If you're like most of us making it through a Michigan winter, you're already dreaming of summer. In the Mitten state that means northbound fun and time on the water, and this year it looks like you'll be able to have a cold one in hand too.

The Huron-Manistee National Forest officials have now said they won’t do an alcohol ban on several northern Michigan rivers this year. In lieu of the ban they plan to promote river etiquette with a program they implemented last year.

In February of last year, the Forest Service proposed an alcohol ban on the AuSable, Manistee, Pine Wild and Scenic Rivers which are federally protected waters. The ban was to address the ongoing challenges associated with excessive alcohol consumption on those waterways, including visitor safety, illegal trespass, harassment of river users, and littering. Those who enjoy their time paddling and tubing on the waterways were more than unhappy and more than 50,000 people signed a petition opposing the ban.

Caving to complaints and dissatisfaction with the ban, the Forest service has decided to cancel the ban this year. Instead they will extend the education program another year along with the Forest Service organizing a working group to explore community actions to promote safe and responsible recreation on the wild and scenic rivers.

Many feel the program may help with the general care of the waterways in the way of littering and conservation, but feel the rowdiness and excessive drinking will still be a summertime challenge. The Forest Service says  they will continue to monitor the education program and may reevaluate after the year is through.

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