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Report of the

Land Management

Steering Committee

September 2010

Commissioner Chris Clark

Georgia Department of Natural Resources

2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SE Suite 1252

Atlanta, GA 30334



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) thanks the following people for their input and support as committee members on this important effort: Lonice Barrett, Governor’s Office; Rex Boner, The Conservation Fund; Bill Bouthillier, Ducks Unlimited; Reggie Dickey, Hunting Fishing Federation; Glenn Dowling and Jerry McCollum, Georgia Wildlife Federation; Andy Fleming, Friends of Georgia State Parks; Tom Gehl, Georgia Municipal Association; Shelly Lakly and Thomas Farmer, The Nature Conservancy; Charlotte Gillis, National Park Service; Bruce Green, Georgia Department of Economic Development; Dr. Gary Green, Warnell School of Forestry; Beda Johnson, Columbia County CVB; Ross King and Beth Bradley, Association County Commissioners of Georgia; Bob Lane, State Representative; Mark McDonald, Georgia Trust Historic Preservation; Ed McBrayer, PATH Foundation; Mike A. Phillips, GeorgiaPower; Georgann Schmalz, Ornithologist; Lynn Smith, State Representative; Chip Pearson , State Senator; Jody Strickland, Georgia Forestry Commission; Helen Preston Tapp, Trust for Public Land; Ross Tolleson, State Senator; Dr. Robert Sargent and Dan Vickers, Georgia Ornithological Society; David Waller, retired wildlife biologist; Will Wingate, The Georgia Conservancy. DNR extends a special thanks to the Georgia Wildlife Federation for providing meeting facilities and hosting “working lunches” throughout the process.

The Department also acknowledges the contributions of internal staff committing their efforts to this initiative: Todd Holbrook, Deputy Commissioner; John Biagi, John Bowers, Dan Forster, Rusty Garrison, Mike Harris, Jon Ambrose, Mark Whitney, Wildlife Resources Division; Steve Friedman, DNR Real Estate; Tim Banks, Becky Kelley, Eric VanDeGenachte, Sally Winchester, and Wally Woods, State Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division.



Executive Summary and Recommendations

of the Steering Committee to the Commissioner
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has encountered dramatic challenges in recent years, including consecutive years of budget cuts (42% since FY2008) in combination with providing for a population that is growing rapidly and diversifying. These challenges call for innovative approaches and reassessing the way business is done.
The Department identified a steering committee to explore potential changes. The 28-person Land Management Steering Committee (LMSC) was composed of representatives from a diverse range of stakeholders and users including other governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporations.
The Commissioner charged the LMSC with the marketing objectives: 1) increasing the number of visitors, 2) increasing the diversity of our visitors, and 3) increasing self-sufficiency. Based these charges, the LMSC identified two tasks: 1) to assess the marketing implications of the wide range of names for DNR lands and 2) to assess the potential of WRD-managed lands to recover costs associated with providing recreational services. The LMSC convened several times to address these issues and produce recommendations which were presented to the public for comment through a series of four public meetings.
On the issue of naming conventions for DNR-managed properties properties managed by the PRHSD will be limited to the following:
State Parks Developed properties with amenities and heavy visitor volumes.

State Historic Sites Interpretive sites or museums with statewide or national significance.
As for WRD-managed properties, the LMSC reviewed several alternatives to meet the objectives outlined by the Commissioner to encourage a greater diversity of users, but ultimately deferred to the public consensus. WRD properties also will limited to two traditional names:
Wildlife Management Area Rural lands with minimal development that primarily provides public hunting and fishing opportunities with multiple outdoor recreation uses allowed when consistent with the primary use.

Public Fishing Area Lakes that are intensively managed to maximize fishing opportunities. Multiple outdoor recreation uses allowed when consistent with the primary use.
On the issue of establishing a fee system for WRD-managed properties fee areas will be designated on select properties and that a pass system be implemented. The “Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass” (GORP) will be issued for both individuals and for small-groups as either a three-day pass or an annual pass. Exempted from paying any fees in designated areas would be those already possessing a WMA license or a three-day fishing license. The GORP will be available for purchase on-line, on-site (where possible) and by phone. The costs of GORPs will be established as follows:
Individual Passes:

$3.00 “3-Day GORP” A single-person pass valid for one-to-three days from date of purchase.

$19.00 “Annual GORP” A single pass valid for one year from date of purchase
Small Group Passes: Sold as vehicle hang-tags for groups up to twelve (12)

$10.00 “3-Day Group GORP” A small-group pass valid for one to three days from date of purchase.

$35.00 “Annual Group GORP” A small-group pass valid for one year from date of purchase.
Depending upon sales channel used (phone or online), a service charge of $2.75 to $4.00 would be added to the cost of the pass. So, for example, a single individual purchasing a ‘three-day’ pass by phone could cost $7.00.


List of Acronyms

DOD U.S. Department of Defense

DNR Georgia Department of Natural Resources

FS U.S. Forest Service

GORP Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass

GRPA Georgia Recreation Property Act

LMSC Land Management Steering Committee

OCGA Official Code of Georgia Annotated

PRHSD Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division

WMA Wildlife Management Area

WRD Wildlife Resources Division

Introduction

In the last several years, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR or Department) has encountered a suite of new challenges including budget cuts in combination with a population that is growing rapidly and is increasingly diverse. These challenges are prompting the Department to be innovative in its approach to informing the public about wild land recreational opportunities and fees associated with the use of Department-managed land.


Steering Committee

An internal staff committee was formed from the two major land-managing divisions in the Department, the Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) and the Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division (PRHSD). A 28-person Land Management Steering Committee (LMSC) was composed of representatives from a diverse range of stakeholders and users of DNR-managed lands including other governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and corporations. A listing of the members and their associated affiliation can be found in Appendix I.


Representation of various stakeholder-types was as follows:


Industry Partner

Mike Phillips


Economic Development

Bruce Green

Beda Johnson

Sen. Chip Pearson


Agency Partners

Beth Bradley

Tom Gehl

Charlotte Gillis

Jody Strickland

Robert Sargent



Sportsmen Interests

Bill Bouthillier

Reggie Dickie

Glenn Dowling

Rep. Bob Lane

Sen. Ross Tolleson

Rep. Lynn Smith

David Waller


Outdoor Recreation

Lonice Barrett

Andy Fleming

Ed McBrayer



Human Dimension Research

Dr. Gary Green


General Conservation

Rex Boner

Thomas Farmer

Shelly Lakly

Mark McDonald

Georgann Schmalz

Helen Tapp

Dan Vickers

Will Wingate

Note: Many committee members represented multiple interests.


The effort started with a charge from the Commissioner which triggered a series of internal meetings to discuss the background, reasonable approaches, and to coordinate, identify and host a steering committee. A series of LMSC meetings were hosted and initial recommendations drafted. These initial recommendations were then shared through a series of public meetings and the results of the public response shared with the LMSC. This report represents the final recommendations presented by the LMSC and approved by the Commissioner.
Should any of the decisions of the Commissioner require changes to law or regulations, proposed draft-regulations or legislative bills would be developed followed by public hearings on the proposed legal changes. The Department will present needed regulatory changes to the Board Natural Resources and needed legislative changes to the Georgia General Assembly.

Commissioner’s Charges

The Commissioner charged the Land Management Steering Committee and support staff with: 1) increasing the number of visitors, 2) increasing the diversity of our visitors, and 3) increasing financial self-sufficiency.


T
Charges of the Commissioner
1) Increase the number of visitors,

2) Increase the diversity of our visitors

3) Increase self-sufficiency.
he objectives were to ensure that citizens are taking advantage of the multi-faceted and abundant benefits afforded by these public lands, to ensure their relevancy to a new population, to ensure that they met the needs of a changing population and to ensure that they would be more economically sustainable.


Meetings of the Steering Committee

The LMSC met on: Friday 30 October 2009, Wednesday 6 January 2010, Thursday 25 February 2010 and Wednesday 1 July 2010



Public Meetings Hosted

Four public meetings were hosted by DNR to provide the public with an opportunity to consider proposed changes relating to the marketing of recreational opportunities on lands owned and managed by the Department. Public meetings were scheduled at on the following dates and locations:




Date

Location

May 17, 2010

Pickens County Chamber of Commerce, 500 Stegall Drive, Jasper

May 18, 2010

Macon State College, 100 College Station Drive, Professional Sciences Building #211, Macon

May 19, 2010

Laura S. Walker State Park, 5653 Laura Walker Road in Shelter #1, Waycross

May 20, 2010

Gwinnett County Parks & Recreation, Shorty Howell Park, 2750 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth

Any participant at a meeting was welcomed to present data, make a statement or comment, or offer a viewpoint or argument, either orally or in writing.



Taskwork Identified

Based on the broad charges outlined by the Commissioner, the LMSC identified two tasks to affect these changes. The first was to assess the marketing consequences of having a wide range of names for existing DNR lands. The second was to assess the potential of WRD-managed lands to recover costs from recreational services.


Name-change for DNR Lands: An Overview

The rationale behind the first of these tasks was based on the idea that, currently, the Department has a wide variety of names for various properties, and that having a wide diversity of names was potentially confusing to the public, conferred limited useful information, and complicated marketing and branding efforts. Moreover, some asserted that the use of terms like “Wildlife Management Area” (WMA) inherently failed to underscore the broad range of recreational opportunities available at these properties. People unfamiliar with our lands might see the title, “Wildlife Management Area” and believe that the property was for exclusive or protected purposes or that they were not necessarily welcomed to visit.


The LMSC developed a series of alternate names to present for public comment. The principles used to guide a new naming system for DNR lands included developing names that:


  • Convey uses, facilities and services available

  • Sets expectations for visitors

  • Simplifies marketing

  • Minimize statutory and regulatory adjustments

  • Acknowledge impact to traditional constituencies.



Proposed naming convention for properties managed by PRHSD:

Currently the PRHSD has four names for its properties which will be condensed to two. The four current names are: 1) State Park, 2) State Historic Park, 3) State Historic Site and 4) State Outdoor Recreation Area. “State Historic Park” originally described large-acreage sites that provided many of the same amenities and services as a State Park which also had a significant historical showcase. “State Outdoor Recreation Areas” was used to describe lands managed by PRHSD that contained minimal facility development and services.


The public, LMSC and staff expressed support for terms like “State Park” and “State Historic Site” and reinforced the idea that they enjoyed a clear understanding from the public and were sufficiently-well branded, even on a national stage. Proposed names for the state parks system area:
State Parks Developed properties with amenities and heavy visitor volumes.

State Historic Sites Interpretive sites or museums with statewide or national significance.


Proposed naming convention for properties managed by WRD:

Currently, WRD has several names for its properties, the four most-common or most-notable being: 1) Wildlife Management Area (WMA), 2) Public Fishing Area (PFA), 3) Natural Area, and 4) Heritage Preserve.


Six naming alternatives were considered in addition to keeping the status quo. The top four names with the most votes would be the ones presented during the public meetings as follows:


Alternate Name

Committee

Rank

State Fish, Wildlife and Recreation Area

1

Conservation Recreation Area

2

Outdoor Recreation Area

3

Wildlife Management Area / Public Fishing Area

4



Public Comments on Naming Conventions: An Overview

The results of the public response is detailed in Appendix V, the most frequent public comments on this issue suggested that:



  1. DNR should stay with the status quo on naming WMAs & PFAs (branded names)

  2. Any name change for WMAs and PFAs should include “hunting” and “fishing”

  3. Other recreational uses should not interfere with hunting on WMAs.

As such, the names of WRD properties will be reduced to two terms:


Wildlife Management Areas Rural lands with minimal development that provides public hunting and fishing opportunities primarily and multiple outdoor recreation uses that do not conflict with the primary use.

Public Fishing Areas Lakes that are intensively managed to maximize fishing opportunities.

Fee Systems on WRD Lands: An Overview

Because PRHSD already has an established fee structure accepted by the public, the LMSC focused on developing fee systems for WRD properties. Only people engaged in hunting and fishing on WRD lands currently are required to pay fees. Hunters pay a $19 annual fee on WMAs; anglers pay $19 for use of PFAs. These are in addition to hunting and fishing licenses. All other recreators pay no fees.


The LMSC considered several possible fee systems. An overview of the respective advantages and disadvantages of various fee systems were acknowledged by the LMSC can be found in Appendix IV. The legal authority to collect fees can be found in O.C.G.A. §§ 12-3-3(b)(7) which provides that DNR has the power “to prescribe, fix, collect, and revise from time to time rates, fees, tolls, and charges for services, facilities, or commodities furnished, including leases, concessions, or subleases of the department’s lands or facilities.”


Challenges to Establishing a Fee System

There were several challenges facing the possible implementation of a fee system on WMA including the following:



  1. Many WMAs are large making the regular collection of fees a serious commitment of time.

Simply driving around some WMAs (which are thousands of acres in size) in the context of a sparse and rural road system would mean traveling a hundred miles to make a single round of collections.

  1. Many WMAs have multiple entrances and even public roads passing-thru making the installation of ‘entrance kiosks’ infeasible.

  2. Staffing is insufficient (most WMAs have a single manager without additional support staff) to manage kiosks and “iron ranger” collection systems.

  3. Many WMAs receive too few visitors to off-set the cost of collecting the fees while others receive tens of thousands of visitors annually.

Annual visitation at Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA has been 5,000 hunters and more than 130,000 recreationalists. There are 2600% as many (non-paying) recreating visitors as there are (paying) hunters. Clearly, there is a need to recover costs associated with providing recreation services – particularly during times of intense budget cuts.

  1. Almost two-thirds of the acres that WRD manages would not be eligible for any fee system.

WRD cannot charge visitors on federal lands (e.g., long-term cooperative agreements from the U.S. Forest Service) and that existing lease contracts with private entities (e.g., short-term leases) do not specifically provide for recreation services nor the collection of fees onsite. These leases account for roughly two-thirds of all the acres that WRD manages. Therefore, only areas that are state-owned are eligible for the collection of fees and only about one-third of one million-plus acres that WRD manages is state owned. More information in Appendices VI and X.

Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass

Access to designated fee areas on WRD-managed properties will require the purchase of a “Georgia Outdoor Recreation Pass” (GORP). Exempted from having to pay this fee are those already possessing a WMA license or a three-day fishing license.


GORP offers options for a “per person” pass and a small-group pass.
The GORP will be available for purchase by phone, on-line, and in some cases, available on-site through the use of ‘iron rangers’ or other delivery systems.
The cost of the GORP is presented below:
Individual Passes:

$3.00 “3-Day GORP” A single-person pass valid for one-to-three days from date of purchase.

$19.00 “Annual GORP” A single pass valid for one year from date of purchase
Small Group Passes: Sold as vehicle hang-tags for groups up to 12.

$10.00 “3-Day Group GORP” A small-group pass valid for one to three days from date of purchase.

$35.00 “Annual Group GORP” A small-group pass valid for one year from date of purchase.
GORP Service Fees

Depending upon sales channel used (phone or online), a service charge of $2.75 to $4.00 would be added to the cost of the pass. So, for example, a single individual purchasing a ‘three-day’ pass by phone could cost $7.00.


Implementation Steps

Action

Date

Bringing to Board of Natural Resources

December 2010

Report Approval

December 2010

Public Meetings

January 2011

Regulation Proposal

March 2011

Public Hearing on Regulations

April 2011

Fee Structure Implementation

July 2011


Proposed Designated Fee Areas on WRD Properties

As of 101005



Region 1

Site

Facilities / Areas

Crockford-Pigeon Mountain WMA

Entire area

J.L. Lester WMA

Entire area

Rich Mountain WMA

Cartecay Tract Canoe Launch

Zahnd Natural Area

Camping and Access Trail


Region 2

Site

Facilities / Areas

Dawson Forest WMA

North of GA Hwy 53

Wilson Shoals WMA

Shooting Range


Region 3

Site

Facilities / Areas

McDuffie PFA

Entire Area

Oconee WMA

Rock Hawk Trails

Tuckahoe WMA

Campground and Boat Ramps

Walton WMA

Shooting Ranges

Yuchi WMA

Shooting Range


Region 4

Site

Facilities / Areas

Big Lazer WMA

Shooting Range & PFA

Clybel WMA

Entire area including Marbin PFA, but excluding Charlie Elliott WC

Ocmulgee WMA

Shooting Range


Region 5

Site

Facilities / Areas

Chickasawhatchee WMA

Shooting Range

Hannahatchee WMA

Shooting Range

Mayhaw WMA

Shooting Range

Silver Lake WMA

Riding Trails Access


Region 6

Site

Facilities / Areas

Beaverdam WMA

Shooting Range

Big Hammock WAM

Shooting Range

Bullard Creek WMA

Shooting Range

Dixon Memorial WMA

Shooting Range

Dodge County PFA

Entire Area

Evans County PFA

Entire Area

Hugh M.Gillis PFA

Entire Area

Paradise PFA

Entire Area


Region 7

Site

Facilities / Areas

Altamaha WMA

Refuge Trail and MARSH Project

Clayhole Swamp WMA

Pond and Boathouse

Richmond Hill WMA

Shooting Range


Appendices

APPENDIX I:
MEMBERSHIP OF THE

LAND MANAGEMENT STEERING COMMITTEE


Lonice C. Barrett

Governor’s Office


Rex Boner

The Conservation Fund


Bill Bouthillier

Ducks Unlimited, Inc


Reggie Dickey

Hunting Fishing Federation


Glenn Dowling

Georgia Wildlife Federation


Andy Fleming

Friends of Georgia State Parks


Tom Gehl

Georgia Municipal Association


Thomas Farmer

The Nature Conservancy


Charlotte Gillis

National Park Service


Bruce Green

Georgia Department of

Economic Development
Dr. Gary Green

UGA - Warnell School of Forestry


Beda Johnson

Columbia County CVB


Beth Bradley

Association County

Commissioners of Georgia
Bob Lane

State Representative



Shelly Lakly

The Nature Conservancy


Mark McDonald

Georgia Trust

Historic Preservation
Ed McBrayer

PATH Foundation


Mike A. Phillips

GeorgiaPower


Georgann Schmalz

Ornithologist


Lynn Smith

State Representative


Chip Pearson

State Senator


Dr. Robert Sargent

Georgia Ornithological Society


Jody Strickland

Georgia Forestry Commission


Helen Preston Tapp

Trust for Public Land


Ross Tolleson

State Senator


Dan Vickers

Georgia Ornithological Society


David Waller

Retired wildlife biologist


Will Wingate

The Georgia Conservancy





APPENDIX I, continued
Staff Supporting the

Land Management Steering Committee



Commissioner’s Office

Steve Friedman

Chief, Real Estate


Todd Holbrook

Deputy Commissioner



Parks, Recreation & Historic Sites Division

Tim Banks

Asst Chief of Operations


Becky Kelley

Director
Eric VanDeGenachte

Special Projects Manager
Sally Winchester

Chief of Marketing


Wally Woods

Chief of Operations





Wildlife Resources Division

Jon Ambrose

Asst. Chief, Nongame Conservation


John Biagi

Chief, Fisheries Management


John Bowers

Asst. Chief, Fisheries Management


Dan Forster

Director
Rusty Garrison

Asst. Chief, Game Management
Mike Harris

Chief, Nongame Conservation


Mark Whitney

Chief, Game Management






APPENDIX II - Fee Options Presented at Public Meeting
Option #1 Parking Pass (as presented at the Public Meetings)

While not recommended by the LMSC, a description of this option is provided here for completeness. All visitors using designated ‘fee areas’ would be required to purchase a parking pass for their vehicle if they did not already posses a WMA license or a “three-day” fishing license. The recommended cost would be $5 for a three-day pass and $19 for an annual-pass. These passes would be made available thru existing hunting/fishing license vendors, as well as by phone and internet Depending upon sales channel used, a service charge of $2.75 to $4.00 would be added to the cost of the pass. For visitors already possessing a WMA license or “three-day” fishing license, they could have free access to the ‘fee areas’ after displaying a portion of their pass on the dashboard (Note that the way existing licenses are printed-out would have to be modified to make this possible).


From the perspective of the LMSC, some of the advantages were that this approach:

  1. Used a system similar that employed by PRHSD and their “ParkPass”

  2. Would not discourage larger families or groups from using the area since the fee was per-vehicle

  3. Could use existing license sales system to provide the pass.

Some of the disadvantages acknowledged by the LMSC included:



  1. This approach would not be expected to fully recoup costs for all individuals on an area.

  2. The requirement of visitors to either purchase the ticket online before arriving onsite, calling by way of a cell phone while onsite (and hoping reception is good), the need to have a credit card or debit card to complete the purchase or the need to travel to license vendor.

  3. There was no visible confirmation of payment in those cases when passes were purchased by phone. All visitors would have to keep track of a 16-character code representing the pass for their vehicle.


Option #2 Individual Pass (as presented at the Public Meetings)

While not recommended by the LMSC, a description of this option is provided here for completeness. All visitors accessing or using designated ‘fee areas’ would be required to purchase an entrance pass if they did not already posses a WMA license or a “three-day” fishing license. The recommended cost would be $3 for a three-day pass and $12 for an annual-pass. These passes would be made available thru existing hunting/fishing license vendors, as well as by phone and internet and depending upon sales channel used, a service charge of $2.75 to $4.00 would be added to the cost of the pass. For visitors already possessing on their person a WMA license or “three-day” fishing license, they could have free access to the ‘fee areas.’


From the perspective of the LMSC, some of the advantages were that this approach:

  1. Uses a system similar to that employed for hunting and fishing licenses

  2. Better able to recover costs from all recreators of ‘fee areas’

  3. Process would capture contact information for all individuals that could be used for marketing purposes

Some of the disadvantages acknowledged by the LMSC included:



  1. This approach could discourage larger families or groups from using the area due to cost constraints

  2. The requirement of visitors to either purchase the ticket online before arriving onsite, calling by way of a cell phone while onsite (and hoping reception is good), the need to have a credit card or debit card to complete the purchase or the need to travel to license vendor.

  3. There was no visible confirmation of payment in those cases when passes were purchased by phone. All visitors would have to keep track of a 16-character code representing the pass for their vehicle.



Public Comments on Fee Structure: An Overview

The results of the public response is detailed in Appendix V. but we will share here that the most frequent public comments on this issue suggested that:



  1. It was most-appropriate to charge a fee to the individual, not to a car-load of people

  2. Fees should be set to ensure fairness across user groups

  3. Fees collected for use of WMAs should be returned to WRD


APPENDIX : III

Nomenclature Used by Other State Agencies Managing Wildlife and Parks


State

Names of Properties

Alabama

State Parks, Public Fishing Lakes, Wildlife Management Areas, Historical Park

Alaska

Game Management Unit, Management Area, State Game Refuge, State Park, State Recreation Area, Campground and Dayuse Area, Historical Park, Marine Park, Historical Site, etc.

Arizona

For wildlife – unknown, State Park, State Historic Park, Recreation Area, State Natural Area,

Arkansas

Wildlife Management Area, Special Use Area, Conservation Area, Natural Area,

California

Wildlife Areas, Ecological Reserves, Marine Reserve, State Park, State Historic Park, State Recreation Area, State Beach, State Historic Monument, State Vehicular Recreation Area, State Natural Reserve,

Colorado

State Park, State Forest, State Wildlife Area, State Trust Lands,

Connecticut

Wildlife Management Area, State Forest, State Park,

Delaware

State Parks, State Fish and Wildlife Areas

Florida

Wildlife Management Area, Wildlife and Environmental Area, Mitigation Park, State Park, Historic State Park, Archaeological State Park, Preserve State Park, Botanical State Park, Geological State Park, Cultural State Park, State Recreation Area, Wildlife State Park, Coral Reef State Park,

Hawaii

State Park, State Recreation Area, State Historic Park, State Monument, State Wayside (scenic highway), State Underwater Park, State Forest, Natural Area Reserve,

Idaho

Historic Area, State Park, Big Game Management Units, Wildlife Management Areas, Wilderness Areas,

Illinois

Fish and Wildlife Area, State Park, State Recreation Area, State Natural Area, State Memorial, State Forest, State Trail, Public Hunting Areas, Conservation Area, Nature Preserve, Forest Preserve,

Indiana

State Park, State Reservoir, Fish and Wildlife Area, Wetland Conservation Area, Resource Area, State Forest, State Recreation Area, Wildlife Management Area,

Iowa

State Park, State Recreation Area, State (Historic) Preserve, State Forest, Wildlife Management Areas, Wildlife Refuges,

Kansas

Public Wildlife Areas, State Fishing Lake, State Park

Kentucky

State Historic Park, State Recreation Park, State Resort Park, Wildlife Management Area, State Forest, State Natural Area,

Louisiana

State Park, State Historic Site, Conservation Corridor, Wildlife Management Area, Preserve, State Forest,

Maine

Public Reserved Lands, State Parks, State Historic Sites, State Multi-Use Trail, Wildlife Management Area, Fish Hatchery, Wildlife Park,

Maryland

Wildlife Management Area, Cooperative Wildlife Management Areas, Natural Environment Areas, Natural Resources Management Areas, State Forest, State Park,

Massachusetts

State Park, State Trial, State Forest, State Reservation, Monument, Recreation Area, Heritage State Park, River Trail, Shore Reservation, Wildlife Conservation Easement, Sanctuary

Michigan

State Park, State Forest, State Recreation Area, Scenic Site, Historic State Park, State Game Area, Wildlife Management Area, Wildlife Research Area,

Minnesota

State Recreation Area, State Park, Forest Legacy Conservation Areas, Wildlife Management Areas, State Forests, Scientific and Natural Area,

Mississippi

Wildlife Management Area, State Park, State Golf Courses,

Missouri

Conservation Area, Conservation Service Area, Natural Area, State Historic Site, State Park

Montana

State Park, Recreation Corridor, Marine Trail, Fish Hatcheries, Fishing Access Site, Wildlife Management Area,

Nebraska

Wildlife Management Area, State Historic Park, State Recreation Area, State Park

Nevada

State Park, State Historic Park, State Recreation Area

New Hampshire

Wildlife Management Area, State Parks, State Forests, State Historic Sites, State Beach

New Jersey

State Park, State Forest, State Recreation Area, State Marina, State Recreation Area, State Golf Course,

New Mexico

State Park, Waterfowl Area, Fishing Easement, Wildlife Area, State Hatchery, State Wildlife and Fishing Area, Conservation Area,

New York

Forest Preserve, State Forest, Wildlife Management Areas, Conservation Easements, State Historic Park, State Park, State Marine Park, State Recreation Area, State Golf Course, State Park Preserve

North Carolina

State Park, State Recreation Area, State Natural Area,

North Dakota

State Park, State Recreation Area (~and Park), Wildlife Management Area,

Ohio

State Park, State Wildlife Area,

Oklahoma

Wildlife Management Area, Public (Fishing and) Hunting Area, State Park, Nature Preserve, Resort Park,

Oregon

State Heritage Site, State Scenic Corridor, State Park, State Wayside, State Recreation Site, State Natural Area, State Scenic Viewpoint, State Trail, Wildlife Area, Fish Hatcheries, Travel Management Area

Pennsylvania

State Park (Natural Area), Conservation Area, Environmental Education Center, Preserve, Game Land

Rhode Island

Wildlife Management Area, State Park, State Campground, State Beach, Nature Preserve,

South Carolina

Bird Sanctuary, Boat Ramp, Fish Hatchery, Heritage Preserve, Scenic River, Wildlife Management Areas, State Natural Area, State Park, State Historic Site, State Recreation Area, Field Trial Area,

South Dakota

Recreation Area, State Park, State Trail, State Historic Site, Nature Area, Game Production Areas, Refuge Area, Lease Area, Mitigation Area, Water Access Area,

Tennessee

Public Hunting Area, Wildlife Management Area, (Waterfowl) Refuge, State Natural Area, State Park, State Natural Area, State Historic Park, Archaeological Park,

Texas

State Park, State Historic Park, State Natural Area, State Trailway, Wildlife Management Area,

Utah

Hunt Boundary, Cooperative Wildlife Management Unit, Migratory Bird Refuge, State Park Museum, State Park, Recreation Area, State Marina, OHV Park,

Vermont

State Park, Wildlife Management Area (~ Unit), Fishing Access Areas,

Virginia

Wildlife Management Area, Public Access Lands for Sportsmen, State Forest, State Park, Natural Area Preserves

Washington

State Park, Recreation Area, Wildlife Area, Water Access Area, Game Management Unit

West Virginia

Wildlife Management Area, Fishing Access Site, State Forest, State Park, State Resort Parks, State Trail

Wisconsin

State Park, State Forest, State Wildlife Area, State Trail, State Natural Area, State Riverway, Recreation Area, Public Hunting Ground, Fishery Area, Extensive Wildlife Habitat Area

Wyoming

Hunter Management Area, Wildlife Habitat Management Area, State Hatchery, Float Access Areas, Public Access Areas, State Park, State Historic Site, State Trail

APPENDIX IV:

Advantages and Disadvantages of

Various Fee Collection Approaches
Parking Fee

Advantages: DNR Board currently has this authority; Department maintains liability protection under Recreational Properties Act; WRD has flexibility to designate areas. These could be parking lots or entire WMAs. Criteria for designation could be flexible and funds would be classified as park receipts and be retained for use within WRD budget; would not be too costly for families in one vehicle.
Disadvantages: Money would have to be collected from self-serve fee structures if used; staff would be responsible for handling funds; a system to identify vehicles driven by licensed hunter or anglers would need to be developed; confusion as to which WMAs or areas on WMAs require parking fees will occur.
Require All Users to Purchase a Hunting or Fishing License

Advantages: Department may be able to count these sales toward Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration certification; Mechanism is currently in place for sale of these licenses; licenses are available at different prices and are valid for three (3) or three hundred and sixty-five (365) days.
Disadvantages: Unclear as to whether the Department can require purchase of a hunting or fishing license for this purpose; all members of a family would be required to purchase a license, with some exceptions such as under sixteen (16) years of age; fees are directed to the state general fund with no assurance of coming back to WRD; may negate liability protection under Recreational Properties Act.
Create a Habitat Conservation Stamp

Advantages: DNR Board currently has this authority; may maintain the Department’s liability protection if sold as a remediation fee for a visitor’s impact or footprint to the area; may be allowed by the U.S. Forest Service if sold as same; price may be set from zero dollars to nineteen dollars ($0-$19); could be sold through current licensing system.
Disadvantages: Assessed to all users and may be cost-prohibitive for families unless age provisions are used; may not maintain Department’s liability protection.
Require All Users to Purchase a WMA License

Advantages: DNR Board has this authority; WMA License already in place and available through current licensing system; does not call into question license certification numbers because we do not count these for certification.
Disadvantages: WMA Licenses are nineteen dollars ($19) and currently required of individuals sixteen (16) or older. This could be cost-prohibitive for many users, especially families; would wave DNRs liability protection under the Recreational Properties Act.

APPENDIX V

How Land Tenure Affects WRD’s ability to Collect Fees
WRD welcomes use by all Georgians, but has only ever charged fees to hunters in the form of a nineteen-dollar ($19) WMA License. The increasing demand by recreational users has required increasing levels of stewardship and increased cost. Hence, the need to recover the costs associated with this stewardship. The following information presents some the issues and challenges associated with establishing a fee-based system.
Ownership Effects on Charging Fees

WRD manages property under different types of ownership tenure. Some areas are owned by the State of Georgia, by federal agencies, counties, and private landowners (individuals or corporations). WRD has varying levels of management authority over these areas depending upon the means of ownership.


Federal Lands

WRD-manages areas owned by the federal government, including the United States Forest Service (FS) National Forest lands, United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) lands and Department of Defense (DOD) lands.


United States Forest Service – WRD manages about 379,000 acres of FS land under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). FS regulations allow concessionaires to charge fees for specific amenities such as campgrounds, horseback riding opportunities and others. However, regulations do not provide for general user fees. The sole exception is for hunting and fishing opportunity. This exception allows DNR to charge a WMA License fee to FS WMA users. Also, the exception regarding hunting and fishing on FS lands pertains to WMAs and open FS land. FS Supervisor’s Office personnel indicate that they would be open to discussing the option of WRD charging for hunting and fishing forest wide should we choose to pursue that option.
United States Army Corps of Engineers – WRD manages about 79,000 acres of Corps land. The Mobile District office informed us that our current agreement to operate WMAs on Corps land only includes recreational activities associated with hunting and fishing. We have been told that our agreement could be changed to include other activities and that it is possible to act as a concessionaire and charge other recreational users a fee. However, this would have to be approved by the District Office and currently has not been discussed at that level.
Department of Defense – WRD manages about 5,874 acres of DOD lands under a License Agreement with Moody Air Force Base. The License Agreement is specific regarding WRD’s ability to manage for wildlife and to charge for hunting and fishing privileges through the WMA License. There is no mention of other recreational uses in the Agreement.
FS regulations prohibit general user fees and are specific regarding which amenities can be assessed a fee. In addition, FS has decided that all such charges will either be collected by them or handled by a concessionaire who has been selected through their bid process.
Corps lands are subject to different regulations than FS lands and it is possible for WRD to secure authority to assess other user fees through changing our current concessionaire’s agreement to include this authority. The subject has yet to be discussed with DOD and WRD’s options are uncertain on their lands.

Private Lands

WRD manages about 212,000 acres of private and county lands. All such lands are leased or under conservation easement. Leases are either annual and landowners are paid a per acre fee or long-term, no-cost leases. Whether leases are annual or long-term, they currently are written to give WRD authority over managing wildlife, habitats and hunting and fishing recreational opportunities. The same is true for land under conservation easement. WRD does not have authority over other recreational opportunities or users under these agreements. Since WRD currently has no authority to charge for other recreational uses on private lands, current lease agreements with private landowners would need to be modified to include management authority over other recreational uses for WRD to access a user fee on these lands. Obtaining this authority could affect lease prices.



APPENDIX VI: SUMMARY OF PUBLIC COMMENTS

Lands Classification & User Fees (Through June 7, 2010)


A total of 42 persons attended all public meetings, and 42 submitted written comments. Participants provided 180 comments which we grouped by topic and enumerated as follows:

LANDS NAMING CONVENTION

Comment

No.

Supports status quo on naming convention for WMAs & PFAs

24

Any name change for WMAs and PFAs should include “Hunting” and “Fishing”

11

Naming conventions should reflect primary use of area

2

Naming conventions should be consistent

2

Supports simpler naming conventions

1

Supports “State, Fish, Wildlife & Recreation Area”

1

Consider “State Hunting, Fishing & Wildlife Recreation Area”

1

Consider “Georgia Conservation and Recreation Area”

1

Consider “Fish & Wildlife Management Areas”

1

Consider “Natural Resources Conservation Area”

1



USER FEES

Comment

No.

Supports charging fee to the individual

34

WMA user fees should be fair and equitable

16

Fees collected for use of WMAs should be returned to WRD

9

Supports fee charge per vehicle

5

Supports charging a fee

4

Consider a dual pass that covers State Parks and WMAs

3

Supports charging fee to users 65 years of age and older

3

Opposes charging a fee

3

Consider providing a Family WMA license/pass

2

Require fee for any use of WMA

1

Consider changing WMA license to a Pass

1

Consider using “iron rangers” or “honor system”

1

Consider 1-day pass over a 3-day pass

1

Charge non-residents a higher fee

1

Provide annual and daily fee options

1

Consider a fee option that addresses commercial use of WMAs by recreational vendors

1
OTHER

Comment

No.

Other recreational uses should not interfere with hunting on WMAs

16

Regulate other activities to minimize interference with hunting

7

Supports additional recreational use of WMAs but traditional use should be priority

5

Concerned about fiscal impact of name changes and signage

5

Educational efforts for non-hunters important to minimize conflicts with hunting

4

Opposes expanding recreational opportunity on WMAs

3

Recreational activities on WMAs should be low impact

1

Provide more hiking, biking, and horse trails

1

Concerned that public notice was not provided far enough in advance of meetings

1

Consider extending public comment deadline

1

Consider discounted fee for seniors, veterans & disabled

1

Eliminate daily use fee at State Parks

1

Consider including signage for each area that denotes funding sources

1

Input from surveys or “blanket mechanisms” should not receive same weight as individual responses

1

Develop literature that provides more detailed descriptions of WMAs and activities that occur

1


Additionally, the Department received 1,517 blanket e-mails regarding the naming convention for WRD lands and the charging of a fee to “non-consumptive users.” These blanket emails were generated from an online poll developed by Georgia Outdoor News. Due to the voluminous nature and the administrative limitations on tallying each and every e-mail, a random sample of 356 from each issue was evaluated:
Naming Convention (n=356; CI=95%; SE=4.6%):

  • No Change; Remain known as WMAs & PFAs - (96.1%)

  • Prefer “State Fish, Wildlife, & Recreation Area” – (3.4%)

  • Don’t Care – (0.2%)

  • Other – (0.2%)


Charging Fees (n=356; CI=95%; SE=4.6%):

  • Charge all users the same amount for use of WRD-managed lands – (76.4%)

  • No change to current system where only sportsmen pay – (17.4%)

  • Charge by vehicle for use of some areas – (2.0%)

  • Charge by individual for use of some areas – (1.0%)

  • Other – (3.4%)


APPENDIX VII

DNR-Managed Properties

In terms of acres and number of sites, WRD manages more properties than PRHSD. WRD-manages 326 sites totaling about 1,005,131 acres. By comparison, there are 64 PRHSD-managed units totaling 91,573 acres. Presented below is a map depicting all DNR managed properties (i.e., owned, leased, eased, etc. by either WRD or PRHSD).


APPENDIX VIII - DNR Welcome Kit


For many years, PRSHD has produced an annual “Parks Guide” denoting a map of all state parks and the amenities and accommodations each provided. WRD did something similar in their annual Hunting Regulations Guide and Fishing Regulations Guide. These were perfectly-fine approaches to cater to existing target constituencies, but this strategy also contributed to the ‘silo’ effect between the two divisions and their respective audiences.
To improve coordination between the two Divisions, to encourage a ‘single, familiar brand’ for the public to relate to for all DNR-managed lands and to encourage cross-marketing between visitors to WMAs and Parks, the Department sought to produce a document that depicted all DNR-managed lands with a listing of amenities they provide.
This large map (#’x#’?) depicts both WRD and PRHSD-properties and folds-down to the size of greeting-card. Because this map was funded thru the sale of advertisements the map was produced at no cost to the Department.
In accomplishing this intensive task, special thanks go out to Robin Patterson-Hill, WRD Communications Director, Eric VanDeGenachte, PRHSD Special Projects Manager, and Sally Winchester, PRHSD Marketing Director.





APPENDIX VIII - PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PLAN
Proposed regulations relating to charging “non-consumptive” users for use of designated areas on lands managed by the Wildlife Resources Division are being considered. These may include, but are not limited to, creation of daily and annual fee systems for use of designated sites on Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), Natural Areas (NAs), Public Fishing Areas (PFAs) and Federal Wildlife Areas. Public input is an important component of the decision making process. The extensive plan for public participation includes an advisory committee, public meetings, public hearings, and the submission of written, verbal and electronic comments.
An advisory committee of comprised of stakeholders with knowledge and experience in managing recreational users and developing fee systems was created. This committee was used to facilitate the development of potential fee systems to address the issue of charging “non-consumptive” users, other than hunters & anglers, a fee for using WRD-managed properties.
Two series of public meetings comprising a total of twelve (12) meetings will be scheduled to provide the public an opportunity to submit input (schedule attached). The first series of four (4) public meetings will be held in the spring of 2010 to gather input regarding preferred fee systems. A second series of eight (8) meetings will be held in conjunction with public meetings on hunting regulations. In addition, input may be submitted to the Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) by mail, telephone or electronically. The primary methods for informing the general public, stakeholders, and interested parties of the public meetings include publication on the WRD website, dissemination through WRD social media sites, publication in the annual Georgia Hunting Seasons and Regulations guide, news releases, and a mailing to interested persons. All methods include information regarding the purpose of the meetings and the times, dates, and places where the meetings are to be held. News releases are provided to media outlets and WRD staff in all regions of the state, who are encouraged to publicize the public meetings.
After gathering input from the public, WRD staff will brief the Board of Natural Resources on the proposed regulations in draft form. The proposed rules will then be publicly noticed as required under the Administrative Procedures Act, O.C.G.A. § 50-3-4. At least 30 days prior to Board action, the public notice will be forwarded to legislative counsel and mailed to all persons who have requested in writing that they be placed on the mailing list and have tendered the actual cost of such mailing. All interested persons will be given an opportunity to submit written comments to WRD by mail or electronically. In addition, members of the general public will have an opportunity to comment on these proposed regulations at no less than three (3) scheduled public hearings (Table 1). Following the hearing, the Board of Natural Resources will consider the proposed rules and any comments received in the hearing process on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. at 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE, Suite 1252, Atlanta, Ga.

Tentative Schedule for Public Participation





Description of Action

Action

Date(s)

Establish advisory committee

9/15/09

Committee meeting

10/30/09

Committee meeting

1/06/10

Committee meeting

6/28/10

Post public meetings’ notice on website

5/3/10

News release announcing public meetings mailed out

5/5/2010

Four public meetings conducted to accept public input

5/17-20/10

Post public meetings’ notice on WRD website

5/21/10

News release announcing public meetings mailed out

12/10/10

Eight public meetings conducted to accept public input

1/3-7/11

Deadline for submitting written statements on development of proposed regulations

1/14/11

Present proposed regulations to Board’s Wildlife Resources’ Committee

3/22/11

APA notice mailed to persons on a mailing list, posted on website and mailed to legislative counsel

3/25/11

Three public hearings conducted on approved draft of regulations

4/13-20/11

Final approval of regulations by Board of Natural Resources

5/25/11

* Some dates subject to change
APPENDIX IX: Tentative Schedule for Future Public Meetings
All Meetings Begin at 7 PM


Region

Date

Location

1

Tuesday

January 4, 2011


The Colonnade Center

264Catoosa Circle

Ringgold


1*

Thursday

January 6, 2011



Smyrna Community Center -- Banquet Hall

200 Village Green Circle


Smyrna


2

Thursday

January 6, 2011



Franklin Springs City Hall

2135 East Main Street

Franklin Springs


3

Tuesday

January 4, 2011

Augusta Technical College

388 Tech Drive NW, Auditorium

Thomson


4

Wednesday

January 5, 2011



Georgia Forestry Commission Headquarters

Conference Room

Macon


5

Monday

January 3, 2011



Albany Technical College

Kirkland Conference Center, Building F

1704 South Slappey Boulevard

Albany


6

Monday

January 3, 2011


Little Ocmulgee State Park


80 Live Oak Trail

Helena


7

Wednesday

January 5, 2011



College of Coastal Georgia, Auditorium

3700 Altama Avenue



Brunswick

* Metro Meeting




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