. Army retired.
At the event, veterans will have the opportunity to talk to DNR staff, including those who work in the areas of fisheries and wildlife, information technology, GIS and mapping, forestry, enforcement, engineering and more. It’s a chance to find out from those who work it every day about the different job responsibilities, education requirements and how military work experience translates.
Attendees will have the option to meet with current DNR employees who are also military veterans, and learn resume tips for translating military skills and experience to better match position qualifications.
Human resources staff will provide information on how to apply for DNR jobs, set up job searches and receive job posting notifications.
Veterans will also be on hand to answer questions about how to successfully juggle military and civilian commitments. Information on DNR veteran support resources will also be available.
“I can’t imagine a more military friendly employer,” said John Peterson, DNR emergency manager who is serving in the MN National Guard. “The DNR has always been incredibly supportive of my service in the National Guard.”
This event is free and will be held at the DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road N., St. Paul, MN 55101. Space is limited and registration is required. Register for a time slot between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Go to: tinyurl.com/dnrvets2019.
Veterans will receive a welcome packet with additional information when registration is confirmed.
Similar veteran employment informational events will be held in Bemidji, Grand Rapids and Mankato in early 2019.
The DNR is Yellow Ribbon Company – a veteran friendly employer.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

2019 Wisconsin State Park stickers on sale now

MADISON - People looking for a holiday gift that keeps giving throughout the year can give outdoor enthusiasts access to some of the most scenic areas found in Wisconsin that offer thousands of miles of trails, hundreds of nature hiking opportunities and dozens of beaches, with a 2019 Wisconsin state park admission sticker or state trail pass.
2019 stickers and state trails passes went on sale Dec. 1 at state park facilities and Department of Natural Resources service centers statewide. State park properties will honor 2019 stickers and passes for admission to parks, forests, recreation areas and trails through the remainder of 2018.
The admission stickers are designed by high school students and the winning design is chosen in a statewide contest.
The winning 2019 admission sticker features a pair of hiking boots hitting the trail by Slinger High School sophomore Rory Macha. The winning design will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and will be displayed on approximately 300,000 vehicles.
Vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.
A state trail pass is required for all people age 16 or older biking, in-line skating, horseback riding or cross-country skiing on certain state trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking.
Annual admission stickers cost $28 for Wisconsin residents or $38 for nonresidents. If there is more than one vehicle registered to the same household, additional state park stickers are available for $15.50 for residents and $20.50 for nonresidents. A senior citizen annual sticker for $13 is available for Wisconsin residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $25 for residents and nonresidents.
In addition to park, forest and trail offices and DNR service centers, stickers and trail passes are available over the phone from the DNR call center. Phone customers can call the DNR at 888-936-7463 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Customers need to order stickers and passes by Monday, Dec. 16 to receive them for the holidays.
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks also offer online sales of admission stickers and trail passes with a donation to the statewide friends group through the organization's website www.fwsp.org (exit DNR).
For more information search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "sticker."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Mississippi River Pool 10 habitat project assessment available

The draft feasibility study/environmental assessment for the McGregor Lake Habitat Rehabilitation and Enhancement Project in Pool 10 of the Upper Mississippi River is now available for public information, review and comment.
The project area includes McGregor Lake and the associated island, channel and backwater complex between the main channel and east channel. The entire project area is about 1,063 acres, and lies within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge adjacent to Prairie du Chien and Marquette, Iowa.
If you have any comments on the environmental assessment, please provide them by Dec. 29, 2018. Any one may request a public hearing in writing by Dec. 14. Both comments and hearing requests should be addressed to the District Engineer, St. Paul District, Corps of Engineers, Attention: Regional Planning and Environment Division North, 180 Fifth Street East, Suite 700 St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-1678.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR intensifies CWD response efforts in southeastern Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is taking additional steps to help limit the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild deer in southeastern Minnesota.
Eleven new cases of wild deer infected with the neurological disease were discovered this fall in or around the CWD disease management zone in Fillmore County.
In response, the DNR will open two special hunts in December; provide shooting permits to landowners; conduct deer culling efforts in January; and hold a public meeting in Preston on Dec. 18.
Lou Cornicelli, the DNR’s wildlife research manager, said the CWD-positive cases indicate that the disease is persisting in this area, and the DNR needs to act quickly to contain the disease while it is relatively concentrated in a geographic area.
“The last thing people want is an established disease in their backyards,” said Cornicelli. “States that have CWD established in their wild deer populations have seen declines in both deer populations and deer hunter numbers. We’ll continue to do what we can to avoid that situation here.”
The disease management zone was established by the DNR after CWD was discovered in wild deer near Preston in 2016. The zone is an approximately 10-mile radius around Preston.
To date, there have been 28 detected cases of the neurological disease within the CWD disease management zone, 11 of which were detected this fall. While the majority of positives remain within the disease management zone, discoveries of the disease just outside of the boundary are consistent with expected movement of bucks, which tend to travel alongside rivers during the breeding season.

New DNR actions
Here are additional details about actions the DNR is taking to continue combating CWD in southeastern Minnesota.
The DNR will:
* Open two separate three-day deer hunts in December in and around the disease management zone. Details of these late-season hunts and boundary will be available Tuesday, Dec. 4, on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/cwd.
* Provide shooting permits to landowners interested in removing deer from their property. DNR staff will reach out directly to landowners within the CWD management zone with information about that program.
* Conduct targeted culling starting in mid-January. The DNR will be working with local landowners and coordinating with the United States Department of Agriculture to remove deer from areas where CWD-positive deer were found.
Final CWD test results and preliminary findings from the DNR’s ongoing research on deer movement in southeastern Minnesota will affect how the DNR manages the disease going forward.

Survey to be conducted
DNR researchers will also be surveying hunters and landowners throughout southeastern Minnesota. The study’s goal is to measure attitudes toward the disease and DNR management, and to measure support for potential management actions, including providing incentives to hunters and landowners to help curb disease spread.
The DNR will also have a public meeting in Preston to provide information about CWD and the DNR’s management response to its discovery. The meeting will be 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, in the Fillmore Central School Auditorium at 702 Chatfield St.
DNR staff will explain the CWD efforts to date and how the current response is designed to limit its spread. They will also discuss response measures including the disease management zone, special late-season deer hunts, landowner shooting permits, targeted culling and snow-dependent aerial deer survey.

CWD transmission
CWD is an always-fatal neurological disease that affects the cervid family, which includes deer, elk and moose. It is spread through direct contact with an infected deer’s saliva, urine, blood, feces, antler velvet or carcass. There is no vaccine or treatment for this disease.
Cornicelli said managing CWD is challenging because of how it spreads and persists in the deer population. For example, males are much more likely to have CWD than females; male deer also move the disease farther on the landscape because they typically travel longer distances, especially in the fall. So far this year, all 11 new detections are adult males.

Learn about test results
Hunters can find CWD test results of deer tested through mandatory surveillance, as well as locations of positive test results and statistics, at mndnr.gov/cwdcheck. More information about CWD can be found on the DNR’s CWD page at mndnr.gov/cwd.
While there is no evidence that humans can contract CWD, the Centers for Disease Control recommends testing your deer for CWD. CDC recommends not eating meat from a known positive animal. For more information, please visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/prions/cwd.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Statewide recreation plan ready for public review

MADISON - The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the draft Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan.
The plan provides guidance to public outdoor recreation policy and planning decisions and is used in allocating recreation-related grants administered by the Department of Natural Resources.
This iteration of the SCORP covers the period from 2019 to 2023 provides updated information on Wisconsinites' participation in outdoor recreation, existing opportunities, and future needs. The plan was developed with the assistance of an advisory team comprised of a diversity of representatives.
The DNR will host an open house meeting on Wednesday Dec. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Alumni Room of the Dreyfus University Center on the UW-Stevens Point campus. The Center is located at 1015 Reserve St. Stevens Point.
The SCORP provides guidance for public outdoor recreation policy and planning decisions in the state. The plan also guides the allocation of recreation-related grants administered by the department, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund program.
The plan lays out five overarching goals for outdoor recreation in Wisconsin:
* Boost participation in outdoor recreation.
* Grow partnerships.
* Provide high-quality experiences.
* Improve data to enhance visitor experiences and benefits.
* Enhance funding and financial stability.
People can review the plan and the appendices by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "SCORP."
In addition to the open house, people can also comment on the plan through a public input form on the SCORP page of the DNR website. The form is intended to gather perspectives about the draft SCORP and ideas people may have to improve the document. People can provide input on an online questionnaire, or can download a form and mail it in. Comments, either online or hardcopy, are due by Jan. 4, 2019.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR seeks input on master plan for Red Lake Wildlife Management Area

The public can provide input on a master plan update to the Red Lake Wildlife Management Area.
The master plan guides the overall management goals for the unit’s brushlands, peatlands, wetlands and forests, which provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife species. The plan was last updated in 1980.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking input at bit.ly/RedLakeWMAInput through Wednesday, Dec. 19. The purpose of the online questionnaire is to help generate ideas and identify potential planning issues and areas of concern specific to the WMA.
The DNR will offer a second opportunity for public input next spring after a draft master plan is ready for review.
Red Lake WMA, located in Beltrami and Lake of the Woods counties, includes 324,000 acres of state WMA and contains headwaters of three different river systems and a pristine area of peatlands. Red Lake WMA is one of eight WMAs currently classified as a major unit.
For more information on Red Lake WMA, visit mndnr.gov/wmas.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR