No Alcohol in the Huron-Manistee Forest

Huron Manistee Forest

Huron Manistee National Forest

Update to the story

The US Forest Service has decided to not implement the ban in 2019 but instead has agreed to let local authorities address the problem in 2019. They have reserved the right to implement it in 2020. It seems obvious that they have bowed to pressure from the merchants.

Capt. Chuck

No Alcohol

Alcohol is no longer permitted on parts of three of our favorite rivers in Northern Michigan.  All are within the Huron-Manistee Forest. This new policy affects the National Wild and Scenic River sections of the AuSable, Manistee, and Pine rivers.

The Huron-Manistee National Forests announced the decision recently.

“This closure order is intended to address persistent public safety issues and protect natural resources on rivers of outstanding recreational value,” said Huron-Manistee National Forests Supervisor Leslie Auriemmo.

“Our goal is to create a safer, more sustainable, and more enjoyable experience for the thousands of visitors who recreate on our National Wild and Scenic Rivers each year.”


In Norther Michigan the AuSable National Wild and Scenic River begins below Mio Pond and extends to the upper end of Alcona Pond. It makes up 23 miles of the 138-mile waterway that runs through Northern Michigan and enters Lake Huron.

The Manistee and Pine National Wild and Scenic Rivers are each 26 miles with the Manistee section running from Tippy Dam to the M-55 Bridge.

This order will remain in effect throughout the summer recreation season, which runs from May 24 to September 2.

Specifically, it will apply on and within 200 feet of the:

· AuSable River between Mio Dam Pond and 4001 Canoe Landing
· Manistee River between Tippy Dam and the Huron-Manistee National Forests’ administrative boundary (map)
· Pine River between Elm Flats and Low Bridge.

Private lands, developed campgrounds, and designated campsites within those river corridors will not be affected. Violation of the order is punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for up to five years.


This will not effect the fishing, should only make the weekend experience even greater with some of the silliness now being eliminated.  While we all enjoy a few cold ones from time to time, please keep this in mind this summer and save yourself a hefty fine.

4 replies
  1. Steve
    Steve says:

    This will be an interesting law to follow. While banning alcohol in certain sections of river may cut down on trash and inappropriate behavior, it may just transition those issues to other sections of river. On the AuSable River it seems like most river users who would like to enjoy alcohol while on the river will simply decide to float above the restricted sections or other branches. The distribution of river users could potentially become concentrated during high use times throughout the season.

  2. Bob Hoffman
    Bob Hoffman says:

    When I first read the description I thought it was from Tippy up to the upper boundary of the Huron National Forest. Now reading it a second time, I understand it is from Tippy Dam down to the Huron National Forest Boundary just up river of Manistee Lake?

    Do I understand that correctly?

    • Ed McCoy
      Ed McCoy says:


      That is correct. The new laws will basically take place where the USFS maintains access and has federal lands bordering the river corridor. So on the Manistee they have basically outlawed the possession of Alcohol from Tippy to the Lake. Upstream sections like below the Hoedenpyle Dam and the State controlled waters upstream of the Hoedenpyle Dam (CCC Bridge for example) will not be included in the new ban.

      Interestingly the Pere Marquette River was not included in the proposed ban which is a bit surprising seeing as how they included the neighboring Pine River. There is also a hight level of recreational canoeing on that river too. It will be interesting to see how the usage of non-regulated waters will be exploited as time goes on. At least this move will more than likely get rid of the larger party crowds that tend to travel downstream in large “Floatillas” and hopefully there will be a subsequent decline in bottles and cans littering the streambed.

      • Bob Hoffman
        Bob Hoffman says:

        My first though when I understood that the Manistee rules were for Tippy down Is this is designed to have an affect on the “Combat Fishing” during the runs. That crowd may shift the PM with no restrictions. There could be an increase in creel violations on the No Kill waters of the PM. The PM will not be able to handle that pressure. The self sustaining fish population will be devistated.

        The Au Sable recreational party floatilas will probably shift to the Manistee above 72. Shell haven will be expanding. Ultimately will this drive an expansion of floatilla partying to include 72 down to CCC? The impact of this on that section of river could be interesting.


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