New DNR land strategy sets priorities, guides actions for 4.6 million acres of public lands

The title – “The Power of Public Lands: Your resources. Our commitment. Michigan’s legacy.” – says it all.

A new strategy for the 4.6 million acres of state forests, parks, trails, game and wildlife areas, and other public lands the Michigan Department of Natural Resources takes care of has been submitted to the Legislature and is now available at Michigan.gov/PublicLands.

The strategy was developed over the past 18 months through a collaborative process that included multiple opportunities for the public and stakeholders statewide to get involved and help shape the final document. The new land strategy will be implemented between 2021 and 2027, following consideration and approval by the Legislature, and sets priorities and guides actions for the best use of this large DNR-managed public land base to benefit Michigan residents and visitors and the state’s natural resources.

Goals outlined in the public land strategy include:

— Protecting natural and cultural resources.

— Providing access to outdoor public recreation opportunities.

— Performing responsible natural resources management.

“These goals are important to the health and well-being of Michigan residents – the people who own these public lands – as well as to the quality of life in our state, and our heritage and identity as Michiganders,” said Scott Whitcomb, DNR senior advisor for wildlife and public lands.

“Accomplishing them will ensure that people of all abilities will have diverse and accessible opportunities to hunt, camp, fish, hike, ride trails, and connect with nature and history in ways that are unique to Michigan. It will mean high-quality, resilient natural resources that support fish and wildlife populations and sustainable resource-based industries like forest products and the capacity to explore and support renewable energies.”

Thoughtful, responsible management of Michigan’s public lands yields many important results:

— Drawing millions of visitors and supporting local economies through recreation and tourism.

— Supplying 20% of timber to the forest products industry.

— Providing hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities, which contribute billions to the economy.

— Protecting Michigan’s distinguished and treasured hunting traditions.

— Partnering on urban revitalization centered around access to the outdoors.

The public land strategy provides a wealth of additional information on why public lands matter. It also includes details about the history of DNR-managed public lands, tools the DNR employs to manage a large public land base and a strategic approach to land acquisitions.

This updated land strategy seeks to align and leverage divisional and department-wide strategies and priorities to set a comprehensive, coherent direction for the DNR to effectively manage the public lands that set Michigan apart today and years into the future.

More information about the strategy and DNR-managed public lands can be found at Michigan.gov/PublicLands.


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