Land Grab Part Deux

DNR-trust-2Tonight at 7pm in Acme Michigan, Wayne Schmidt and company will be selling the reversal of PA240 of 2012.

The premise of HB5210 is that the DNR has finished its “strategic plan,” and that all that PA240 was asking for, was that it:

“required the DNR to create a public land strategy that, when completed and approved by the Legislature, would remove the land cap.”

And it kind of does that.

We’ve heard of walkable, bikeable communities, but this is more of a plan designed to make sure that the entire Upper peninsula is developed in a way that the state owns consecutive acreage across its entire breadth for such things. The scope is quite frankly, monstrous.

Those who voted for the legislation in 2012 might see this as such a good idea however.  One of the parts of HB5210 that its sponsors really want, is the unlimited land acquisition aspect.  Simply because the DNR HAS a plan, does not make it a requirement to lift the caps on land ownership by the state of Michigan.

Lets look at some of the ‘KEY’ highlights of the plan touted as Michigan ‘re-invention.’

  1. DNR-managed public lands support Michigan’s reinvention
  2. Support a timber industry that generated $14 billion for Michigan’s economy in 2012.
  3. Yield timber sales that result in 800,000 cords of wood being harvested annually f or market.
  4. Are the backbone of Michigan’s $17 billion tourism industry (six of Michigan’s top 10 tourist destinations are managed by the DNR).
  5. Hosted 1 million visitor camp nights and 22 million visitors in Michigan state parks in 2012.
  6. Provide more than 12,000 miles of trails and 2,623 miles of rail-trails–the most rail-trails of any state.
  7. Support hunting and fishing opportunities. Hunting and fishing, respectively, generate $1.3 billion and $2 billion for Michigan’s economy, with much of that being driven by easy access to public lands.
  8. Michigan has been designated as a top destination for fly fishing.
  9. Give access to the most diverse portfolio of freshwater fishing in the world.
  10. Provide access to 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas storage capacity in deplet ed oil fields, the greatest volume of any state. Thirteen percent of that capacity is on DNR-managed public lands.
  11. Provide natural benefits such as air pollution removal, water quality protection, wildlife habitat and stormwater management.
  12. Stabilize local property values and promote Michigan’s quality of life.
  13. 1300 boating access sites and 80 public harbors/marinas support Michigan’s $4 billion boating industry

Now lets offer some answers for each of these bullet points

  1. What does this mean? One might argue that Obama ‘re-invented’ the presidency, or that his administration ‘re-invented’ the rule of law.
  2. In what way would Michigan’s timber industry be harmed by private ownership? Private property ownership would encourage even more robust re-treeing and restoration efforts through a profit motive.
  3. Repeat number 2.
  4. DNR manages 6 of 10 top tourist destinations. And would like for it to be 10 of 10 perhaps?
  5. Truthfully, has the management and stewardship of our state parks been realistically analyzed and compared to private operations? State administrative costs and bureaucratic complexities are more often than not, far more costly to implement.
  6. Because the largest freshwater resources, and existing trails are not enough to satisfy the 3% of Michiganians who demand more state land to explore!
  7. These types of statements pretend their are little or NO opportunities to hunt and fish from private land resources.  One other part in the strategic plan is to “create economic opportunities,” yet wouldn’t such things come from actual OWNERSHIP by private entrepreneurs? (who would ALSO pay taxes to local governments)
  8. Nothing needs to change if this is ALREADY the case.
  9. See Number 7
  10. Imagine the new opportunities for storage management. See Number 7
  11. See Number 2.  Private property ownership and forestry management eliminates taxpayer burden.
  12. Actually, the best way to stabilize values is to allow the markets to adjust naturally.  By removing the BEST lands simply removes valuable land from the tax rolls. Elimination of some of those resources can lead to higher local taxes, and LOWERED property values as residents eventually flee or abandon lands.  Distortion of property values ALWAYS follows government limitations on use and acquisitions.
  13. See Number 2.

This is a start to get your questions primed for tonight.

Go through the entire plan if you are curious.  you can download directly from the DNR HERE. Warning – Loads of self important puffery enclosed.

When finished, a good question to ask is “Does this plan justify unending land acquisition by the DNR, a continuing act that adds cost to taxpayers, grows government, and restricts our ability to own large and/or desirable areas in Northern Michigan?”


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  3 comments for “Land Grab Part Deux

  1. tom
    February 17, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    The only note I took was the comment "We are a natural resources economy"...which is based on tourism???...Resources aren't resources unless they are used, as in iron ore, copper, timber and water...

    The implication was that Northern Michigan is a service base for a huge rich folk playground....i.e. one great big statist park....and we get to clean up the litter and pay the state bills...

    You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Jason
      February 17, 2014 at 10:36 pm


      You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(0)

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