Monday, January 16, 2012

Hunters, anglers, pack Alpena town hall to oppose Casperson's Land Cap

From the Michigan League of Conservation Voters

ALPENA -- A Jan. 13, 2012, article from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters reports that On Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, State Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) presented his public land bill to a room full of hunters and anglers at a town hall meeting in Alpena, Mich.

The article states, "This town hall wasn’t about just any bill; it was about SB 248, the Land Cap Bill, which would restrict the amount of land available for hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and hiking. The citizens at this town hall proved that conservation is not a partisan issue, and that protecting and preserving land for public use transcends party politics."*

The article notes that, in addition to members of the League of Conservation Voters, this town hall was attended by a large group from Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) as well as representatives from Trout Unlimited, the Pigeon River Country Association, the Quality Deer Management Association, horseback riding groups and township administrators.

"The Land Cap Bill would require the state to sell land if it wanted to purchase more after it reached the cap," the article explains. "If a parcel became available in southern Michigan, where there is currently little public land, the DNR would have to sell off land somewhere else, likely in the Upper Peninsula, where timber, paper, and mining companies could acquire it cheaply."

Since Casperson refuses to exempt Natural Resources Trust Fund land from the cap, his bill "would also eliminate the primary purpose of the Natural Resources Trust Fund, which is to purchase state land for recreation," the article adds.**

While he tried to counter citizens' concerns about the Trust Fund by saying it is protected by the Michigan Constitution, Casperson "failed to mention that a constitutional amendment he proposed would use the Trust Fund to build logging and mining roads on state land," the article says.***

* Click here to read the whole article from the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.
** Click here to read about the State Senate vote on this bill last June.
***Read about this proposed amendment.

Click here to see You Tube videos of this town hall meeting.

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