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Commissioners Approve Bonus Points for Elk Permits

LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners approved a bonus point system for general bull elk permits at their meeting Jan. 17 in Lincoln.

The system will give people who have applied for a bull elk permit and been unsuccessful one or more years a better chance of drawing a permit. Beginning in 2014, a person will receive a bonus point each time he or she applies for but does not receive a permit. In subsequent years, applicants will get an additional entry into the draw for each bonus point accrued. A preference point system is used for landowner elk permits.

In other action, the commissioners named the new education complex at Lincoln’s Boosalis Park the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Outdoor Education Center. The complex, under construction at 44th and Superior streets, will include facilities for many shooting disciplines, as well as classrooms and offices. The complex is expected to open in the spring.

The commissioners also approved a fee increase for camping and rentals at state park areas. The base camping and electrical hookup fees each increased by $1. Also, a rate range of $50 to $150 was established for vendor booths at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park (SP). A rental fee of $300 per night was established for three six-bedroom cabins under construction at Mahoney SP.

Four outdoor trail projects received commissioner approval for federal funding through the Recreational Trail Program. They are:

— City of Auburn, $250,000 to build a 4,500-foot long trail around the city recreation complex;

— City of Lincoln, $200,582 to renovate a 1,050-foot long section of the Billy Wolff Trail;

— City of Beatrice, $250,000 to build an extension of the Homestead Trail that will include 1,500-foot long concrete and 15,730-foot long limestone sections; and

— Village of Dannebrog, $103,892 to convert a 3,000-foot long asphalt trail to concrete.

The commissioners also:

— created a Commission order for rules regarding season dates, bag limits, hunting zones and conservation orders for coots, ducks, geese and crow;

— amended regulations to allow Game and Parks to manage foot access on wildlife management areas;

— amended regulations to prohibit vending of goods and services, such as guiding and outfitting, on lands controlled for public access, such as Open Fields and Waters program lands.

— approved and adopted the Fort Robinson Management Plan, which details uses, resources, challenges and management recommendations for the state park; and

— elected the following board officers: Lynn Berggren of Broken Bow, chairman; Jerrod Burke of Curtis, vice chairman; and Dr. Kent Forney of Lincoln, second vice chairman. The offices became effective following the meeting.

Game and Parks’ Fisheries staff was recognized by the Fisheries Administration Section (FAS) of the American Fisheries Society for incorporating fish and angler-friendly features into new reservoirs being constructed by Natural Resources Districts. The FAS annually selects the nation’s outstanding Sport Fish Restoration Program-funded projects in three categories: Management, Research, and Education, with Nebraska’s New Reservoir Construction Program winning in the Management category.

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