Pigeon River & Beyond - Back Country Horsemen, Michigan

HB 5175  2011

HOUSE BILL No. 5175

 

November 10, 2011, Introduced by Rep. Foster and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation.

 

     A bill to amend 1994 PA 451, entitled

 

"Natural resources and environmental protection act,"

 

by amending sections 72114 and 72115 (MCL 324.72114 and 324.72115),

 

as added by 2010 PA 45.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

 

     Sec. 72114. (1) Within 1 year after receiving recommendations

 

from the advisory council under subsection (4), the The department

 

shall establish a plan for a statewide trail network that includes

 

Michigan trailways, pack and saddle trailways, and other

 

recreational use trails. The plan for a statewide trail network

 

shall be designed to accommodate a variety of public recreation

 

uses and shall specify the types of uses that are allowed on each

 

trail segment. The plan for a statewide trail network shall be in

 

conformance with section 72115 and the determinations made under

 

section 72115. The plan for a statewide trail network shall assure


 

that there will not be a cumulative net loss of pack and saddle

 

trailways on state-owned lands from the number of pack and saddle

 

trailways and the amount of trailway miles that existed on pack and

 

saddle trailways on the effective date of the 2011 amendatory act

 

that amended this section. Prior to the department establishing the

 

plan for a statewide trail network, the commission shall hold a

 

public meeting to receive testimony from the general public.

 

     (2) After the plan for a statewide trail network is

 

established under subsection (1), if the department is informed

 

that additional trails should be added to the plan or that uses on

 

particular trail segments should be modified, the department may

 

modify the plan to include additional trails or to modify the uses

 

on particular trails. However, any Any modifications to the

 

statewide trail network shall be in conformance with section 72115

 

and determinations made under section 72115. In addition, by

 

January 1, 2022, the department shall modify the plan for a

 

statewide trail network to increase the number of trailway miles

 

for pack and saddle trailways by at least 15% from the number of

 

trailway miles that existed on the effective date of the 2011

 

amendatory act that amended this section.

 

     (3) Upon establishment of a plan for a statewide trail network

 

under subsection (1), the department shall make the plan available

 

on the department's website. If the department modifies the plan

 

for a statewide trail network, the department shall make the

 

updated plan available on the department's website. The department

 

shall include on the website the trail rating for pack and saddle

 

trailways as provided for in section 72115.


 

     (4) Within 1 year after receiving recommendations from the

 

equine trailways subcommittee under section 72110a, the advisory

 

council shall review recommendations from the equine trailways

 

subcommittee as well as other interested trailway users and shall

 

make recommendations to the department for the establishment of a

 

plan for a statewide trail network. If the advisory council does

 

not submit recommendations to the department as provided for in

 

this subsection, within 2 years after the effective date of the

 

amendatory act that added this section, the department shall review

 

the recommendations of the equine trailways subcommittee under

 

section 72110a and recommendations of other interested trail users

 

and shall establish a plan for a statewide trail network as

 

provided for in subsection (1).

 

     Sec. 72115. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), pack and

 

saddle animals shall be allowed to access pack and saddle trailways

 

on public land managed by the department as follows:

 

     (a) Access on land of the state forest system is allowed

 

unless restricted by statute, deed restriction, land use order, or

 

other legal mechanism, in effect on the effective date of the

 

amendatory act that added this section April 2, 2010.

 

     (b) Access on land of the state park system or state game area

 

system is prohibited unless authorized by land use order or other

 

legal mechanism in effect on the effective date of the amendatory

 

act that added this section April 2, 2010.

 

     (c) Access on other land managed by the department is allowed

 

according to the specific authorization or restriction applicable

 

to the land.


 

     (2) Access by pack and saddle animals may only be restricted

 

on lands described in subsection (1) after the effective date of

 

the amendatory act that added this section April 2, 2010, if

 

conditions are not suitable for pack and saddle animals because of

 

public safety concerns, necessary maintenance, or for reasons

 

related to the mission of the department. Restrictions related to

 

the mission of the department shall be supported, to the greatest

 

extent practicable, by a written science-based rationale that is

 

supported with documentation that is made available to the public.

 

Prior to determining that access by pack and saddle animals be

 

restricted, the department shall make every effort to resolve any

 

public safety or maintenance concerns. Subject to subsection (3),

 

the department shall not restrict pack and saddle animals from

 

lands described in subsection (1) unless all of the following

 

conditions are met:

 

     (a) The commission, upon request of the department, holds a

 

public meeting on a proposal to restrict access by pack and saddle

 

animals on pack and saddle trailways to receive testimony from the

 

general public. The commission shall invite the advisory council,

 

the equine trailways subcommittee created in section 72110a, and

 

the Michigan horse council to attend the meeting.

 

     (b) The department, after considering testimony at the

 

commission meeting under subdivision (a), provides a specific

 

rationale for its determination to restrict access by pack and

 

saddle animals.

 

     (c) Any decision by the department to restrict access by pack

 

and saddle animals shall not take effect for a period of time set


 

by the department, but not less than 60 days. However, if the

 

director determines that a restriction must be imposed because of

 

user conflicts or due to an imminent threat to public health,

 

safety, welfare, or to natural resources or the environment, the

 

director may issue a temporary order restricting access by pack and

 

saddle animals for 30 days or until the threat or user conflict is

 

abated. A temporary order under this subdivision may be reissued if

 

the threat or user conflict persists.

 

     (d) A written statement shall be posted at the trailhead in

 

which the restriction is imposed stating the cause and estimated

 

duration of the closure.

 

     (e) A list of pack and saddle trailways on which the

 

department has restricted access for pack and saddle animals,

 

including temporary orders, shall be posted on the department's

 

website and notification shall be provided to the equine trailways

 

subcommittee created in section 72110a.

 

     (3) Any restrictions described in subsection (1) on access by

 

pack and saddle animals that were in effect on the effective date

 

of the amendatory act that added this section shall remain in

 

effect until those restrictions are reviewed using the process

 

outlined in subsection (2). For the following areas, the department

 

shall review the restrictions on access by pack and saddle animals

 

previously imposed by the department according to the following

 

timelines:

 

     (a) Not later than June 15, 2010, the Pigeon river country

 

state forest.

 

     (b) Not later than January 1, 2011, the Lapeer state game area


 

and the Gladwin field trial area.

 

     (c) Not later than January 1, 2012, the Lost Nation state game

 

area and the Blueberry Ridge pathway.

 

     (4) A person shall not use pack and saddle animals on state-

 

owned land except on pack and saddle trailways that are open for

 

access by pack and saddle animals.

 

     (5) The commission shall establish criteria for a rating

 

system to evaluate the conditions of pack and saddle trailways. The

 

rating system shall provide for an "excellent" rating, a "good"

 

rating, and a rating for pack and saddle trailways that do not

 

satisfy criteria for designation as being in excellent or good

 

condition. Upon adoption of criteria for a rating system for pack

 

and saddle trailways under this subsection, the commission shall

 

submit a report to the legislature that describes the criteria, the

 

rating system, and a rationale for the determinations of the

 

commission. The commission shall annually review the rating system

 

adopted under this subsection, and if it updates the rating system,

 

the commission shall submit a report to the legislature that

 

describes the updated criteria, the rating system, and the

 

rationale for the updated rating system.

 

     (6) Upon adoption of criteria for a rating system to evaluate

 

the conditions of pack and saddle trailways or upon the update of

 

criteria, the department shall, using the criteria, evaluate the

 

conditions of all pack and saddle trailways on state-owned lands

 

and provide a rating for those pack and saddle trailways. If

 

conditions at pack and saddle trailways are not rated as excellent

 

or good, the department shall, within 2 years after originally


 

rating the trailways or within 2 years after the criteria have been

 

updated, make improvements to the pack and saddle trailways that

 

will result in a rating of excellent or good.