Happy trails, not red tape, should greet groups Up North
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is pricing our forests right out of the reach of groups that enjoy the Great North Woods.
In St. Helen, new DNR administrative rules at first raised the permit fee for the Dual Sport Bike Ride Toys for Kids event from $75 last year to $800 this year.
Other charity events and club outings have reported similar shocks when they applied for permits this year.
Not exactly a warm welcome for tourists.
Special permits and fees are reasonable for large gatherings on our public lands. The permits help officials keep track of large groups, and the fees help cover any costs to the state.
But a bloated DNR bureaucracy has inflated the fees for some charity and club events way beyond reason.
An application for a permit can take 90 days or more. In that time, it may cross a dozen desks Up North and in Lansing, and receive at least seven signatures.
Honestly, is this folderol necessary?
Keep the permit-approval process in the DNR's local offices. They know most of these groups, their activities and their needs.
Charge them a nominal fee, or more if DNR staff members are needed to help with the event.
People who want to enjoy our northern forests and spend their money in our towns should be greeted with happy trails ahead.
Not tripped, tangled and ticked off with tons of red tape.
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