Thursday, December 5, 2013

Leases Threathen The Holy Waters

Somewhere around twenty years ago, I caught my first trout on a Royal Coachman Trude just downstream from Burton's Landing, which begins the nine mile stretch of the famed Au Sable River "Holy Waters".  This six inch brown trout, which more or less flew out of the water to devour my dry fly, fully changed my focus with fly fishing.  The rest of that summer, and the next couple summers after, any time I could sneak away from work, you could find me somewhere on one of the Au Sable River branches or the nearby Manistee River. 

I was beyond smitten then with the Holy Waters and continue to be today.  It's part of my angling DNA and it's an area that I will always try to protect even if I live over 900 miles away now.

Below is parts from an email that I received from the Anglers of the Au Sable regarding a large areas of property which have been sold for potential oil and gas development and want to suggest that readers take a few minutes to read through this post and then visit the Anglers website for more background information as well.

Excerpts from the Anglers of the Au Sable email blast...

In late October, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources auctioned nearly 2,800 acres in and near the Au Sable Holy Waters corridor (between the Whirlpool and Thendara) for potential oil and gas development. Most if not all of these leases were purchased by Encana, the Canadian company which is using massive amounts of water for deep-fracking wells in the Manistee River basin.

A number of these proposed leases could allow surface wells, pumping stations, and pipelines. Many of these parcels are in the Rayburn Tract. This wonderful piece of state land was once private, and slated for development. Only the efforts of dedicated conservationists prevented condominium development on the parcel, and allowed it to become public land, accessible to all.
We urged the DNR not to lease these lands. They did it anyway.

There’s one more opportunity to stop this. A few minutes of your time could really help.  
While the auction is complete, the final decision on whether or not to finalize the leases will come on December 12. Before that comes to pass, please let DNR Director Keith Creagh know that you support leaving the Holy Waters undeveloped. Personalized letters are best. Form letters are not helpful.

As late as November 25th, we met with DNR Director Creagh, and requested that he not authorize these new Holy Water leases.  At this meeting he requested letters from our membership supporting our position.

Please send an email to  Also, if you copy us on your communications to Director Creagh, we can hand-deliver all member comments to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission on December 12 where the final decision on the leases will be made. To do so, send a copy of your communications to

Finally, we can’t tell you what to write and we suspect emotions among many members will run high because of this news. But it is most helpful if your communications to the DNR are professional and well-reasoned rather than emotional rants.

Thank you for your consideration – and for your dedication to the Au Sable River.  Rusty would be proud.

There are a lot of requests for your time for various conservation projects but please consider sending an email voicing your opinion on this and ask that this area not be developed for oil and gas production.  This area deserves protection for so many reasons.

Please visit the Anglers of the Au Sable website for more information.


riverwalker34 said...

Better look further up the chain of command too. Some idiot legislator.

David Knapp said...

Email sent. Thanks for the heads up.