EAST LANSING (AP) - Michigan State University has lifted a ban on fishing along parts of the Red Cedar River on its East Lansing campus that dates back to the 1940s.
The change was approved earlier this month by the university's Board of Trustees, the Lansing State Journal reported. It came after a push by conservation groups and a member of the state's Natural Resources Commission.
The ban still exists in places. The school will allow fishing on the portion of the riverbanks from the western edge of campus to the Kalamazoo Street bridge, which crosses the Red Cedar River just north of the Spartan statue, and for a trial period of three years.
"It always struck me as odd and unfortunate that a great university with such a great (fisheries) program didn't allow fishing on campus," said Bryan Burroughs, executive director of Michigan Trout Unlimited and an alumnus of the university.
Doing so, he added "meshes well with the idea that it's a land-grant university, property that was given to the college to use for the public benefit."
Coho and Chinook salmon run up the Red Cedar River in the fall, steelhead in the spring. There also are largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegills and sunfish and walleye in the river.
"I like to fish, but I was opposed to it," said Fred Poston, the university's vice president for finance and operations, "because I didn't want people casting flies mixed in with people laying on the grass."
The ban ran at least as far back as the 1940s, he said. The university has fought for it in court.
"But as we looked at the map, there was a large section of river there that was fundamentally unused," Poston said. "The trustees and the president looked at it real hard and decided, `We're not using it. Why not?"'
The river itself is relatively clean, according to Jo Latimore, a lake, stream and watershed management outreach specialist in the school's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. It is vastly improved from the 1960s and early 1970s, when algal blooms turned it green.
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