Crawford County Reacts to Possible State Purchase of 1,000+ Acres for Recreation

More than 1,000 acres of land in Crawford County could soon be open to the public for recreational use.

The state of Michigan would spend about $3,000,000 to buy the land that’s been owned by the same family for nearly 70 years.

The money comes from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, which gets its funding from the sale and lease of state owned mineral rights.

The land is in Frederic Township just north of Grayling in Crawford County.

More than 1,000 acres in Crawford County could soon be open for public recreation. Good news for businesses like Gates AuSable Lodge.

“It diversifies what we can help people go do when they come here to visit. That’s why I think you saw so many different businesses and groups and areas rally around this,” said owner Josh Greenberg.

The potential for recreational uses include hiking and biking trails, snowmobiling and even fishing. It includes about a mile and a half of the AuSable River.

“That’s why people come here. We often become guest tour guides, we draw a map and say go check out this area and for us, for our fly fishers, we can draw a map and they can have a part of the river they have no experience with,” said Greenberg.  

Buying this property would connect it to other pieces of state land used for recreation. The Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce says the opportunity could bring even more visitors to the area who enjoy spending time up north.

“Grayling, like much of Northern Michigan, is very much based on tourism. We rely on that and the more opportunities we have for our visitors to come and enjoy, the better that is for us,” said Executive Director Traci Cook.  

The Michigan legislature still has to approve the land purchase, which is expected to happen this spring.