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Working group comes up with alternative to alcohol ban on MI rivers

Submitted by on June 14, 2019 – 12:44 amNo Comment

The Huron-Manistee National Forests and a group of community partners have come up with an action plan that replaces an alcohol ban proposed earlier this year for sections of the AuSable, Manistee, and Pine rivers.

The forest service announced the alcohol ban in early February and immediately received a large amount of negative feedback from residents and business owners. That led to a swift retraction of the ban two weeks later.

A working group was then formed to look at the issues surrounding the original intent of the ban and that group has now released an action plan which basically asks people to respectful of the rivers, the environment and the people around them.

The action plan includes a public outreach campaign promoting the idea that “It’s All Yours” – yours to enjoy, yours to share, and yours to sustain. The forest service and others are asking people who use the rivers to be courteous to other rivergoers; drink responsibly; properly dispose of trash; and respect private property along the rivers.

The forest service has heard reports of people who are either afraid or who don’t want to deal with large masses of people who are obnoxious on the rivers, typically due to alcohol consumption, and thus stay away. The forest service hopes the action plan will curb some of the bad behavior so everyone can enjoy the rivers at any time.

Nate Peeters is the Public Affairs Officer for the Huron-Manistee National Forests. He told True North Radio that at this time the alcohol ban is a last option and would only be instituted “after exhausting all other options.” He said the working group will review the actions of rivergoers in the fall and may make some changes, as needed, to the action plan.

The full action plan can be viewed on the USDA Forest Service website.