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A ban on alcohol in the Huron Manistee National Forests has been put on hold.

Late last week the Forest Service issued a prohibition on alcohol on portions of the AuSable, Manistee and Pine National wild and Scenic Rivers for the upcoming season, but after public outcry has delayed the start until 2020.

Public safety issues and preventing further damage to the natural resources on the rivers spurred the regulation around alcohol.

“Individuals and businesses throughout northern Michigan have expressed strong interest in partnering with the Forest Service to address ongoing public safety and environmental issues on our National Wild and Scenic Rivers,” said Leslie Auriemmo, Huron-Manistee National Forests Supervisor.

While the closure is not completely off the table, the Forest Service will work with the community to come up with an action plan.

The work group will be made up of local businesses, officials and citizens from along the three river corridors.

Auriemmo will be looking for an action plan by May of this year that includes a way to restore public safety.

If conditions don’t improve as a result, the alcohol ban could be put in place in 2020.

“The Forest Service has a statutory obligation to protect the outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values of our National Wild and Scenic Rivers,” said Auiemmo, adding they are also concerned with keeping the parks safe for anyone who wants to use them.

For more information on the rivers or to follow the work group’s activities, click here.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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