Huron-Manistee National Forest Update: Case Dismissed!

Remember When That Guy Tried to Kick Us Out?
On September 29, 2010, Kurt Meister, a southeast Michigan attorney won a case against the USDA Forest Service claiming that his right to enjoy public lands in Michigan were being infringed upon by noisy firearms hunters and folks using snowmobiles on designated trail. His solution? Ban guns and snowmobiles on almost 70,000 acres of the Huron-Manistee National Forest (HMNF).
Michigan United Conservation Clubs, a non-profit conservation group that has served as Michigan’s most powerful voice for hunters and anglers in Michigan since 1937, blew the whistle on the suit and quickly organized a response fueled by sound science-based management principles and its tens of thousands of members who believe strongly in the rights of Michigan’s citizens to hunt, fish and trap on public lands. The HMNF addressed the Court’s concerns by preparing a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to the Forest Plan and thousands of our members provided input.
The Regional Forester made a decision in January 2012 to NOT accept Meister's solution and instead went with an amended plan that preserved existing hunting and snowmobiling rights. Sportsmen and women's voices were heard.
A Victory for Sportsmen—Persistent Resistance Pays Off
That's where we left off in sharing our story, but our work on this issue has continued quietly over the last year and a half full of appeals, interventions and filings. Rather boring to blog about, but MUCC took critical action to defend your rights to firearm hunt on these National Forest lands and to stop the opinion of one hiker from dictating what should happen with our public lands.
In May 2012, MUCC, the Michigan Snowmobile Association, and another individual appealed the decision, still preferring the Alternative 3 over the USFS's Alternative 4. Meister appealed as well, preferring that they ban firearm hunting and snowmobiling all together. MUCC also intervened on Meister's appeal to cover all of our administrative and legal bases. In November 2012, we received word that our appeals were not accepted and that the Regional Forester's decision would stand.
All was quiet over the winter, until February of this year when Meister decided to continue the battle in the courts since he didn't get his way in the appeals process. He amended his complaint alleging numerous violations of laws and regulations associated with the SEIS and the amended plan.
This time, MUCC enlisted a legal team to petition the court to intervene in this case, as did Safari Club International. Three weeks went by and then our legal team received notice on May 30 that this battle was won, the turf war is over (at least on these lands), the amended plan stands, and the case was dismissed!

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.