Attention All Snowmobilers: It’s Important for Snowmobilers to Comment on Huron-Manistee National Forests Plan That Could Eliminate Snowmobile Trails
We reported earlier that your snowmobile riding opportunities in the Huron-Manistee National Forests are in danger of being taken away due to a lawsuit alleging that hunters and snowmobiler's receive preferential treatment compared to “quiet users.” As a result the U.S. Forest Service has been forced by a federal appeals court to consider banning hunting and snowmobiling in the ‘semi-primitive non-motorized areas’ of these two forests. It has chosen to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). While the Forest Service is currently in the process of gathering public ‘scoping’ comments about what should be considered during this SEIS process, it is important to understand this is just the first, very general step in what will be a long process that will likely drag out over one to two years.
Eight public ‘Scoping Meetings’ have been scheduled between January 31 and February 3. The Forest Service will have one at each of its District Offices in Baldwin, Manistee, Mio and Oscoda. It will also hold scoping meetings in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Warren/Livonia, and north of Flint. The Forest Service is hoping to have many snowmobiler's and hunters at these meetings to hear about issues and possible effects closing any of these semi-primitive areas may have on snowmobile use and firearm hunting across the Huron-Manistee forests.
It is important to understand that only written comments and questions will be taken at these public meetings. There will not be open public discussion or an opportunity for anyone to speak before an audience. While there will be Forest Service staff at the meetings to visit with, you’ll have to write your comments down to ensure they become part of the meeting record. Written comments may also be sent to the Forest Service prior to February 11 in lieu of or in addition to attending one of the following meetings:
· 1/31/11 Holiday Inn Express of Birch Run,12150 Dixie Hwy, Birch Run MI 4-8 PM
· 1/31/11 Huron Shores Ranger Station, 5761 North Skeel Rd, Oscoda, MI 4-7 PM
· 2/1/11 Hilton Garden Inn, 26000 American Drive, Southfield, MI 4-8 PM
· 2/1/11 Mio Ranger Station, 107 McKinley Road, Mio, MI 4-7 PM
· 2/2/11 Causeway Bay Hotel (Best Western) 6820 South Cedar St, Lansing, MI 4-8 PM
· 2/2/11 Days Inn of Manistee, 1462 US 31 South, Manistee MI, 4-7 PM
· 2/3/11 Crowne Plaza, 57000 East 28th St., Grand Rapids, MI 4-8 PM
· 2/3/11 Plainfield Township Hall, 885 Eighth Street, Baldwin, MI 4-7 PM
Written comments should be mailed to Lee Evison, Forest Planner, Huron Manistee National Forests, 1755 S. Mitchell, Street, Cadillac, MI 49601; faxed to 231-755-5551; or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Comments submitted via e-mail should contain the words "Forest Plan SEIS" in the subject line.
When making comments either at one of the public meetings or by mail or e-mail, consider letting the Forest Service know about
· Why the Huron-Manistee National Forests are important for snowmobile access
· How often you snowmobile on the forests and where
· How long you’ve been snowmobiling on these two forests
· How closing any snowmobile trails or riding areas in any of the 13 semi-primitive nonmotorized areas in question would affect your snowmobiling experience and opportunities
· How snowmobile trail networks are dependent upon interconnectivity between state and federal lands, private lands, and communities
· Any information you think might be important for the Forest Service to know about snowmobiling
· Any questions (simple, complex or far-fetched) you think need to be considered or analyzed by this SEIS process
We have hired a consultant to help MSA prepare scoping comments on behalf of snowmobiler's defending this important snowmobiling access. Stay tuned, we will be sharing our formal comments to the Forest Service along with talking points for your own letters in advance of the February 11 ‘scoping comments’ deadline.
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MSA is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to the success of snowmobiling in Michigan. MSA facilitates the over $10 million dollar snowmobile program, that is funded 100 percent by you – the snowmobiler.
By joining MSA, you have greater legislative power. MSA is your voice in Lansing and Washington D.C. -- monitoring regulations and proposed legislation that will affect snowmobiling. Make no mistake, without MSA’s involvement, continued monitoring and influence, you wouldn’t have a trail system!
Michigan Snowmobile Association