Ag&F Commission Meeting In Payson

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The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is meeting today, June 14, and tomorrow, Saturday, June 15, at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino to discuss and possibly make decisions on issues that will greatly affect the state’s wildlife and outdoorsmen.

Today, a “Payson and Mogollon Rim Community” forum is under way to discuss such issues as Mogollon stream restoration projects, bear safety, SR 260 wildlife crosswalks, the Tonto National Forest travel management plan and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in Mazatzal and Hellsgate areas.

Another of the topics, the “Mogollon Rim area Chiricahua Leopard Frog Project” might become the most controversial because there are those locally who oppose it.

The frog, a grassland and mountain species, prefers pond and marshy habitats and was once extremely abundant, but due to habitat loss, disease and invasive species impacts, the Chiricahua leopard frog is federally listed as threatened.

There are those locally, however, who have expressed their concerns about the Tonto National Forest’s plans to protect the frog saying those efforts could adversely affect other species and the rights of citizens to hunt and fish in protected areas.

MSA plays a part

Also, Mogollon Sporting Association founder Gary Barcom will give a PowerPoint presentation on the wildlife projects with which MSA members are currently involved.

“We just want to let them know what we are doing,” said Barcom.

Tomorrow’s topics include discussions on special big game hunt license tags, a briefing on the public comment concerning existing hunt guidelines and a possible decision on 2014-14 license and tag fees.

Members of the public wishing speak to the AG&F commissioners may do so by filling out a “blue card” prior to the meeting.

Last evening, Thursday, at Rumsey Park, the MSA hosted AG&F officials at a steak fry in Rumsey Park.

“It was an informal, social meeting to get to know each other,” said Barcom.

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