On December 23, Outdoor Alliance commented on the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Huron-Manistee National Forest Plan Revision. The Huron-Manistee National Forest, the only such public land in southern Michigan, is an important resource for the area's outdoor recreation community, especially paddlers, mountain bikers, backcountry skiers and snowshoers.
The coalition commends the Plan's efforts to articulate the need for high quality recreation. However, in order to achieve the goal of high quality, sustainable recreation, the Plan must take several additional steps. Most of all, the Plan must address issues with recreation use data and must maintain the Semi-primitive Non-motorized designation.
The Plan cites National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) data, despite the fact that this methodology poorly captures human powered recreation use and cannot project tends in recreation. Along with these limitations, the Plan’s Preferred Alternative 4 completely eliminates the Semi-primitive Non-motorized designation, an especially important management tool for quality backcountry skiing, mountain biking and paddling experiences.
Outdoor Alliance recommends the Plan look to alternatives that do not scrap the Semi-primitive Non-motorized designation and address the limitations of recreation use data. These changes, along with adding clarity to Special Interest Areas and increasing access infrastructure, will yield a Plan that supports and manages recreation for many years in the future.
Please read the full length comments here.