National Forest

Taylor Wizner

 

Tubing down a river on a hot summer day is one of Michigan’s most popular pastimes. But after years of alcohol-fueled floats, the National Forest Service banned alcohol on the Au Sable, Manistee and Pine rivers.

 

The Forest Service has since backed off that ban due to public outcry. In its place, conservation officers have pledged to educate river users and ramp up law enforcement.

 

Now the question is, will it work?

 

Relaxing on the river

Bronte Cook/Interlochen Public Radio

The Huron-Manistee national forest covers nearly one million acres of land in northern Michigan - including the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness area, one of the most popular wilderness recreation sites in the region.

Nate Peeters, a public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service, says trails at the Nordhouse Dunes are really busy during the summer months; and while people are encouraged to use the wilderness as a resource, this presents unique problems. 

According to Peters, littering is one of the biggest human-based problems in the area.

Wikimedia Commons

This week on Points North, we look at animals and the threats they face. Great Lakes piping plovers were on the verge of extinction in the 1980s, but recently they’ve been making a comeback. Still, their slow recovery is hindered by absent-minded beach walkers, high water levels and racoons.

 


Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

Half a century ago, hundreds of pairs of piping plovers lived in the Great Lakes. But by the 1980s, they were on the verge of extinction and only a dozen pairs remained.

Over time, wildlife biologists have helped increase the population. But it’s still well below a stable number and each year there’s a new threat.

 

Piping plovers are small, stout white-gray birds. In the spring, they can be found nesting on the shores of the Great Lakes. Once a fixture on the lakes, the birds are now on the federal Endangered Species List.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

There are some new questions bubbling up concerning a decades-old oil spill in the Upper Peninsula.

Around 1980, Canadian oil transport company Enbridge discovered its Line 5 oil pipeline had sprung a leak and spilled an estimated five barrels of oil in the Hiawatha National Forest.

Yes, that’s the same Line 5 whose twin pipelines run under the Straits of Mackinac.