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DNR conducting land review

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is conducting a land review this week. Brad Carlson of the Forest Resources Division says that most of the land throughout the Copper Country came into the state’s possession through tax reversion. Once the mining boom began to dry up, private companies let the property go.

Significant tracts of real estate will be looked at, including over 2,000 acres in Houghton County alone. Carlson says in many cases it doesn’t make sense to get rid of what the state owns.

Some parcels are in a sea of commercial forest land, which are open to hunting and fishing, so it would make sense for the state to divest those parcels.

If land is not retained, it can be exchanged or disposed of. Carlson explains why property transfers can be beneficial for everyone involved.

We’re going to hold onto it and try to exchange it and get other lands that try to straighten out our boundaries a little better, so we don’t have such a large public-private boundary interface.

Carlson describes the land review as taking inventory and says the State of Michigan needs to trim its assets like any private company would.

The process will be watched carefully by groups like the Keweenaw ATV Club. As ownership of lands changes hands, that forces the organization to come to an agreement with the new property holders to allow access to trails for summer and winter recreational activities. The club is particularly concerned about a large property sale that is ongoing in northern Keweenaw County. There has been some talk among group members and area legislators that the New York hedge fund involved would be amenable to doing an exchange for property in Baraga County that the state owns. The DNR has not given any indication that such a transaction is planning on being discussed this week.

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