A Question To Ask

Who is really in charge here?

Can the Federal Government own land?

Apparently so, if one reads the constitution.  “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular state..” Stated in Article IV reads fairly clear.

But where are the limits?  If one were to go with that part as it has been interpreted, the congress then has power to declare all land to be under it’s jurisdiction, and subject no longer to the respective states, right?  Obviously not if practice is our guide. At some point there is a limit where the states retain control over their respective borders.  A further restraint on the ability of the federal government and Congress to simply take over land.

Yes, it is ALSO in the constitution.  And YES, it has been ignored. Article 1 Section 8 clearly sets forth a manner under which the federal government may acquire and control property.

“To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings; ..”

Emboldened parts being relevant.

Federal parks in Michigan cannot exist but for the consent of our legislature. So lets assume that “needful buildings” have been erected in said parks.  And lets also assume that there was a chain of events which allowed the federal government to acquire such lands for such purposes by consent as required.

Our federal bureaucracy has declared the use of such lands normally trafficked for recreational purposes, to be not-so-recreational anymore:

The Huron-Manistee National Forest is banning alcohol on certain parts of several Northern Michigan rivers.

…The ban will remain in effect through the summer recreation season from May 24 to September 2.

You cannot have alcohol within 200 feet of:

  • the Ausable River between Mio Dam Pond and 4001 Canoe Landing.
  • the Manistee River between Tippy Dam
  • the Huron-Manistee National Forests’ administrative boundary.
  • the Pine River between Elm Flats and Low Bridge.

It does not apply to private land, developed campgrounds and designated campsites.

The U.S. Forest Service says violating the order could net you a $5,000 fine, or six months in jail.

The message:  Crack a beer and incur the wrath of Elliot Ness.

Say it ain’t so!  Alcohol, and the feds will be all over you?   Haven’t we gone down that road before?

Aside from the goofy ways in which our federal park superintendents want to play congressman, it clearly has impacts on Michigan’s tourism industry.  And State Representative Triston Cole is having none of it.

Cole said the ban on alcohol oversteps federal authority and can only have negative consequences for Michiganders and tourists who enjoy the state’s rivers.

“The State of Michigan has a plethora of laws to protect our water ways,” said Cole, of Mancelona. “Everything from cussing in a canoe to littering and public nuisance is covered. We don’t need redundant rules passed down by a federal bureaucracy to help us take care of the land and water that has been in our state’s care for over 180 years.”

Cole noted that Section 8902 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, MCL 324.8902, already makes littering in a river or water way illegal.

The Huron-Manistee National Forest announced the decision to ban alcohol on the National Wild and Scenic River sections of the AuSable, Manistee and Pine rivers on Wednesday.

Cole criticized the new rule as a misguided, overbearing and ineffective attempt to ensure river health and boater safety, which the state already governs.

“As a state legislator and an avid outdoorsman, I do not appreciate the federal government telling the people of the State of Michigan where a legal adult can enjoy an adult beverage,” Cole said. “Enjoying our waterways is a privilege and this privilege includes allowing visitors to enjoy public waterways in the manner they choose as right and is in accordance with state law. This new rule can only damage our state’s tourism.”

According to a 2017 economic impact study of Michigan’s tourism industry, 5.6 million people made trips to Michigan from outside the state that year and spent $2.1 billion in communities and at local businesses across the state.

“We absolutely need to be good stewards of the sensitive shore lines and ecosystems so they can be enjoyed for generations to come, but micromanaging our state government from Washington is not how to do it,” Cole said. “We have pure, pristine and public waterways all across this state. I believe this new rule sets a dangerous precedent.”

Translation: “Get off our back.  We’ve got this handled.”

Cole is correct.  And if Gretchen Whitmer’s administration is willing to continuously run roughshod over the legislature’s role insofar as the DEQ is concerned, it might well be a little TOO handled.

Bottom line however, is whether our legislature is going to assert its authority in this matter.  The state has claim to this type of activity anyhow.  And unless the federal government is willing to further abridge the constitution by delineating ‘federal land’ as away from the laws of the State of Michigan, it seems we have a bit of a disagreement that needs to be rectified.

It begs a question long protected by the agreement that binds our union.

One we might ask going forward might be: Is consent permanent?”



You Betcha! (11)Nuh Uh.(0)

  3 comments for “A Question To Ask

  1. Jason
    February 12, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    And Jack Comes through ...

    United States Forest Service to Suspend Manistee River Rule
    Washington - Congressman Bergman issued the following statement:

    "I'm encouraged to see that the Huron-Manistee Forests decided to delay the ban on alcohol and will take the time over the next year to work with the community on ways to keep our waters safe. While it's imperative that we conserve our waterways and forests, we must ensure our public lands remain a place the public can enjoy and appropriately utilize. The Huron-Manistee Forests have long been an example of conservation done right. I appreciate their willingness to engage with my office and stakeholders in the community to better approach this situation."

    The following release was issued from the United States Forest Service:

    CADILLAC, Mich., February 12, 2019 –The Huron-Manistee National Forests will delay implementation of a closure order prohibiting alcohol on sections of three National Wild and Scenic Rivers until at least 2020. The delay creates an opportunity for the Forest Service to work with local communities to develop alternative means of restoring public safety and preventing damage to congressionally-protected sections of the AuSable, Manistee, and Pine Rivers.

    “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 Huron-Manistee National Forests Supervisor Leslie Auriemmo. “We welcome a practical, community-driven solution to these challenges.”

    Earlier this month, the Forest Service announced a closure order to prohibit alcohol on sections of the AuSable, Manistee, and Pine National Wild and Scenic Rivers during the 2019 recreation season. The closure order was intended to address persistent public safety issues and protect natural resources on those waterways.

    In lieu of implementing the alcohol closure order in 2019, the Forest Service will organize and chair a community working group consisting of small businesses, municipal officials, and private citizens from the National Wild and Scenic River corridors. By May 2019, the working group will develop an action plan to restore public safety to those rivers. The Forest Service will report regularly on the working group’s activities and will continue to promote responsible use of public waters.

    During the summer recreation season, the Forest Service will work with community partners to implement the action plan. If the action plan does not improve conditions upon the National Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Forest Service would consider implementing the alcohol closure order 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 Auriemmo. “We look forward to working with our community partners to ensure a safe and sustainable recreational experience for all Americans who wish to visit our waterways.”

    The Forest Service will maintain several avenues for inquiries and suggestions pertaining to the working group and its activities. Interested parties may submit comments to Public Affairs Officer Nate Peeters by e-mail (r9_hmnf_website@fs.fed.us) or post (1755 S Mitchell Street, Cadillac, MI 49601). For more information about the Huron-Manistee National Forests, please visit https://fs.usda.gov/hmnf.


    You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Corinthian Scales
      February 13, 2019 at 11:57 am

      Good on Jack! There are already laws on the books that deal with littering and intoxication - the area of abuse has been identified - enforce those laws on the Flatlanders and Citiots who come here with their "We're up North" mentality. Every summer is such a joy when the weekenders show up... dogs shitting on lawns without it being picked up... empty water bottles, whether purposely or, errantly on the roadsides and shorelines...

      I honestly don't mind the motto: Come here on vacation, go home on probation.

      Play stupid games - win stupid prizes.

      You Betcha! (2)Nuh Uh.(0)
  2. Sue Schwatrz
    February 13, 2019 at 10:08 am

    discussions such as this always have ulterior motives. Start with beer being the hysterical issue to cover what the real game plan is. Stay on top of this Jack.

    You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(1)

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