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National Forest Service backs off alcohol ban on rivers

An online petition collected more than 40,000 signatures



The National Forest Service has postponed an alcohol ban on some Michigan rivers after public backlash. The ban would affect the Manistee, Au Sable and Pine Rivers.

As of Tuesday evening more than 40-thousand people had signed an online petition asking the Forest Service to stop the ban.

Among those opposed to the law is Cheryl Matson, who owns a campground and a boat rental business off the Manistee River. She says most of her customers like to drink on the water.

“We’ve had groups who have been coming for over twenty years that are now saying we’re going to look to go someplace else.”

Forest Service Spokesperson Nate Peeters says the ban was created to protect the waterways. He says there’s also been an increase of incidents involving drunk people.

The forest service says the ban won’t go into effect until at least 2020. In the meantime, officials will hear more public input on how to improve safety on the rivers.