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



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Enviro-Mich message from "Richard H. and Elsie Freye" <rhfreye@wmis.net>
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>From R.H.Freye, rhfreye@wmis.net
It's not just Island Lake Rec Area! In early days of automobiles motor
vehicle laws stressed safety of others. Motor vehicles could not be operated
anywhere except on designated steets & highways. There were exceptions for
tractors on farms, etc. When were those laws repealed? Why?
----- Original Message -----
From: Rita Jack <ritaj@flint.umich.edu>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2000 10:29 AM
Subject: E-M:/ Snowmobiles have taken over Island Lake Rec. Area


> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "Rita Jack" <ritaj@flint.umich.edu>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> 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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