Pickerel Lake
Pickerel Lake In the Pinckney Recreation Area

Let’s hear what you think about the future of state public lands……

Governor Snyder has tasked the Department of Natural Resources with developing a public land management strategy which will assist regions in meeting their prosperity goals.  The plan is a requirement under a law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder last year that capped how much land the DNR can own.  The DNR has drafted a strategy and wants to hear from you.

I attended a regional meeting last week that provided an interactive discussion on our region’s priority community, economic, and environmental strategies that are impacted and enhanced by public land resources (state parks, recreation areas, access, and game areas).  We discussed the main strategies in the draft plan–the pros and cons, what is missing, the challenges to meet them, and how to have better collaboration.

To summarize:  “The draft land use strategy calls for improved access on DNR-managed public lands and, for the first time, sets a standard for public access to the Great Lakes and rivers. The draft plan also includes a new strategy for the possible disposal of approximately 250,000 acres of DNR-managed public lands and promotes increased opportunities in southern Michigan. The plan also discusses objectives to grow Michigan’s natural resources-based economy through the use of DNR-managed public lands.”

The highpoints for me are:

1. Improved management and greater collaboration are needed and I welcome the emphasis!

2. Increasing public land opportunities and/or access and recreation in Southern MI, where the greatest population lives, makes sense and supports HRWC RiverUp! efforts.

3. The word BIODIVERSITY is missing and given the current threats (see earlier blog Forests and Waters At-Risk in Michigan) I worry about an overly strong emphasis on timber and mining where the economic benefits are more easily quantified than biodiversity and habitat protection.

The Huron River Watershed is lucky to have a wealth of state public lands from Highland to Proud Lake State Rec. Areas and from Island Lake to Pinckney State Rec. Areas.  If you use these lands and care about the future of them please review the DNR strategy and comment!