Update on Huron-Manistee National Forest Court Case

As you might recall, sportsmen and snowmobilers across Michigan overwhelmed the USDA Forest Service with more than 9,000 comments on the proposal to ban gun hunting and snowmobiling within Primitive and Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized areas on the Huron-Manistee National Forests. This proposal was prompted by the result of a legal decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Meister v. USDA Forest Service, Case No 09171.

As an update to this saga, the Huron-Manistee is still in the process of developing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) that presents alternatives related to snowmobile use and firearm use in Semi-Primitive Non-Motorized Management Areas and firearm use in or near Primitive Areas. They anticipate that the draft SEIS will be available for review in September 2011. Another 90-day public comment period begins once the notice is published in the Federal Register and based on those comments, the team will complete the final SEIS which will include a preferred alternative. This document will then have to go back to the court for final approval and will still be subject to appeal. The Forest Supervisor anticipates completing this process in early 2012.

MUCC will post a link to the draft SEIS as soon as it is available, along with our analysis of the document and how to comment on whatever they have suggested as a proposed action.

But just as a reminder, as people are prepping for the fall hunting seasons and applying for and buying licenses now, nothing has changed with the allowed uses in the Huron Manistee Forest as a result of this case up to this point, nor will it until the whole process has been completed.

If you have any questions regarding his process, you can contact MUCC at muccpolicy@mucc.org or the Huron-Manistee National Forest’s public affairs officer, Ken Arbogast at 231-775-5023, ext. 8726 or karbogast@gs.fed.us.

image_print