Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Michigan LCV: DNR goes north

By Jack Schmitt, Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Political Director
Posted April 20 on Michigan LCV's Political Week in Review
Reprinted with permission.

Photo © Derek Woodman and courtesy Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently headed north to get public input on their land management plan for Michigan. Meetings took place in Traverse City, Gaylord, Marquette and St. Ignace -- places where smart natural resources management is especially essential for recreation and the economy. A Michigan LCV member who attended the Marquette meeting reported that increased access to recreation, especially for people living around cities, was widely supported, but the way we measure which recreation opportunities people value most is not adequate. Hunting, fishing and snowmobiling are talked about much more than backcountry camping, bird watching or hiking because they require a license or permit. So, costs and benefits are automatically
assigned to those activities, making it easier for the DNR to quantify and favor.

Don’t get me wrong -- we’re all about hunting and fishing and responsible ORV use; but we can’t forget all the recreation opportunities Michiganders love and want more access to that don’t cost money. We run the risk of overlooking the need for access to more biking, hiking, nature-loving activities just because we can’t put a solid number on their benefits. This same question applies to the plan’s favoring of Michigan’s extraction industry. Money coming in from timber harvesting and mineral leasing shouldn’t trump what we are losing out on by promoting extraction of our natural resources.

Yesterday, April 22, the DNR held another meeting in Grand Rapids. The final meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Delta College Planetarium and Learning Center, 100 Center Ave., Bay City.

If you haven't been able to attend a meeting, email your comments to DNRlandplan@michigan.gov.

Click here to read more articles on this week's Michigan LCV Political Week in Review.

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