Good News on the Huron-Manistee Management Plan Issue

You may recall that we had asked our conservaiton partners to write letters, call and generally speak out during the public comment period concerning the recent issues involving the Huron-Manistee National Forest.   What follows is the letter sent to those stakeholders who provided comment and indicated a management plan preference.  Alternative 4 preserved the greatest number of traditional uses including that ability to use firearms for hunting in those areas which had been called into question as a result of a Court action.

Thanks again to all of those who took the time to respond.

“Dear Stakeholder: The Record of Decision for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) and Amendment 1 to the 2006 Land and Resource Management Plan for the Huron-Manistee National Forests was signed by the Regional Forester, Charles L. Myers, January 27, 2012. The FSEIS document was developed at the direction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which identified deficiencies in how the Forest Service revised the 2006 Land and Resource Management Plan. In the Record of Decision, the Forest Service explains how it has addressed those deficiencies. In summary, the Regional Forester has 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 (Special Areas). 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 (Manistee River and Whitewater Creek) to Management Area 4.2 (Roaded Natural Sandy Plains and Hills). The areas will be managed under the Standards and Guidelines for Management Area 4.2. • Retain the Management Area 5.1 (Wilderness) designation for the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area. • Change the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum classifications for all of the 14 challenged areas 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. We invite you to view the Record of Decision and associated documents on the Huron-Manistee National Forests’ website: http://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. Once the documents have been released to the public, a Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register and the newspaper of record, which will begin a 45-day appeal period. We will notify the public by news release and website posting when the Notice of Availability has been published. If you have any questions regarding the Record of Decision or the FSEIS, you may contact my public affairs officer, Kenneth Arbogast, at (231) 775-5023, Ext. 1+8726, or karbogast@fs.fed.us. I would like to thank all of you who participated in this process, either by attending a public meeting or submitting written comments. We received more than 11,000 comments in all. This reflects the very high level of interest and deep concern that people have for the management of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Sincerely, BARRY PAULSON Forest Supervisor Dear Stakeholder: The Record of Decision for the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) and Amendment 1 to the 2006 Land and Resource Management Plan for the Huron-Manistee National Forests was signed by the Regional Forester, Charles L. Myers, January 27, 2012. The FSEIS document was developed at the direction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which identified deficiencies in how the Forest Service revised the 2006 Land and Resource Management Plan. In the Record of Decision, the Forest Service explains how it has addressed those deficiencies. In summary, the Regional Forester has 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 (Special Areas). 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 (Manistee River and Whitewater Creek) to Management Area 4.2 (Roaded Natural Sandy Plains and Hills). The areas will be managed under the Standards and Guidelines for Management Area 4.2. • Retain the Management Area 5.1 (Wilderness) designation for the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area. • Change the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum classifications for all of the 14 challenged areas 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. We invite you to view the Record of Decision and associated documents on the Huron-Manistee National Forests’ website: http://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. Once the documents have been released to the public, a Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register and the newspaper of record, which will begin a 45-day appeal period. We will notify the public by news release and website posting when the Notice of Availability has been published. If you have any questions regarding the Record of Decision or the FSEIS, you may contact my public affairs officer, Kenneth Arbogast, at (231) 775-5023, Ext. 1+8726, or karbogast@fs.fed.us. I would like to thank all of you who participated in this process, either by attending a public meeting or submitting written comments. We received more than 11,000 comments in all. This reflects the very high level of interest and deep concern that people have for the management of the Huron-Manistee National Forests. Sincerely, BARRY PAULSON Forest Supervisor”

About Northern Michigan Conservation Network

The mission of the Northern Michigan Conservation Network is to "connect conservation-minded hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts to those issues affecting Michigan's forests, waters, and wildlife."

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