PORTAGE, Mich. — Portage city officials and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources have signed a Memorandum of Agreement regarding the operation of 377 acres of the Gourdneck State Game Area along Centre Avenue north of Vanderbilt Avenue.
The agreement will allow for collaboration with additional programming, facility improvements, recreational activities and habitat management and conservation efforts in the area, according to a news release Tuesday.
Rapid growth and development surrounding parcels of the Gourdneck State Game Area have occurred in recent years.
Almost entirely within Portage’s city limits, the area has continued to remain a popular destination for hunters and the community and hosts a variety of wildlife and natural communities, including rare species.
Officials say that because of a unique combination of good hunting opportunities, species of greatest conservation need and a location in an urban environment, the area presents many opportunities for nature programming and improved access for hunters, wildlife watchers, outdoors enthusiasts, hikers and people with disabilities.
“The City of Portage is delighted to work with the MDNR to improve access to and programming within the Gourdneck State Game Area,” Acting City Manager Adam Herringa said. “We are enthusiastic about getting more Portagers out into nature, right here in the heart of the city.”
The Southwest Region of the DNR Wildlife Division and Portage want to develop GSGA as a model for urban state game areas by introducing the community to hunting, fishing, wildlife and nature.
Future enhancements to facilities could include improved entrances off Centre Avenue and Angling Road, ADA compliant parking, kayak access to Hampton Lake, trail improvements and other visitor amenities.
Officials also plans to develop volunteer and nature programming, such as nature interpretation, ranger-guided walks, conservation activities and school visits.