Natural Resources Commission Approves First Recommendations of Land Consolidation Effort|
The Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) today approved the recommendations for land to retain and dispose of in the first two counties reviewed by a land review team of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) staff. The recommendations, involving land in Berrien and Dickinson counties, are part of the largest effort in Michigan's history consolidate state-owned lands.
"This monumental effort is one of the most important tasks the commission and department will undertake. It ensures that Michigan citizens are getting the most efficient land management from the state," said NRC Chair Keith Charters. "As we move through this review, we will do three things: consolidate the state's land holdings; retain the lands we feel have maximum natural resource, recreational, cultural, or historical potential and should be keep accessible to the public; and partner with local units of governments and other alternative conservation owners to transfer lands into their ownership."
The DNR owns approximately 4.5 million acres of land in Michigan, including 3.8 million acres of state forest land in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The land review is the second phase of a multi-phase process by the DNR to review every parcel of land under state ownership. Local DNR field staff review each parcel and conduct meetings to discuss the plan with the public. The first phase of the land review was to redraw the boundaries of state forests, parks, and game areas. The parcels reviewed by the land review teams fall outside of the new boundaries.
The recommendation approved for Berrien County includes retaining 26 DNR-owned parcels totaling 143.87 acres. The recommendation also calls for disposing of seven parcels totaling 7.84 acres, and offering for alternative conservation owners two parcels totaling 65.37 acres.
The recommendations for Dickinson County include retaining 50 parcels totaling 913.14 acres and disposing of 23 parcels totaling 662.38 acres. No parcels were recommended for alternative conservation owners.
The parcels identified for disposal often are in municipalities or are surrounded by private lands, making them inaccessible to the public for recreation purposes. The parcels will be disposed of through exchange for other land, sold or transferred. Parcels will be offered first to government entities, and then to private conservation entities before being offered to the general public. Proceeds from the sale or exchange will be used to purchase more land that the DNR can use to consolidate land and increase recreational opportunities.
Currently, the land review teams are reviewing or are preparing to review parcels of land in Branch, Cass, Charlevoix, Chippewa, Emmet, Hillsdale, Iron and Leelanau counties.
More information on the land consolidation strategy can be found on the DNR's Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.
The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.