Forest Service decision on proposal announced

CADILLAC - The U.S. Forest Service has released the Record of Decision and the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement that addresses issues stemming from a lawsuit in federal court over gun hunting and snowmobiling in the Huron-Manistee National Forests.

In 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit found that the Forest Service failed to comply with several of its own regulations and a federal statute during revision of the 2006 Land and Resource Management Plan for the Huron-Manistee National Forests. The issues revolved around the plaintiff’s concerns that the agency favored gun hunters and snowmobile users over other people participating in quiet recreation activities.

On Jan. 27, the Regional Forester, Charles L. Myers, signed the Record of Decision for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) and Amendment 1 to the 2006 Forest Plan. In summary, the Regional Forester selected Alternative 4 (the Preferred Alternative) as the Selected Alternative.

Under the Selected Alternative, the Forest Service will:

  • Continue to allow gun hunting in the previously designated Semiprimitive Nonmotorized and Primitive areas of the Huron-Manistee National Forests in accordance with regulations of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
  • Continue to allow snowmobiling on designated trails within the Huron-Manistee National Forests.
  • Change Management Area designation of 11 of the 13 previously designated Semiprimitive Nonmotorized Areas to Management Area 8.4. The existing Standards and Guidelines for Management Area 6.1 (Semiprimitive Nonmotorized) would continue to apply to these 11 new 8.4 Special Area Management Areas as outlined in the Record of Decision.
  • Change Management area designation of two previously designated Semiprimitive Nonmotorized Areas to Management Area 4.2. The areas will be managed under the Standards and Guidelines for Management Area 4.2.

Under the Selected Alternative, the Forest Service will:

  • Retain the Management Area 5.1 designation for the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area.
  • Recreation Opportunity Spectrum classifications for all of the 14 challenged areas will be changed to match their current condition, as described in the Record of Decision.

The specific rationale behind the Selected Alternative is fully explained in the Record of Decision. Appendix A of the Record of Decision shows how the Selected Alternative will change the 2006 Forest Plan.

The Record of Decision and associated documents are posted on the Huron-Manistee National Forests’ website: www.fs.usda.gov/hmnf. The published documents will be available in March and mailed to all people who previously requested a copy. If you have not previously requested a copy, you may request a copy by calling the Forest Supervisor’s Office at (231) 775-2421 .