Michigan: Future of Gun Hunting at Risk in

the Huron-Manistee National Forest

A recent court ruling could result in the closure to gun hunting in all Semiprimitive Nonmotorized Management Areas and in the Nordhouse Dunes Primitive Area of the Huron-Manistee National Forest.

As a result of a lawsuit filed against the management plan for the Huron-Manistee, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Forest Service should have considered banning gun hunting in the semiprimitive and wilderness areas of the Huron-Manistee because it could impair the "quality recreation experience" of non-hunters. *In addition, the court ruled that the Forest Service violated its own planning regulations that call for reducing the duplication of recreational activities.

Because of the court ruling, the Service is required to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to reevaluate its decision to allow gun hunting as provided for in the management plan. *But, the future of all hunting in the Huron-Manistee is in jeopardy because of the court's ruling on "duplication of recreational activity." *The ruling has the potential to affect hunting throughout the National Forest System if hunting is offered on nearby state lands or other federal lands and could, therefore, be considered duplicative on national forest lands.

The Service published a Notice of Intent asking for public comment on the two proposed alternatives it has under consideration in preparing the SEIS: *the No Action Alternative and the Modified Closure Alternative. *Information about the SEIS can be found at www.fs.fed.us/r9/hmnf. *Click on "Land and Resources Management" and then "Forest Land and Resource Management Plan."

Public comment is being accepted on the Notice of Intent until February 11, 2011. *Comments can be emailed to comments-eastern-huron-manistee@fs.fed.us.

Please put "Forest Plan SEIS" in the subject line. * Attached is a letter of comments signed by the NRA and 35 other national hunting and wildlife conservation organizations in support of the "No Action Alternative."

A series of public meetings will also be held at the following times and locations (all in Michigan):

1/31/11 *Hilton Inn Express of Birch Run, 12150 Dixie Highway, Birch Run, 4-8pm

1/31/11 *Huron Shores Ranger Station, 5761 North Skeel Road, Oscoda, 4-7pm

2/01/11 *Hilton Garden Inn, 26000 American Drive, Southfield, 4-8pm

2/01/11 *Mio Ranger Station, 107 McKinley Road, Mio, 4-7pm

2/02/11 *Days Inn of Manistee, 1462 US 31 South , Manistee, 4-7pm

2/02/11 *Causeway Bay Hotel (becoming Best Western), 6820 South Cedar, Lansing, 4-8pm

2/03/11 *Crowne Plaza, 57000 East 28th Street, Grand Rapids, 4-8pm

2/03/11 *Plainfield Township Hall, 885 Eighth Street, Baldwin, 4-7pm

Nothing short of the future of hunting on all forest lands is at stake if the Forest Service buckles under the court's interpretation of its planning regulations and closes all or portions of the Huron-Manistee to hunting.

It is vitally important that hunters attend the public meetings and send comments to the Forest Service in support of the "No Action Alternative."