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Re: E-M:/ Question About State-Owned Land



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Enviro-Mich message from "Tim Flynn" <tflynn@freeway.net>
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Jon and Chris,

This is one of the very large, emerging issues for forest activists in
Michigan.  One I'm afraid I haven't spent much time on.

Land sales are noticed on the DNR calendar, with a contact person listed.
Here's an example:
****
LAND TRANSACTIONS

PURCHASE OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS:  Purchase 170 acres of development rights,
S1/2 of the SW1/4 of Section 16 and part of the NW1/4 of Section 21, T29N,
R10W, Grand Traverse
County; Purchase 152.67 acres of development rights, Part of SW1/4, Sec. 22,
T4N, R4W, Eaton County; Purchase 182.55 acres of development rights, Part of
W1/2 of W1/2, Sec. 26,
and part of N1/2 of N1/2, Sec. 35, T5S, R5E, Lenawee County.  Contact:
David A. Yankee, 517-373-1241.  Decision-maker:  DNR Director.

LAND EXCHANGES:  Exchange 19970220, Private Land Offered: 3.33 acres,
Allegan State Game Area, Allegan County, T2N, R15W, Sec. 2: The E'ly 220
feet of SE1/4 of SE1/4 of NE1/4.
State Land Desired:  3.33 acres, Allegan State Game Area, Allegan County,
T2N, R15W, Sec. 2: The E'ly 220 feet of SW1/4 of SE1/4 of NE1/4; Exchange
19950280, Private Land Offered: 40 acres, Pere Marquette State Forest, Lake
County, T20N, R12W, Sec. 33: NE1/4 of NW1/4.  State Land Desired: 40 acres,
Pere Marquette State Forest, Lake County, T20N, R12W, Sec. 33: NE1/4 of
SE1/4.  Contact:  David A. Yankee, 517-373-1241.  Decision-maker:  DNR
Director.
****
Easy to understand, right, yet this is your only chance to notice a sale or
exchange.   If you miss one or don't have the time to find it on your map,
your out of luck.  There is no official public comment period, nor any
effective public oversight.   This is especially true of local citizen's as
we never find out about a land sale until the development starts, unless we
happen to see it on the calendar.

This is due in part to the DNR's insular culture, the leave it to us
professionals attitude.  In my favorite forest area, two recent sales of
land have taken place without a word of input, no public hearing, for locals
other than the interested parties involved.   One parcel hosted a bear's den
site for over 5 years, it was her favorite den from what I could tell of
it's continue use.   This parcel is now a shooting range!   The other site
is a large continuous block of older hardwoods in the middle of a large
block of public land.  Unfortunately it is high on a hill, and is now
fragmented into a cellular phone tower site, with a superhighway for a road.

I've been involved in every public forum involving these particular forests,
fought to have them declared part the the DNR so call old growth plan, yet I
was never informed of the sales.

The DNR must worry that if those of us that know the most about these sites,
are involve, it may complicate things for them.   Like they might actually
find out that the owners of this land do not want their managers to sell it!

Another part of the problem is the lack of forest wide planning, that could
publicly and intelligently decide, based on ecological, social and economic
criteria, areas that could be traded, areas that need purchased,  and core
areas that should never be lost to the public.   But planning is something
the DNR only plans to do, they "consider" the need to plan, but implementing
a plan is beyond them.

Tim Flynn
>
> I share the same concerns.  Over the last 10 years, I've watched the
> Roscommon State Forest, just west of West Branch, be clear-cut, fragmented
> with roads, and now, sold off to developers (I'm told to Engler's
> brother!!!) who are putting in trailer parks and small housing
> developments.  What gives?  I thought these were public forests.  Can
> anyone shed light on the Roscommon State Forest history?  Doesn't the DNR
> have to go through a public comment period before handing over land to
> private developers?
>
> Confused and Concerned,
>
> Jon Kazmierski
>
>
>
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