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Re: E-M:/ Action Alert: Stop Michigan state park sale bills

Andrew, those are thoughtful comments.  The lesser of 100 acres or 15% of a public park may not sound like much in some situations.  But there are many valuable parks for which this amount of property would constitute a great temptation for government officials to turn over public land to developers.
I've found that many seem to view parkland as a temporary land bank, available to them to convert to cash or a development project as they wish.  Given the benefits the private sector can offer those in the public sector, there's great danger in allowing park land sales to be easy and relatively undisclosed. 
Doug Cowherd
Chair, Sierra Club-Huron Valley Group

Andrew Mutch <andrewimutch@yahoo.com> wrote:
Enviro-Mich message from Andrew Mutch

While these Senate bills are well-intentioned, as
LuAnne points out, they include huge loopholes which
could do more damage to our parks system than Russ
Harding's original proposal, which called for the sale
of 14 of our 97 state parks.

The worst of the provisions are those dealing with the
sale of parkland less than 100 acres or 15% of the
total park acreage. The proposed language would allow
the sale of state park property up to 100 acres or 15%
of the total park acreage, whichever is less, 60 days
after providing notice to the Legislature. That's it.
No other public notice or input is required.

100 acres/15% might not sound like much when
discussing the Porcupine Mountains 59000+ acres. But
consider the impact on popular parks like Mackinac
Island State Park (1800 acres) or Holland State Park
(142 acres) or Saugatuck Dunes (1000 acres). Besides
being popular with Michigan residents and visitors
alike, all three are located in areas where there's
extreme demand for lakefront access and development.
Imagine what developers would promise in dollars to
the DNR to secure 14 acres of lakefront property in
Holland or 100 acres of land on Mackinac Island or at
Saugatuck Dunes? Are we ready to allow our State Parks
to be parceled off to the highest bidder without even
public input?

Can we really support a process that could allow such
deals to go through with only the bare minimum of
legislative oversight? Don't our parks and our
residents deserve better? As LuAnne asked, don't our
parks deserve permanent protection, not an expedited
process to sell them off? Good intentions can lead to
bad legislation and while these proposals are a start
in the right direction, they have a long ways to go
before they are really meeting the needs of the

Andrew Mutch

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