The Missouri Department of Conservation recently introduced plans to include public input on designated conservation areas around the state. The new process is meant to help hikers, fishers and hunters express what they like and dislike regarding the planning and maintenance of the areas.
The department will put its intended plans on its website for citizens to look over and comment on. Public Involvement Coordinator for the department Amy Buechler says using the internet will help keep the public informed and a part of the conversation.
“We’ve always had one-on-one contact with people who use our areas, and people are out working around these areas and come in contact with people every day, but just to make a more concerted effort to get this information out statewide and have it available for people to review.” Buechler said.
Buechler also says the management plans affect 11 different areas along the Missouri river.
The new process was integrated through new policies to help better communicate where the funds and services are allocated for public areas. Outreach and education regional officer A.J. Hendershott says suggestions for improvements aren’t the only thing the department expects to hear from residents.
“I think the main thing is, if people have input on how public land is managed, this is their opportunity to engage," Hendershott said. "It’s not just 'I want to see something change,' it might be 'I like what I’m seeing.'"
The department oversees almost 1 million public acres. Each conservation area plan will be online to review for one month before action is taken.