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Re: E-M:/ DNR's take on South Fox exchange proposal

Enviro-Mich message from "Lynn Livingston" <redwingnut@sprintmail.com>

----- Original Message -----
From: "Upton, Brian" <BUPTON@mail.gtbindians.com>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2001 10:16 AM
Subject: E-M:/ DNR's take on South Fox exchange proposal

> Attached is a link to a forum piece by DNR official George Burgoyne which
> appeared in Saturday's (12/2) Traverse City Record-Eagle.  Mr. Burgoyne's
> assertion that the Indian land claims would not be affected regardless of
> whether or not the state owns the land is not legally correct.  But then
> also calls endangered species (piping plover) recovery a "federal
> responsibility", which is an alarming characterization from the State of
> Michigan's purported natural resource stewards.  His description of Mr.
> Johnson as a would-be friend of the plover also artfully skirted how Mr.
> Johnson and/or his guests/staff have long used ATV's on the plover habitat
> at the south tip of the Island.  That being said, Mr. Burgoyne's column
> not surprise anyone on this list-serve.
> With respect to the latest mutation of the proposed South Fox Island land
> exchange, the rush job which the DNR is putting on this exchange is
> reflected in the fact that, as others have reported on this list-serve, it
> lists the proposed exchange as involving only 218.8 acres when in fact it
> would involve over 240 acres of state land (we will have to confirm
> Johnson would be giving the state the 240 acre amount, or just the
> 218.8 acres).  I went through DNR property descriptions, including deeds,
> and confirmed the discrepancy which had already been reported by highly
> reliable sources.  Even the information prepared by the DNR for the
> NRC meeting reports only 218.8 acres.   How could the DNR miss over 20
> in a highly controversial proposal for exchange of public lands which
> include globally-rare perched dune communities?   We hope to find out at
> this Thursday's Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing when the
> is asked to consider and approve the exchange proposal.  The meeting is in
> the Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Avenue, and public comment is
> to begin at about 4:30pm.
> http://www.record-eagle.com/2001/dec/02fburg.htm

Having followed the proposed land exchange for some time, I find it
particluarly unsettling that the DNR has chosen to "fast track" the latest
proposal from Mr. Johnson, in an obvious attempt to bypass federal
regulations and public review and comment.  The new proposal has not been on
the table long enough for any meaningful review.  In a conversation last
week with a NRC member, he stated that under state law, the state must not
lose value in any land exchange.  I respectively submit that the state may
be the loser here.  The current proposal includes two blocks of perched
dunes on the western side of the island.  The DNR itself classified these
dunes as "globally rare" several years ago.  Yet they are willing to trade
them for some rocky coastline on the northern part of the island.
I fully support land consolidation for better management.  However, the
public must come out the winner in such deals, not the loser.  The current
proposal also will cause a large block of state land to be isolated with no
access but by helicopter.  In addition, the state will get lands that have a
cloudy title.  What value is this to private citizens?  There are several
red flags here that cannot be ignored.  First, why is the state in such a
hurry to approve this proposal?  Second, why is the DNR so intent on
dropping the EIS, unless something has been uncovered that would squelch the
A better proposal would be for the state to purchase the lands that Mr.
Johnson is willing to swap, thereby consolidating ownership in a much better
way for the citizens of Michigan.

Lynn Livingston

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