Pigeon River & Beyond - Back Country Horsemen, Michigan

Position Paper from The Resource Stewards to the MDNR

The following is a "position" paper sent to MDNR regarding the


The M.R.S. defines these position papers as the following:  Position Papers are 'white papers' developed by resource professionals in the Michigan Resource Stewards, or in some cases from other sources, which discuss or analyze major conservation and environmental issues from a strong science-based approach. These papers and reports cover a very wide range of natural resource issues. Positions developed by the Stewards are based on sound science, and what's best for the resource and the state's residents, and are not an emotional response to important conservation issues.

Pigeon River:

What follows are recommendations of the Michigan Resource Stewards (MRS) for the better protection and management of the Pigeon River Country State Forest. These recommendations are a product of our Pigeon River Committee, as modified and approved by the MRS at our March 14, 2007 meeting in Clare. We hope these recommendations will help you and the Department in your deliberations and make clear our position on important issues facing managers of the PRCSF.
 Follow the 1973 Concept of Management:

·        Require consensus on management and policy decisions by local Forestry, Fisheries, Wildlife, and Law Enforcement Divisions with concurrence of the Pigeon River Country Advisory Council.
 Forestland Management:
·        Increase forest wildlife openings from the current 2.9 percent to 10 percent and upland brush from the current 2.1 percent to10 percent of the forest area. (Follow long-range habitat objectives stated in the 1973 Concept of Management.)
·        Improve distribution of aspen in the four age classes, 0-10, 11-20, 21-30, and 31-40.
·        Place additional planting of red pine on hold until objectives for forest openings and upland brush are met. Red Pine land area is currently 11.7 percent.
 Recreational Activities:
·        Restrict snowmobiles to the 175 miles of identified county roads. (PRC Advisory Council recommended this restriction to the DNR Director in 1996.)
·        Restrict horses to the 175 miles of identified county roads and designated bridle trails.
·        Restrict bicycles to the 175 miles of identified county roads and designated bicycle trails.
 Oil and Gas:
·        The 19 Antrim Gas wells proposed on the annexed 2,528 acre Blue Lakes Tract are an incompatible use and should not be permitted.
·        The 1980 Consent Order stipulates, "Marginal wells, one that no longer produces in paying quantities, shall be abandoned, and the well site restored, in conformance with the Amended Stipulation."  The Supervisor of Wells should enforce this stipulation.
·        Restrict camping at the 6 non-horse drive-in campgrounds to one vehicle and trailer, or one motor home, or one vehicle and tent per campsite.
·        Allow primitive (foot-travel) camping in designated areas only.
·        Reduce campsites in the Elk Hill overload campground and eliminate the 15 dispersed two-horse campgrounds. Present horse camping within the Pigeon is excessive, causing conflicts with traditional users. (Horse camping in the 1973 Concept was confined to the Elk Hill drive-in campground with 7 campsites.)
 Commercial Use:
·      Curtail commercial use of the PRCSF. It is increasingly threatening the wild character of the Pigeon and causing user conflicts. Note: In a letter, dated January 3, 2003, the Pigeon River Country Advisory Council advised Mindy Koch, Resource Management Deputy, of this problem, identifying 20 commercial users and 12 activities.
·      Incompatible and conflicting commercial users must be controlled, curtailed, or prohibited. Requiring commercial users to purchase a permit provides no solution to the conflicts and problems.
 Law enforcement:
·        Give Law Enforcement clear authority to enforce restrictions on recreational activities, camping, and commercial uses through issuance of additional Directors Orders. Existing laws, rules and regulations are inadequate. Violations warrant a misdemeanor penalty.

 Committee Members AdvisorsBob Jacobson, Chairman Pete Petoskey
Tom Carlson Arch Reeves
Ned Caveney
Jim Maturen
Doug Mummert
Bob Strong