The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is asking the public for recommendations to buy, exchange or sell state land.
They are asking the public for recommendations in several counties in the northern Lower Peninsula including Cheboygan, Missaukee, Kalkaska, Crawford, Otsego and Osceola Counties.
The DNR State Land Review was approved by the State Legislature back in 2018 with the goal of reviewing state-owned land to ensure the land has significant natural resources and provides benefits to the public.
They are reviewing parcels that are 200 acres or less. A majority of the land the DNR manages was acquired through non-payment of taxes over many decades, including during the depression era in the 1930s.
“So, a lot of this we did not go out and purchase and bring into public ownership and it may not have significant natural resources or public benefit to us owning it,” explains the DNR’s Forest Land Administrator, Kerry Heckman.
They hope by going through the process they can use the proceeds from potential sales of parcels. The DNR may also choose to exchange land with a private landowner.
Two of the plots of land they were asking recommendations for was the Traverse City State Park and Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling. However, they have removed those pieces of land from considerations because they know, “without a doubt” that they will retain the land.
“A lot of what we’re looking at are scattered parcels of land. They may be part of the state forest system, they may be part of the state game area. We’re reviewing them to determine if they are beneficial, and if they are, then the recommendation is to retain,” Heckman reports.
They say state park’s, boat launches and access sites as well as trails have been removed from the review because they help the DNR, “accomplish their mission.”
Recommendations are going to DNR Director Shannon Lott for final decisions at their June 8 meeting. The deadline for public comment is June 7.
“It’s a great opportunity for the public to weigh in and make sure they’re comfortable with the decisions we’re making,” Heckman says.