By PATTY RAMUS
News Staff Writer
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources now has funding to pursue the second phase of planning for Negwegon State Park, Rockport and Thompson's Harbor State Park.
The advisory committee for Negwegon, Rockport and Thompson's Harbor received the news of the funding during its meeting Tuesday morning. Paul Curtis, DNR park management plan administrator who was on a conference call for the meeting, said the department got notification it will receive a $10,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for the planning.
"Then we match that with funding and labor and staff," he said. "We did get two projects funded. NRTH is fully funded for phase two."
The first phase of planning which involved management zone plans for the three areas received final DNR approval in October 2008. The entire planning process took more than a year to complete.
The DEQ grant is for one year and the grant period ends on Sept. 30. The department could be allowed an extension which would end on Sept. 30, 2010. The second phase planning will not be as extensive of a process as the management plans, Curtis said.
"I think it'll be a year or less," he said of a time frame for planning completion.
The DNR does not yet have a consulting firm on board and is in the process of securing one. Planning expected to start in May or June. The advisory committee may collaborate with the original planning team during the process.
In other business:
Bruce said the group is about a year behind in the process because its consultant Christopher Grobbel ran into some delays. There are documents regarding the parks the club is preparing to submit to the DNR. During discussion about the proposal, committee members raised concerns about a designation's effect on pastimes including snowmobiling or scuba diving because specific activities are prohibited in natural areas.
The committee decided not to take action on the item, after Curtis advised the group this could possibly be incorporated into the phase two planning for the three areas.
Patty Ramus can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5687.