Administrator Resigns 5/5/17
Taylor County’s forest administrator Russ Aszmann announced his resignation on Friday, May 5th. Aszmann told the forestry and recreation committee that he wished to thank everyone who has supported him during his tenure. He indicated that he had no regrets in regard to his administration and management of the Taylor County Forests. The final day of employment for Russ Aszmann will be May 23rd. To assume the duties, the committee voted to appoint Jake Walcisak as the interim forest administrator beginning on May 24th.
The improvements to the Pirus shooting range are on hold. Federal grant funds were being utilized to make improvements, but the US Fish and Wildlife Service has put a freeze on all grants and cost- sharings over $100,000. Chuck Zenner told the forestry and recreation committee that’s why you shouldn’t start projects until we have the money in hand. The grant is derived from the Pittman Roberts Fund which is a federal gun tax fund. The federal agency is reviewing all grant funds. The Taylor County Sportsmens Club was instrumental in obtaining the grant. Club members also have volunteered numerous hours of labor to improve the safe environment which the shooting range provides. While the committee is hopeful that the funds will be awarded following the lifting of the freeze and review, until such time that the “money is in hand” the major improvements at the Pirus Shooting Range are on hold.
According to some members of the Pine Line Trail Commission their bylaws are out of date. To update the bylaws the commission approached Taylor County for permission to utilize the services of the county’s corporate counsel. Forestry and Recreation Committee member expressed his support by asking how do you think the Rail Trail Commission feels when you tell them to take care of the trail but you don’t give them any money. Technically the rail trail is a county park. No action was taken.
On behalf of the Taylor County ATV/UTV club Don Liske recently approached the forestry department to ask that all entry roads to the county forests be signed to indicate that the county forest roads are open to ATV/UTV usage. The county forest’s 15 year action plan indicates that the county forest roads would be open for ATV/UTV usage from May 1st to November 30th. Regulations indicate that once roadways are opened, the trail signs need to be placed beside the roads. The Taylor County Forest and Recreation Committee voted to fund the placement of ATV/UTV signs at about a half dozen entry points to the County Forest. Labor will be provided by the forestry department.