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Re: E-M:/ Snowmobiles have taken over Island Lake Rec. Area



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Enviro-Mich message from "Patrick Diehl" <patmec@pop.voyager.net>
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Rita:

This Kellie Caudell person doesn't speak for me or for others in my office.
I wasn't bored by your message; I was saddened.  I hope you receive more
insightful and mature responses than his/hers.

Pat




-----Original Message-----
From: Rita Jack <ritaj@flint.umich.edu>
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Date: Monday, February 07, 2000 2:02 PM
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Snowmobiles have taken over Island Lake Rec. Area


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Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <ritaj@flint.umich.edu>
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Kellie -
Thanks - but the trouble is that when I asked the DNR employee at the
guard shack where the designated trails were, he said there aren't
any skiing-only trails at Island Lake any more, for all the reasons I
already bored you with.
-Rita Jack

On 7 Feb 00, at 13:49, Kelie Caudell wrote:
Snowmobiles provide recreation as well as cross country skiing.  You
are in a metro-park area.  Try skiing on designated ski trails and
not
boring the rest of us with your concerns.

Signed a fellow skiier. . .

>>> "Rita Jack" <ritaj@flint.umich.edu> 02/07 10:29 AM >>>
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--- Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <ritaj@flint.umich.edu>
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---

Hello Enviro-Michers -

I apologize for the long post - but I'd like your help.  My husband
and I went to Island Lake Recreation Area yesterday, to help out with
a bunch of friends who were doing their annual February paddle along
the river.  My husband and I are not kayakers (yet) so decided to
cross-country ski while we were there.

Boy - was that ever naive.  All the trails have been completely taken
over by snowmobilers, including unpaved trails, and trails that are
not currently snow-covered - these are now mud, and completely torn
up.  Unpaved trails that used to be one mountain bike wide are now
over two ski poles wide, and have several of the loops where the
snowmobilers have gone off the trail to the side.  They are running
over sapling trees, they are running over vegetation that will never
recover, no matter what the DNR officer at the guard shack says.  Any
vegetation that does recover will be exotic - no native vegetation
will come back there unless it is placed there by humans and
protected.  And if that occurs this spring and summer, the
snowmobilers will run it down again next winter.  The hills are
completely criss-crossed with snowmobile tracks, and the unpaved edges
of the roads are all covered with snowmobile tracks as well.  Several
passed us on the road as we drove in, running toward us on both sides
of the road, going well over the 25 mph speed limit that the cars are
required by law to adhere to.

While skiing on one trail, we were passed by 6 snowmobiles.  We had to
get off the trail, and wait in the smoke and sickening fumes while
they went by us.  I choked on the fumes of the incompleley burned
gasoline.  While we were out yesterday, sharing these multiple use
trails, we heard not one bird, until we finally got off the trail and
went to the river.  We heard only one Red-bellied Woodpecker.

The DNR employee at the guard shack informed me of the reasons that
snowmobilers have been allowed to take over Island Lake Recreation
Area:  The employees don't have a snowmobile to chase the bad
snowmobilers, there aren't enough employees on staff at one time to
have one enforcer while the other guards the park's entrance.  (I
don't know why they bother to guard anything - they're letting the law
breakers in along with the law keepers.)  He also informed that the
problem is the growing population in the area - there are just too
many people.  He also told me that the receipts at the gate have been
much higher than they ever have been before.  --That tells me that
they should be able to afford to hire an enforcer.  He did offer me a
brochure with the park's office address and his supervisor's name:
Joanne Stritmatter, Island Lake Recreation Area, 12950 East Grand
River, Brighton, MI 48116, ph. 810-229-7067.  The brochure did not
describe any rules for snowmobilers, or for any users of the park.

When I returned home, I got on the Internet to find out what the rules
are for snowmobilers in state Recreation Areas run by the DNR.  I
found nothing useful.  I found a few brief lines about the Snowmobile
Enforcement Subprogram.  This section seems to be more concerned with
snowmobile use in the northern parts of the state.  There is a line
about snowmobile safety, and coordinating with and supporting
snowmobile organizations to provide snowmobile safety classes in each
county.   I found nothing about rules and regulations for use of
snowmobiles in State Parks and Recreation Areas.

So - where do we go from here??  I will write to and talk to Joanne
Stritmatter - but I doubt that will make a difference.  I will also
take photos of the damage, and attempt to monitor the damage as it
occurs.  Ironically, they are looking for volunteers to help restore
prairie habitat at several places around the state - including Island
Lake Recreation area.  They need people on Sept. 26 and October 10 -
(unless I was reading an old note from last year.)  Are they going to
restore the prairie habitat just to destroy it by running it down
again next winter?

Thanks for listening and for your shared wisdom -
Rita (who is really discouraged and really upset about all this) Jack





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