Sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts have an obligation to follow the rules and leave the areas they visit in even better condition than when they arrived.
If that had been the practice in place all along in the Huron-Manistee National Forest, then perhaps a lawsuit filed by a man upset over hunting and snowmobile use in the forest never would have been necessary.
Last week the USDA Forest Service announced that hunting and snowmobile use would continue in the boundaries of the forest property. However, officials also announced they would be closely monitoring those activities and addressing any change to that policy, if necessary, as a result of what they are seeing.
And, the original lawsuit still is within the legal system. Until it is flushed out of that system, anything still is possible.
Kurt Meister, who filed the suit, allegedly did so because he was upset with noisy snowmobilers straying off designated trails and the sounds of gunshots in the woods. In the suit he proposed limiting hunting and snowmobile use on the 70,000 acres of the forest.
"Hunting and snowmobiling are an important part of our local economy so it is vital that the Forest Service allows both activities to continue in the national forest," State Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, said regarding the decision.
"We're pleased to see that the USFS clearly understood that hunting is - and always will be - an accepted use on state and federal lands in Michigan," Erin McDonough, executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, said.
Sportsmen have an obligation to be good stewards of the land they enjoy. If we all followed that practice, we'd like to think actions such as Mr. Meister's never would have been necessary to begin with.
The Alpena News