CADILLAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — A controversial plan that would ban alcohol on some Michigan rivers up north this summer is being replaced by one that will emphasize public safety and the preservation of natural resources.
The original plan, announced in February, would have banned alcohol between May 24 and Sept. 2 on portions of the AuSable, Manistee and Pine rivers in the Huron-Manistee National Forest. It received major backlash from people across the state.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Forest Service announced the new plan, which will not include the ban on alcohol. The new plan calls for educating the public about the values and benefits of their wild and scenic rivers and empower visitors to be good river stewards.
To get the plan out there, the U.S. Forest Service will work with community groups, local businesses, media partners and more. They will also:
- Organize outreach and volunteer events in the wild and scenic river corridors
- Provide mesh bags and ties to river users at landings, liveries and other local businesses
“[The action plan] is a constructive end result that we hope will bring positive dividends to those utilizing the resource,” Manistee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jeff Dontz, who serves on the community working group, said in a release. “It encourages people to be cognizant of their fellow citizens, have quality recreational experiences, and maintain our natural resources.”
The USFS will also conduct educational outreach and public safety patrols to protect visitors and preserve the wild and scenic rivers.
“All Americans should have the opportunity to experience their wild and scenic rivers,” Huron-Manistee National Forests Supervisor Leslie Auriemmo said in a news release. “Our goal is to maintain a culture of respect and responsibility that preserves our natural resources, attracts visitors, and benefits local communities.”
According to the USFS, they organized a working group to explore community actions to promote sae and responsible recreation on the rivers, and this new action plan is the result of that.
Check out the plan below.