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Commissioners vote against accepting grant award

From Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

-- Commissioners voted to not accept a $2.4 million Environmental Trust Fund grant award intended to be used to purchase a portion of Snake Falls Ranch. They met Oct. 27 at Fort Robinson State Park.

Game and Parks had hoped to collaborate with the Snake Falls Sportsmen's Club to purchase a portion of the land along the Snake River in Cherry County to allow limited public access to the prized trout water, as well as Snake Falls. However, by Oct. 27, the Snake Falls Sportsmen's Club had not assured Game and Parks it would join the agency in the purchase.

In other business, Commissioners extended the 2012 fall turkey hunting season by one month, moving the closing date from Dec. 31, 2012, to Jan. 31, 2013. They also closed the bighorn sheep season for 2012.

Deb Cottier of Chadron, executive director of the Nebraska Northwest Development Corporation, addressed the Commissioners about Chadron's annual wild turkey hunt. She said it was an important event to the Chadron area's economy. The hunt will be moved back a week next fall.

The Commissioners also discussed emerging regulations regarding duck season zones, an ongoing pheasant research study in southwest Nebraska and heard an update on the status of the state's elk, pronghorn antelope and deer herds.

In other action, the Commissioners adopted an agency operational plan, "Focusing on the Future: A Plan for Nebraska's Fish, Wildlife and Parkland Resources." They also changed fees to certain lodging, camping and related visitor services at certain state parks, state recreation areas and state historical parks for 2012.

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