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Re: E-M:/ SHAME -MNRTF Board of Trustees Sets Special Meeting for November 9

Doug and Jack,

I agree, parks are not just threatened in our state--they are downright endangered. Michigan seems to have declared open season on these special lands set aside as parkland.

Jack, congratulations to Friends of Rouge Park on what must have been a very uphill battle. It sounds like the Detroit Parks and Rec department cared and listened to what residents had to say.

In answer to Doug's question:

Voting to destroy Jean Klock Park and turn it into a private golf course were: Keith Charters, Frank Torre, Bob Garner. The motion to convert was made by Charters, seconded by Torre.

The Mich Natural Resources Trust Fund board members and their contact information can be found on this DNR website:


Chair Sam Washington did not vote.

From the governor's press release, Sept 12, 2006:

Robert J. Garner of Cadillac.  Mr. Garner is appointed to represent the general public for a term expiring October 1, 2009.  He succeeds Keith Charters who has resigned.

Charters must have been quietly appointed to the seat that Garner had. It's interesting though that there is no mention of that appointment on the michigan.gov website that I can tell and no end date on Mr. Charter's term on the DNR's website.

Garner and Charters switched positions on the board, one representing the Natural Resources Commission, the other representing the public. Both Charters and Garner also serve on the NRC.

Torre is an owner of the landscape management firm Torre and Bruglio tha also manages golf courses:


Charters sits on all 3 citizen commissions concerning parks and natural resources: Citizens Committee on Michigan State Parks, Natural Resources Commission and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
He chairs the NRC. He was reappointed to that body this past February.

The NRC hires the DNR director. The Trust fund gives out grants, an increasing number of which go to the DNR. (see MRPA executive director's comments about this earlier in the year in the MNRTF minutes).

By statute, one seat on the Trust fund is to go to someone on the NRC.
Right now the two commissions share two individuals: Charters and Garner.

Lana Pollack and Mary Brown are the only women on the trust fund or NRC.

We need reform.

Mr. Charters was also invited to attend, along with plenty of other state agency folks from the DEQ, DNR, etc to an "executive leadership" Harbor Shores meeting back in March 2006.

The Trust Fund board's vote on October 18 was contingent upon four conditions that still must be met, including the terms of a lease agreement that would need approval by DNR staff. The public deserves to see the language of that lease.

The public also deserves to see the appraisals for the Jean Klock Park properties... the park was valued at $881,000. For 22 acres on Lake Michigan.


LuAnne Kozma
Defense of Place

Doug Cowherd <dcow2@yahoo.com> wrote:
Jack, I'm also appalled at the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board members who voted to allow a private golf course to displace sand dunes on Lake Michigan in Benton Harbor's Jean Klock Park.  This points out the serious threat to public parks, both at the State and municipal levels.

Could you list the MNRTF Board members who voted for this shameful proposal, which Governor appointed them, and the address at which they can be reached by email or mail?

Doug Cowherd
Chair, Sierra Club-Huron Valley Group

----- Original Message ----
From: "Smileysmlc@aol.com" <Smileysmlc@aol.com>

DNR officials and the Trustees of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund should be ashamed of themselves fo[snip]r violating the public trust and allowing the destruction of Jean Klock Park in Benton Harbor.  The lack of backbone exhibited by DNR officials and Trust Fund Trustees is truly appalling.  Had Tom Washington been alive, I highly doubt that he would have succumbed to the short-sighted political deal which was behind this "conversion".


Jack Smiley
Executive Director
Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy

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