SENATE BILL NO. 1191

September 28, 2022, Introduced by Senator RUNESTAD and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources.

A bill to amend 1994 PA 451, entitled

"Natural resources and environmental protection act,"

by amending sections 72101, 72110a, and 72115 (MCL 324.72101, 324.72110a, and 324.72115), sections 72101 and 72115 as amended by 2016 PA 288 and section 72110a as amended by 2014 PA 213.

the people of the state of michigan enact:

Sec. 72101. As used in this part:

(a) "Advisory council" means the Michigan trails advisory council created in section 72110.

(b) "Council" means a trail management council established pursuant to section 72106.

(c) "Department" means the department of natural resources.

(d) "Director" means the director of the department or his or her designee.

(e) "Equine access locations" means open access roads, management roads, forestry access roads, 2-track and single-track trails that are not wildlife paths, staging areas for pack and saddle animals to be dropped off or picked up, and associated wilderness campsites.

(e) (f) "Forest road" means that term as defined in section 81101.

(f) (g) "Fund" means the Pure Michigan Trails fund created in section 72109.

(g) (h) "Governmental agency" means the federal government, a county, city, village, or township, or a combination of any of these entities.

(i) "Pack and saddle trails" means trails and equine access locations that may be used by pack and saddle animals.

(h) (j) "Pure Michigan Trail" means a trail designated as a "Pure Michigan Trail" under section 72103.

(i) (k) "Pure Michigan Water Trail" means a water trail designated as a "Pure Michigan Water Trail" under section 72103.

(j) (l) "Pure Michigan Trail Town" means a "Pure Michigan Trail Town" designated under section 72104.

(k) (m) "Rail-trail" means a former railroad bed that is in public ownership and used as a trail.

(l) (n) "Statewide trail network" means the statewide trail network established in section 72114.

(m) (o) "Trail" means a right-of-way adapted to foot, horseback, motorized, equestrian, or other nonmotorized travel or to motorized travel. Trail also includes a water trail.

(n) (p) "Water trail" means a designated route on a body of water.

Sec. 72110a. (1) The equine trails subcommittee is created as a subcommittee of the advisory council. The equine trails subcommittee is renamed the equestrian trails subcommittee. The department may provide staffing and administrative support to the equine equestrian trails subcommittee. The equine equestrian trails subcommittee may also be staffed and funded by user groups and other interested persons.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), the equine equestrian trails subcommittee shall consist of the following 5 members representing the equine industry and appointed by the director:

(a) One individual representing the state's tourism industry.

(b) Five individuals representing the equine industry as follows:

(a) (i) One individual from the Upper Peninsula.

(b) (ii) One individual from the northern Lower Peninsula.

(c) (iii) One individual from the central Lower Peninsula.

(d) (iv) One individual from the southeastern Lower Peninsula.

(e) (v) One individual from the southwestern Lower Peninsula.

(3) The senate majority leader and the speaker of the house of representatives shall each submit a list of 3 persons to the director. The director shall appoint at least 1 person from each of those lists to the equine equestrian trails subcommittee.

(4) Members of the equine equestrian trails subcommittee shall serve for terms of 4 years or until a successor is appointed, whichever is later, except that, of the members first appointed, 2 shall serve for 2 years, 2 shall serve for 3 years, and 2 shall serve for 4 years.

(5) If a vacancy occurs on the equine equestrian trails subcommittee, an appointment for the unexpired term shall be made in the same manner as the original appointment.

(6) A member of the equine equestrian trails subcommittee may be removed for incompetency, dereliction of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office, or any other good cause.

(7) The first meeting of the equine equestrian trails subcommittee shall be called by the department within 30 days after the appointments have been made. At the first meeting, the equine equestrian trails subcommittee shall elect from among its members a chairperson and other officers as it considers necessary or appropriate. After the first meeting, the equine equestrian trails subcommittee shall meet at least quarterly, or more frequently at the call of the chairperson or if requested by 3 or more members.

(8) A majority of the members of the equine equestrian trails subcommittee constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at a meeting of the equine equestrian trails subcommittee. A majority of the members present and serving are required for official action of the equine equestrian trails subcommittee.

(9) The business that the equine trails subcommittee may perform shall be conducted at a public meeting of the equine trails subcommittee held in compliance with the open meetings act, 1976 PA 267, MCL 15.261 to 15.275.

(9) (10) A writing prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by the equine equestrian trails subcommittee in the performance of an official function is subject to the freedom of information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246.

(10) (11) Members of the equine equestrian trails subcommittee shall serve without compensation. However, subject to the availability of funding, members of the equine equestrian trails subcommittee may be reimbursed for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties as members of the equine equestrian trails subcommittee.

(11) (12) The equine equestrian trails subcommittee shall do all of the following:

(a) Prepare and submit to the advisory council a recommended plan for a statewide network of pack and saddle trails. The recommended plan for a statewide pack and saddle trails network shall include both of the following:

(i) All pack and saddle trails on state owned land that have previously been open for use by pack and saddle animals at any time and that the equine trails subcommittee determines are appropriate for pack and saddle trails.

(ii) All additional state lands that the equine trails subcommittee determines would be appropriate for pack and saddle animals and would contribute to a statewide network of pack and saddle trails.

(b) Advise advise the advisory council and the department on all of the following:

(a) The development and use of the pack and saddle equestrian trails network.

(c) Advise the advisory council and the department on other

(b) Other matters related to the promotion of the state's equine industry.

(d) Advise the advisory council and the department on funding to conduct pack and saddle trail reviews under section 72115and to provide

(c) Funding for the reopening of previously closed pack and saddle equestrian trails, the preservation of existing pack and saddle equestrian trails, and the development of new pack and saddle equestrian trails across this state.

Sec. 72115. (1) An individual shall not use an equine on state-owned land except where authorized. However, an individual may use an equine in an area in which public hunting is permitted to retrieve legally harvested deer, bear, or elk using the most direct route that does not enter a stream, river, or wetland except over a bridge, culvert, or similar structure.

(2) (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3) and (4), , pack and saddle animals shall be allowed to access pack and saddle trails on public land managed by the department as follows:all of the following apply to equestrian use of trails:

(a) Access It is authorized on land of the state forest system is allowed unless restricted prohibited by statute, deed restriction, land use order, or other legal mechanism , in effect on April 2, 2010.

(b) Access It is prohibited on land of the state park system or state game area system is prohibited unless authorized by land use order or other legal mechanism in effect on April 2, 2010.

(c) Access on On other land managed by the department, it is allowed according subject to the specific authorization or restriction prohibition applicable to the land.

(3) (2) Access by pack and saddle animals may only be restricted on lands described in subsection (1) after April 2, 2010 The department may prohibit equestrian use otherwise authorized under subsection (2) if conditions are not suitable for pack and saddle animals equestrian use because of public safety concerns, issues, necessary maintenance, or for reasons related to the mission of the department. Restrictions A prohibition related to the mission of the department shall must be supported, to the greatest extent practicable, by a written science-based rationale that is supported with documentation that is made available to the public. Prior to Before determining that access by pack and saddle animals equestrian use be restricted, prohibited under this subsection, the department shall must make every effort to resolve any public safety or maintenance concerns issues or other issues related to the mission of the department. Subject to subsection (3), (4), the department shall not restrict pack and saddle animals from lands described in subsection (1) prohibit equestrian use of trails under this subsection unless all of the following conditions are met:

(a) The department holds a public meeting on a the proposal to restrict access by pack and saddle animals on pack and saddle trails to receive testimony from the general public. The department shall invite the advisory council and the equine equestrian trails subcommittee created in section 72110a to attend the meeting.

(b) The department , makes its determination after considering testimony at the meeting under subdivision (a) , and provides a specific rationale for its the determination to restrict access by pack and saddle animals.prohibit equestrian use.

(c) Any decision by the department to restrict access by pack and saddle animals shall not take effect for a A period of time set by the department, but not less than 60 days, elapses since the department determined to prohibit equestrian use. However, if the director determines that a restriction prohibition must be imposed because of user conflicts or due to an imminent threat to public health, safety, welfare, or to natural resources or the environment, the director may issue a temporary order restricting access by pack and saddle animals that takes immediate effect and prohibits equestrian use for 30 days or until the threat or user conflict is abated, whichever occurs first. A temporary order under this subdivision may be reissued if the threat or user conflict persists.

(d) A written statement shall be is posted at the trailhead in of the trail for which the restriction prohibition is imposed stating the cause reason for and estimated duration of the closure.prohibition.

(e) A list of pack and saddle trails on which the department has, restricted access for pack and saddle animals, including temporary orders, shall be by temporary or permanent order, prohibited equestrian use under this subsection is posted on the department's website and notification shall be of the prohibition is provided to the equine equestrian trails subcommittee. created in section 72110a.

(3) Any restrictions described in subsection (1) on access by pack and saddle animals that were in effect on April 2, 2010 shall remain in effect until those restrictions are reviewed using the process under subsection (2).

(4) An individual shall not use pack and saddle animals on state-owned land except on pack and saddle trails that are open for access by pack and saddle animals. However, an individual may use a pack and saddle animal in an area in which public hunting is permitted to retrieve legally harvested deer, bear, or elk using the most direct route that does not enter a stream, river, or wetland except over a bridge, culvert, or similar structure.

(4) If, as of the effective date of the amendatory act that added subsection (5), a trail was posted by the department for equestrian use or for equestrian use and hiking, and if the trail was not posted for bicycling, then, unless the department provides otherwise by land use order, both of the following apply:

(a) Only equestrian use or equestrian use and hiking, respectively, are authorized on the trail.

(b) The department shall post at each trailhead of the trail a sign or placard that provides notice that use of the trail by bicyclists is prohibited.

(5) If, as of the date of introduction of the bill whose enactment added subsection (5), a trail was posted by the department for equestrian use, hiking, and bicycling, the department may, by land use order, authorize only equestrian use or equestrian use and hiking on the trail. In that case, the department shall post at each trailhead of the trail a sign or placard that provides notice that use of the trail by bicyclists is prohibited.(6) If equestrian use of a campground or part of a campground on land of the state park system or state game area system is authorized as described in subsection (2)(b), the department shall post at the campground or part of the campground where equestrian use is authorized a sign or placard that provides notice of the authorization.