Working Group Organized for National Wild and Scenic Rivers

Release Date: Mar 11, 2019

Contact(s): Nathan Peeters

A community working group has been organized to address public safety concerns on three National Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Huron-Manistee National Forests.


The working group will convene this spring to explore alternatives to a February 1, 2019 closure order that the Forest Service issued to prohibit alcohol on and along sections of the AuSable, Manistee, and Pine Rivers. The implementation of that closure order has been delayed while the working group develops an action plan to ensure a safe, sustainable, and enjoyable recreational experience for all visitors to those rivers.


The working group will represent the diverse interests that live, work, and recreate along the AuSable, Manistee, and Pine Rivers. A full roster of members is included below.


  • Mr. Brian Allaire, Owner, Mio Pine Acres (Mio, MI)
  • Dr. Bryan Burroughs, Executive Director, Michigan Trout Unlimited
  • Ms. Stacie Bytwork, Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Mr. Jeffrey Dontz, Chairman, Manistee County Board of Commissioners
  • Ms. Jessica Dooley, Private Citizen (Iosco County, MI)
  • Ms. Joy Van Drie, Executive Director, Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau
  • Mr. Norm Fred, Traverse Area Paddle Club
  • Mr. Tom Jobson, Member, Pine River Association
  • Mr. Terry Johnson, Private Citizen (Cadillac, MI)
  • Ms. Cheryl Matson, Co-Owner, Matson’s Big Manistee River Campground (Manistee, MI)
  • Mr. Jacob Miltner, Co-Owner, Pine River Paddlesports (Wellston, MI)
  • Mr. Richard Mobley, Norman Township Supervisor
  • Mr. Craig Thompson, Owner, Hinchman Acres Resort (Mio, MI)
  • Mr. Dyllan Walker, Private Citizen (Manistee, MI)
  • Mr. Michael Wendt, Co-Owner, Twin Oaks Campground (Wellston, MI)
  • Mr. Gary Wnuk, Commissioner, Alcona County Board of Commissioners


The working group will hold its inaugural meeting during the week of March 11. Members are expected to communicate working group activities to their communities and to share community input at working group meetings.


The Forest Service continues to maintain several avenues for comments pertaining to the working group and its activities.  Interested parties may submit comments to Public Affairs Officer Nate Peeters by e-mail ( or post (1755 S Mitchell Street, Cadillac, MI 49601).  For more information about the Huron-Manistee National Forests, please visit




The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Since its establishment, the System has grown to include more than 200 rivers nationwide.