January 14, 2015

DNR Leaders’ Rejection of Proposed Huge Public Lands Sell-Off Praised by Sierra Club

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     More information:
Wednesday, January 14, 2015                   Marvin Roberson, 906-360-0288
                                                                    Anne Woiwode, 517-974-2112

DNR Leaders’ Rejection of Proposed Huge  Public Lands Sell-Off Praised by Sierra Club
Recommendation Affecting 10,000-Plus Acres Now Goes to DNR Director

Sierra Club today applauded a recommendation yesterday from top officials at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reject the controversial proposed sale or lease of more than 10,000 acres of public lands in the Upper Peninsula.

The recommendation Tuesday from six DNR division heads to DNR Director Keith Creagh comes ahead of a possible February decision by the Natural Resources Commission on the proposed sale to the Canadian manufacturing conglomerate, Graymont.  The DNR officials, in a letter to Creagh, cited concerns about wetlands impacts, opposition from tribal governments and uncertainty over economic benefits to the state.  The proposed $2.9 million purchase, lease and options to buy 10,457 acres of public land by Graymont would constitute the largest sell-off of DNR lands in the state’s history.

“Michigan’s public lands like this are too valuable to sell off--and to do so for a few million dollars in short-term benefits would be tantamount to theft,” said Anne WoiwodeSierra Club Michigan Chapter Conservation Director.  “It’s encouraging to see the DNR’s top officials recommending against this sale and we urge Director Creagh to put a permanent halt to this ill-conceived proposal.”

Marvin RobersonSierra Club Forest Ecologist, said the DNR land that Graymont wants to buy and lease includes ecologically important parcels in Luce and Mackinac counties.

“Not only is this an extremely large piece of land to consider selling and more than 20 times larger than any previous sale, it is prime forest land,” said Roberson. “DNR staff have identified this very piece of land as some of the most valuable in the state for both habitat and timber purposes. Our state leaders should not be considering selling it.”

A copy of the letter from DNR division chiefs to DNR Director Creagh is here: