June 13, 2013

Huron-Manistee National Forest Anti-hunting Lawsuit Dismissed

The court-mandated review of the Huron-Manistee Land and Resource Management Plan Revision of 2006 has been dismissed.

After the U.S. Forest Service approved the plan in 2006, Michigan attorney Kurt Meister sued the Service claiming that it “failed to comply with several of its own regulations and one federal statute in developing its 2006 management plan for the Huron-Manistee National Forests in Northern Michigan,” according to court documents. Meister’s principal complaint was that in developing the management plan, the Service disregarded certain processes in its own regulations, “so as to favor gun hunters and snowmobile users over other persons – for example, hikers and birdwatchers – who use the Forests for quiet, solitary activities.”

Meister asked the Forest Service to close primitive and semi-primitive areas of the Huron-Manistee National Forests to gun hunting and snowmobile use – about 66,000 acres of the forests.

Mr. Meister has requested that the case be dismissed with prejudice, closing all proceedings (ongoing and potential) associated with this case.

In October 2011, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and 34 member organizations of American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service, voicing their disagreement with the Court’s assertion that firearm hunting is a nonconforming use of the Huron-Manistee National Forest, and that banning firearm hunting on the challenged areas would eliminate the opportunity for hunters in this region to pursue their passion on relatively remote landscapes – an opportunity that can’t be duplicated on other ownerships.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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