News and analysis from The Center for Michigan •
©2015 Bridge Michigan. All Rights Reserved. • Join us online at

Original article URL:

Public sector/Quality of life

U.P. landowners give mixed reviews on land cap

In the wake of the decision by the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder to cap land purchases by the Department of Natural Resources, Bridge contributor Christie Bleck interviewed some residents of the Upper Peninsula — where state ownership of land is quite high — to get their take:

* “I do not want the change and am not happy with it. It is a bad thing for landowners who own or could own land adjacent to large parcels of state-owned land because they could no longer have unfettered access to such parcels. However, the reason that I think it is a bad idea for Michigan is that it would make it more difficult for the state to preserve parcels for general use, to protect vulnerable or especially precious sites and/or to preserve unique wildlife habitat.” — Mike Mayhew, landowner in Marquette County

* “I would like as much land as possible to be put aside for public access and to be environmentally protected in all aspects. Assuming the state is a good steward of the land, there should be no limitations of the land and water they can own.” – Gretchen Preston, landowner in Alger County.

* “I seem to recall hearing about this in some form, but it did not get much play up here or we were gone when it did. Unfettered government ownership of land is as dangerous to freedom as no government ownership. We need to have a Yellowstone National Park, but it should not be the entire state of Wyoming. Marquette County covers 1,800 square miles and approximately 70,000 people live here. I am sure there are places downstate with that many in 18 square miles.

“Government ownership keeps property values high for those lucky enough to have adjacent land, but this keeps the average middle class citizen out of the market. Government ownership is like water; we need some for survival and quality of life, but in moderate amounts. When water comes in a flood widespread destruction and misery result.” – Bob Hanson, Marquette County landowner

* “I’m against it. Flat-out private ownership for development? No. I think our resources are limited and we need to preserve them for future generations to enjoy.” – John Bingel, landowner in Schoolcraft County

* “I think the state should be looking for choice pieces of property, not just willy-nilly going and buying property.” – Gary C. White, landowner in Marquette County

* “Concerning the land-cap legislation, I don’t think it is ever a good idea for the Legislature to try and put a cap on land purchases. They should let professional staff make those decisions and keep politics out of it.” – Ron Sundell, landowner in Marquette County

Christie Bleck has worked for Michigan newspapers, such as the Lansing State Journal and Niles Daily Star, since the mid-1980s. She is now a freelance writer based in Marquette.

3 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. John Saari

    Stewardship, Management, Ownership, etc, of public lands should be mostly by the local Community. Federal and some State ownership of our National Treasurers is required. But we need to decide locally how much quality private owned properties we need for population control and tax income.
    John Saari X-Wexford County Commissioner.

  2. Paul

    People forget how much of the land, which is held by the state, was obtained. It is land that, after being scalped of it’s old growth forest, was simply walked away from by it’s owners and it eventually reverted to the state. The land had no further use, the lumber Barons took what they wanted and then absconded. Much of the land was of little value at the time, being swampy, or rocky, or unfit for agriculture.

    Now, with all land valuable and carrying high prices, corporations covet it for development of one sort or another. Latest examples are for golf courses, theme parks and exclusive hunting and fishing rights. So the Repuglican and some Democratic politicians are willing to obey the demands of their corporate masters and begin the process of converting these public lands back to private ownership. Mark my words, this is just the first shot in a process to divest state lands from the public back into corporate ownership, and Casperson is the point man.

    1. E Mc

      Agreed ! Benton Harbor – whole state scale

Leave your comment...

Your email address will not be published.

Currently on Bridge

An Earth Day pitch: When you hang up the phone for good, toss it the right way

Michigan’s roads affect everyone, so a 'yes' vote on Proposal 1 makes sense

‘Diplomacy Begins Here’ conference aims to illuminate international relations

What NOT to post on Facebook: Jokes about prison rape, when you’re in charge of preventing prison rape

A program to give young offenders a second chance is sending many to prison

Similar accounts in teen prison rape suit pose challenge to state's defense

‘New fish’ ‒ One teen inmate’s account of sexual assault

Early learning summit in June could impact Michigan’s children

Money Smart Week: Be penny wise, and pound savvier

Plan B or no Plan B, here’s what happens if road proposal fails

The political tale behind the selling of Proposal 1

A Bridge primer: Untangling the pothole promise of Proposal 1

Who supports, and opposes, Proposal 1

Let's rebuild Michigan through its greatest asset: its water

Could a public boarding school model work in Detroit?

Coalition supporting Detroit schools a step in the city’s road back

Chasing fads? Today’s schools are struggling too much for that

For one Michigan legislative staffer, an hour or two in the spotlight

A cull is a kill, and it’s an overreaction to deer ‘problem’

Lack of college guidance keeps poor and rural students from applying

Those who can, do – and get their hands ‘dirty’ in the process

For one Detroit mom, a complicated path to employment

Detroit by the numbers – the truth about poverty

Michigan should require dental screening for all children entering kindergarten

Where in the world is the Center for Michigan?

After two years, hard to call ACA anything but a success

Bridge’s Academic State Champs emphasizes all the wrong measurements

A graying population poses challenges for Up North counties

Up North, isolation impedes health care for seniors

Enbridge oil pipes and the Straits of Mackinac: Too risky to ignore

Not bigger government, but better services when Community Health and Human Services merge

Two Michigans gaze across a widening gap

In northern counties, workers and business find each other lacking

Hidden poverty stalks a Pure Michigan setting

Postcard: How a git-’er-done spirit helps one rural school district

Postcard: When elk is for dinner

Postcard: Luxe life at Bay Harbor reflects changing economy

Postcard: A roof and a bed

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.