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July 5, 2011

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news releases has been updated with additional information on the environmental assessment that was prepared as part of the master planning process.]

TWO RIVERS, Wis. - The public has an opportunity to review and comment on the draft master plan for the Point Beach State Forest at an upcoming open house meeting. The meeting will provide opportunity to review and comment on future land and recreation management for the forest. Master plans guide management activity on Department of Natural Resource's owned lands and are updated every 15 years.

This meeting will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, at the main lodge at Point Beach State Forest, 9400 County Highway O, Two Rivers.

Established in 1937, the Point Beach State Forest in Manitowoc County consists of more than 3,000 acres of forest and beach, and 6.5 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, with dunes, camping, hunting, hiking, biking, skiing, nature and snowmobile trails.

In addition to recreational values, the property has unique ecological features such as Great Lakes Beach, Dune, and Ridge and Swale natural communities. This ecological diversity creates multiple opportunities for land management and the protection of rare species and natural communities.

Recreation is an extremely important component of the Point Beach State Forest. Recreation on the property supports a range of uses including trail-based activities such as hiking, biking, and skiing; camping; swimming; picnicking; hunting; and other nature-based activities such as nature study and photography. The primary draw is the beach for activities such as swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, canoeing and kayaking.

Throughout the planning process, the public's input served as a planning tool to help identify planning issues and suggestions. Based on public comments, a rapid ecological assessment, a regional and property analysis, and DNR staff input, the master planning team developed the Draft Point Beach State Forest Master Plan and conducted an Environmental Analysis for the property.

Under the draft plan, all existing recreational facilities will be maintained, and a few additions are planned. Several additional camping opportunities are planned, including a walk-in/paddle-in site, additional indoor group camping, and a new, modern campground loop. The primary modification to recreational trails will be the separation of the Ice Age Trail from the groomed ski trail system.

The master plan calls for an expansion to the project boundary for the Point Beach State Forest of 5,944 acres. The expansion area was selected because of its ability to sustain additional ecological, economic, and social value for the property and region. If the boundary expansion were acquired in its entirety, the property would encompass approximately 8,973 acres.

The expansion would provide additional public space for future recreational trail uses and hunting as may be appropriate for the capability of the lands acquired. The area would also be managed for various habitat management objectives including protection of the headwaters of Molash Creek, restoration of hydrology, and restoration of forested areas to provide habitat for migratory birds.

The department determined that this master plan is a Type II Action under ch. NR 150.03, Wis. Adm. Code, and requires an environmental assessment. The actions proposed in the plan are not anticipated to significantly affect the quality of the human environment, would not significantly affect energy usage, and do not involve unresolved conflicts in the use of available resources. The department has made a preliminary determination that the environmental impact process is not required for this master plan.

Anyone can provide comments on the master plan online, by U.S. mail, or during the public meeting. The comment deadline is July 26, 2011. The draft master plan and environmental assessment, an online questionnaire, and related documents are available on the Point Beach State Forest master plan page of the DNR website.

For information or to obtain print copies of documents people can contact: Guy Willman, Point Beach State Forest Superintendent, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 9400 County Highway O, Two Rivers, WI 54241, (920) 794-7480,

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Guy Willman, (920) 794-7480

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 05, 2011

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