Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Forest service ponders closing some forest to hunters, snowmobilers

The Huron-Manistee National Forest is reviewing if some areas should be closed to hunters and snowmobilers following a lawsuit alleging those two groups get preferential treatment compared to “quiet users.” The National Forest Service will consider banning hunting and snowmobile use in the semiprimitive non-motorized areas of the forest. Such a move would set aside 66,000 acres for quiet uses, out of about 987,000 total acres of forest. Kurt Meister, a Novi lawyer who has a cottage in Cadillac near the National Forest, successfully appealed a lawsuit to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court arguing the Forest Service favored hunters and snowmobilers over quiet users in its 2006 land management plan. A federal district judge in Detroit had ruled in favor of the Forest Service. Huron-Manistee National Forest spokesman Ken Arbogast said the Forest Service will consider the economic, social and environmental impacts of any changes, and no decisions have been made yet. “We may either stay with the situation we have now, put in some kind of a ban or some other alternative the people may suggest that we’re not even aware of,” he said...more

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