This is a reminder that the Huron-Manistee NF starts the second (followup) round of public meetings in Cadillac on Feb 18. The full list of meetings is on their web page, along with background information about the process:
This is a good thing to get involved in, even if only to lend your voice to a point that has already been made. The initial comments ran the gamut from NIMBY to eco-warrior. Under the "Trails" section of the "Issues Identified" document, you will find:
-Restrict or ban mountain biking
- Allow mountain bikes on trails
- No new trail construction
- No new motorized or bike trails
- Add a Cadillac to Traverse City trail
- Need more hiking, horse and ATV trails
- Develop a Forest trail access plan
- Utilize volunteers to build and maintain trails
- Consider multiple use of trails
- Allow off-trail events
- Use federal grants to fund new trails
Out of that, and many more comments, the revision team has drafted their proposed changes. Under "Trails," they read:
"Since the Forest Plan went into effect in 1986, there has been new demand for mountain bike trails on the Forests. The proposed change is to allow mountain bikes on trails unless posted closed.
The Forests are assessing if additional changes are needed to direction in the Forest Plan."
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Yes, but only if you don't understand the difference between *proposed* changes, and what finally occurs. This is no time to be complacent. Even if this change were to be implemented, it begs the question, "What trails will be posted closed?" If that were to include the currently bike-legal sections of the North Country Trail, mountain biking in Michigan will have suffered a catastrophic setback at the federal level. The wording of the Proposed Change means that the anti-bike activists will be fighting harder than ever to kick bikes off the NCT.
If you can possibly make it, attend a meeting and raise your voice in favor of adopting the Proposed Changes in the Revision Plan, and maintaining the status quo on the NCT. State your affiliation, and if you have logged hours as a volunteer, say so. You will be heard, have no fear.
Dan Harrison, MMBA President
PS: I'll be at the Dearborn meeting on Feb 27