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Drinking alcohol on some Michigan rivers could cost you $5k or 5 years in prison

Alcohol has been banned on the Manistee River, AuSable River and Pine River. (Photo Courtesy: National Forest Service)

MICHIGAN (WPBN/WGTU) -- If you're caught drinking alcohol on three rivers within the Huron-Manistee National Forests, it could cost you.

The National Forest Service announced Wednesday they will be prohibiting alcohol on the AuSable, Manistee and Pine rivers during the summer.

Between May 24 and September 2 alcohol will be banned on portions of the rivers and within 200 feet of the rivers and if violated could cost a person up to $5,000 in fines or 5 years in prison, which is a maximum penalty.

It affects the AuSable River between Mio Dam Pond and 4001 Canoe Landing, Manistee River between Tippy Dam and the Huron-Manistee National Forests’ Administrative Boundary and Pine River between Elm Flats and Low Bridge.

A Forest Service official said the Forest Services has always had the authority to do this in scenic river sections but has enacted the policy this year due to public safety issues.

Pollution, disturbing fish/wildlife habitat and more people using the areas are the main reasons for putting this into action.

The order does not apply to private land in the river corridor, developed campgrounds within national forest or designated campgrounds, the NFS officials said

“The 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.”

The Forest Service says more people are coming to the rivers every year and they want to ensure safe recreation experience for everyone visiting the national forest.

The initial enforcement is geared towards educating people on safety.

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