Buckeye Firearms Association volunteers attend Mobility-Impaired Hunting Access Area Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

BFA volunteer Bob Harsanje (seated on right) joins
(from left) the ODNR's David Graham & Philip King,
Rep. Peter Ujvagi and others in the ribbon cutting

Buckeye Firearms Assocation volunteer Bob Harsanje and Vice Chairman Chad Baus were on hand recently as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the development of the Mobility Impaired Hunting Access Area at Lake La Su An Wildlife Area near Montpelier in Williams County.

Remarks were given by ODNR Director Sean Logan, Rep. Peter Ujvagi (D), ODNR Federal Aide Coordinator Philip King, and ODNR, Division of Wildlife Chief David Graham. ODNR, Division of Wildlife District Manager John Daugherty served as Master of Ceremonies, and the Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation was offered by ODNR, Division of Wildlife Officer Thomas Kochert.

Skip Markland, Regional Director of the National Wildlife Turkey Federation, and representatives from Pheasants Forever, Williams County Chapter and were also among those in attendance.

This event came as a result of passage of Senate Bill 209, which addressed issues that Buckeye Firearms Association volunteer Bob Harsanje and Region Leader Larry S. Moore had been working on together for some time.

During debate in the House of representatives, content from Rep. Ujvagi's HB473 was amended into SB209, and enabled the Chief of the Division of Wildlife to develop rules for creating a permit allowing hunters with mobility impairments to have increased access to designated state wildlife areas. The permit also allows for the use of Electric Powered All Purpose Vehicles on these designated wildlife areas distributed all across the state.

It was the goal of the Division of Wildlife to have a minimum of one wetland, one forestland and one grassland hunting area in each of the Division's five geographic districts for a total of fifteen designated areas. The areas by region are: Delaware, Big Island and Deer Creek in central Ohio; Grand River, Brush Creek and Berlin in northeast Ohio; Waterloo and Cooper Hollow in southeast Ohio; Fallsville, East Fork and Spring Valley in southwest Ohio; and Killdeer Plains, Resthaven and Lake La Su An in northwest Ohio.

The designated areas are now marked for permitted users and became available for use on November 24, 2008.

The mission of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife reads as follows:

"We are dedicted to conserving and improving the fish and wildlife resources and their habitats and promoting their use and appreciation by the public so that these resources will continue to enhance the quality of life for all Ohioans."

It was clear by the looks on the faces of the mobility-impaired hunters in attendance that the division had once again succeeded in fulfilling its mission statement.

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