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One if By Land: The Legislative Ground Assault on Pure Michigan

May 14, 2012
A Michigan Distilled blog post

So much of what makes Pure Michigan so pure starts with our land—the miles of forests, the majestic dunes, the undeveloped trout streams and backcountry trails. Without the incredible Great Lakes landscapes that define us, we’d just be another Indiana, Ohio or Missouri. And because land use issues are generally pretty complicated affairs, it’s a stealth assault that doesn’t garner headlines.

So, here’s a quick rundown on a few of the most alarming new attacks:

1. The State Land Cap

If you look at a map of public lands in the state, it’s clear there’s lots more state-owned (e.g. accessible to you and me) forests, river corridors and recreational areas in the northern half of the state. That’s partly why we call it Up North.

But Senator Tom Casperson and some of his allies in the legislature have decided that the North Country has enough land. To stop the state from buying more, their plan is that the rest of us should do without. They are successfully pushing Senate Bill 248 to put a cap on the total amount of land the state can own. That upper limit—you guessed it—would only be slightly higher the amount of land the state already owns today.

That means if the state has the chance to buy some new acres of pristine Lake Michigan beachfront, add space to a crowded Southeast Michigan state park, or acquire some new recreational land near Grand Rapids, it would first have to sell some forests or recreational land Up North. And despite what Casperson and his buddies seem to think, most northern folks we talk to aren’t all too eager to give up their wild places so that downstaters can have more public land close to home. Which means the rest of us trolls would just have to keep filling our gas tanks and trekking to Casperson Country if we want to play in Pure Michigan.

Want to take action?
The bill has passed the Senate so attention shifts to the House.
Call Representative Frank Foster (Chair of the Natural Resources committee, 517-373-2629) and your own representative. Ask them to support public land in all of Michigan by voting no on SB 248, the land cap bill.

You might also call Senator Tom Casperson, (517) 373-7840 and ask him to please stop attacking public land opportunities and responsible land management throughout Michigan.

Read the rest of the story on Michigan Distilled


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