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Conservationists worry about plan to cap amount of publicly owned land in Michigan

Pure Michigan

Governor Snyder will soon have to decide if he will sign a bill that would cap the amount of public land the state can own. Some conservationists are suggesting the governor should veto the bill.

The state of Michigan owns millions of acres of public land. The bill would place a cap on the amount of land the state can own. By 2014, the state government would have to come up with a plan for managing public lands. If the legislature doesn’t approve the plan, the cap would stay in place.

Erin McDonough is the executive director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. She says the state needs a plan, not just a cap, to manage its public lands.

“We’re really talking in the state about creating a lot of comprehensive trail systems,” says McDonough.  “People are talking about how valuable and important that is….you have to purchase land sometimes to do that… Having just a number or cap doesn’t make sense when we are looking at our public lands.”

McDonough says they want the governor to veto the bill if he can't commit now to supporting a management plan that won’t be ready for a couple years.

The governor’s office issued a statement saying “The Governor is looking forward to taking a closer look at the bill before he signs it.” The statement also says the governor supports “a comprehensive plan for land management.”


Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.