Please contact your State Representative about this - an email is good, a phone call in the morning would be better.
In a nutshell, this bill opens most trails on state land to horseback riding without restriction, and causes us to lose $25 million in funding that you pay for.
House Bill 4684 sponsored by Representative Greg MacMaster (R-Kewadin) will be taken up in the House Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation tomorrow
despite warnings from federal officials that if the bill becomes enacted, the state would likely lose $25 million in annual federal wildlife funding. This is $10.5 million in wildlife funding, $2.3 million for hunters safety funding and $11.7 million for sport fish funding (see http://www.mucc.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/11042011-letter-to-Honorable-Frank-Foster-signed.pdf
)MMBA opposed this bill in a letter dated June 28 http://house.michigan.gov/SessionDocs/2011-2012/Testimony/Committee22-6-28-2011-2.pdf
. Despite almost universal opposition from outdoor groups, this bill will go go to committee tomorrow (11/9/2011).
You can locate your State reps here: http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/
Here is the letter I sent to Rep Slavins. Feel free to copy:
Dear Dian -
I urge you to vote "NO" on HB 4684. It is unnecessary legislation that puts the conservation of Michigan’s fish and wildlife at risk, and severely impacts me personally.
It is my understanding that this bill prevents the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) from issuing orders to restrict one certain use, equestrian riding, on all “pack and saddle trailways…that currently are or at any time previously were used by pack and saddle animals.” This would give riders free rein over trails, regardless of conservation concerns or conflicts with other uses. This is where the problem lies.
Personally, it would mean that all trails at Maybury State Park would be open to horses, which severely impacts my enjoyment of the hiking and mountain biking trails. I’m sure it is the same at the other state parks that Michigan residents enjoy.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) says the move would violate federal and state laws which allows Michigan to qualify for $25 million annually in federal Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration (WSFR) Funding, also known as Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson funding.
Again, I urge you to vote “NO” on this bill. I’m not against horse riding, but unlimited use of all trails in this manner is not reasonable.
Here are the committee members:
Frank Foster (R), Committee Chair, 107th District
Matt Huuki (R), Majority Vice-Chair, 110th District
Wayne A. Schmidt (R), 104th District
Kurt Damrow (R), 84th District
Holly Hughes (R), 91st District
Joel Johnson (R), 97th District
Peter Pettalia (R), 106th District
Harold L. Haugh (D), Minority Vice-Chair, 42nd District
Maureen L. Stapleton (D), 4th District
Timothy Bledsoe (D), 1st District
Dian Slavens (D), 21st District
Life is 10 percent how we make it; 90 percent how we take it.