Article Posted: February 11, 2002

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director K.L. Cool
today approved the purchase of more than 3,000 acres in the
Keweenaw Peninsula from the Michigan Chapter of the Nature
Cool's decision, announced at the Michigan Natural Resources
Commission's regular monthly meeting in Lansing, marked the
final procedural step in obtaining the property. This
pristine acreage will now be used for public recreation, and
held in the public trust in perpetuity.
The Keweenaw property was selected for state acquisition in
September by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund
Board. The Board is responsible for oversight of the
Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, which provides
financial assistance to the DNR and local governments for
the acquisition of land for resource protection and public
recreation, and the development of public outdoor recreation
facilities. The state Legislature approved the $5 million
appropriation in September.
The Nature Conservancy served as a third-party broker in the
process, supplying the $5 million needed to purchase the
property from International Paper in January. The Nature
Conservancy will also cover nearly $400,000 in interest
costs related to the purchase. TNC State Director Helen
Taylor addressed NRC members Thursday evening, outlining the
environmental and social importance of the property.
A second, $7.5 million transaction to obtain an adjoining
3,265 acres, is planned for the 2002 MNRTF application
cycle. Ultimately, 6,275 acres will become part of the State
Forest, and will include 14 miles of protected Lake Superior
shoreline boasting trout streams, waterfalls, and unique
"I am proud of the partnership that made this acquisition
possible," Cool said. "The Keweenaw Peninsula embodies the
rich, untapped wild areas associated with Upper Peninsula
recreation. This property will be a popular destination for
those who enjoy Michigan's special places, and it would not
have been possible without help from the Nature Conservancy
and International Paper. We should all be proud that this
property will be available for future generations to enjoy."
The NRC approved a proposal from DNR staff to provide
additional youth bear hunting opportunities. Bear hunter
groups throughout the state expressed concern that the
lottery and preference-point system now used to allocate
bear hunting permits hinders the opportunity to introduce
young hunters to the sport.
Beginning with the 2002 bear season, successful applicants
will be allowed to transfer their drawing success to any
youth 12 to 16 years of age, or to any person of legal
hunting age with a terminal illness. The recipient of the
transfer must have applied for a current-year bear license
and have been unsuccessful in the drawing. The recipient's
preference points will remain the same, and the donating
party's preference points will return to zero.
Director Cool approved a proposal to implement a statewide
policy for extraction of sand and gravel on state-owned
lands. Historically, this extraction has been done under the
authority of a permit issued by local land managers. The
statewide policy prescribes how and when mining operations
will be allowed, provides unified requirements for site
reclamation, use of a permit or a lease as the governing
contract document, and determining fair market value of the
For details about DNR or NRC actions, see the DNR Web site
The next regular meeting of the Natural Resources Commission
is March 7-8 in Lansing

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