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E-M:/ Lake Michigan Federation opposition to South Fox exchange proposal

The Lake Michigan Federation, which is the oldest citizen-based Great Lakes
advocacy organization in the country, has gone on record as strongly
opposing the proposed land exchange on South Fox Island.  This brings the
total number of organizations who officially oppose the exchange to 15 (the
other 14 were listed in a 9/10/01 posting on enviro-mich). 

A copy of LMF's letter is attached below.  At its outset, LMF notes that
"[t]he tremendous ecological value of Great Lakes islands on a global scale
is only now beginning to be understood."  After discussing the unique values
of South Fox Island's ecology, LMF states that "[t]he proposed recipient of
this property has demonstrated a disregard for sound management of this
habitat through use of all-terrain vehicles and horses on the dunes.  In
addition, the proposed recipient has undertaken the destruction of dunes for
private use without seeking required permits. . . . These precedents
indicate that an exchange would not result in management of the land in an
ecologically sound manner."

LMF's letter also observes that "the swap of this land would severely hinder
access to popular portions of the island, resulting in an abandonment of
MDNR's responsibilities to the public", and expresses concern about the
precedent the exchange would set for disregarding the types of deed
restrictions upon which the legal integrity of almost all conservation
easements depend.

At the letter's end, LMF notes that "there has been no compelling argument
made that this swap will provide a public benefit.  No public,
membership-based organization has supported the transfer of this valuable
public land into the ownership of a single individual."