U.S. Forest Service

Kaye LaFond / Interlochen Public Radio

 

If you’re upset about drunken crowds on northern Michigan rivers in the summer, don’t expect change anytime soon.

This week, the U.S. Forest Service said it will not prohibit alcohol on the Au Sable, Pine and Manistee rivers this year. 

And at a forum about the Boardman River Wednesday, a Michigan DNR officer said they can’t arrest people for being drunk and disorderly on the water.

Giving up on an alcohol ban

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

 

Huron-Manistee National Forests officials say they won’t do an alcohol ban on several northern Michigan rivers this year.

Instead, the Forest Service will continue an education program that was implemented last year.

In February last year, the U.S. Forest Service tried to ban alcohol on the Au Sable, Manistee and Pine Rivers — which are federally protected waters. The agency wanted to better control dangerous, drunken behavior that was impacting the river experience.

Huron Manistee National Forests

 

A firefighter from northern Michigan is helping battle wildfires in Australia.

 

Huron-Manistee National Forests employee Brian Stearns was hand-picked by the U.S. Forest Service for his leadership and firefighting experience.

 

 

 

 

 

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.