Lee Evison, Forest Planner
Huron-Manistee National Forest
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Notice of Intent to Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to the Forest Plan for the Huron-Manistee National Forest. These comments are generated by a review of the Federal Register notice of 28 December 2010.
The wildlife conservation organizations listed below represent the interests of millions of hunter conservationists across the nation. We strongly urge the Huron-Manistee National Forest to select the No-Action alternative and, thereby, continue to allow firearm hunting on all Semiprimitive Nonmotorized Management Areas and the Nordhouse Dunes Primitive Area.
Language from the Circuit Court decision that prompted the development of the SEIS suggesting that nonhunters who recreate on lands open to public hunting should be able to do so “without ducking the occasional gunshot” demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of what transpires as hunters venture afield. In addition, the decision ignores the many decades of harmonious coexistence between hunters and other recreationists on public lands throughout Michigan and across America.
The proposal to discriminate against sportsmen and women by eliminating their opportunity to pursue their passion in the relatively secluded nature of the areas identified in the SEIS is inappropriate and unnecessary. The opportunity to hunt with a firearm exists for only approximately 5 months annually in Michigan and substantial hunter activity occurs literally for only a handful of days each year in association with the gun deer season (mid November) and several weekends during other popular seasons.
As our nation works to introduce a greater proportion of our citizens to the outdoors, it would be counterproductive to create artificial barriers to do so by establishing zones where well-supported and long-practiced recreational uses are no longer allowed. We strongly urge the Huron-Manistee National Forest to aid in sustaining our hunting heritage by selecting the No-Action Alternative as outlined in the SEIS.
Thank you for your time.