A recently passed House Bill has upset some organizations, especially the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC). The Bill, is essentially a reversal of the "Michigan Trailways" Bill, which shifted the path of existing horse-riding trails in the Pigeon River Country State Forest (PRC). The new Bill, HB 4610, not only demands that state-owned land that was open during the past year to riders remain open to them, but also that a new network of Trailways be instituted for "pack and saddle animals" where there has been a "historical tradition" of them..
The Bill, which was originally introduced because some feel that horse-riders were not given a chance to voice their opposition, has met with some resistance from the MUCC. The Club, with its foundational principle that active participation of every group who uses the land is fundamental, does not believe in broad legislative intervention. According to them, this revision of the Trailways Bill will affect the entire state, not just the PRC, ignoring several local users. Additionally, data they provide from the US Fish and Wildlife Service indicates that, because the new Bill uses land bought for hunting and fishing "inconsistently", Michigan could lose $25 million per year of federal funding.
Instead of choosing between losing federal funds (when Michigan's economy needs the funding) and discounting the horseback riders, the MUCC proposes that the two groups reach an external compromise-without resorting to legislation. A possible compromise? The MUCC suggests that horseback riding be restricted only during prime hunting months so hunters will not be disturbed and riders won't be riding on a hunter-filled trail.