LANSING — The Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV) condemned the passing of Senate Bill 39 and 40 out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee today because they threaten the state’s legacy of promoting outdoor recreation and protecting public lands, and throw a wrench in efforts to market the state as a tourism destination.
“Michigan’s heritage is one of hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities that rely on our state’s nationally renowned public lands, but these bills clearly put that legacy in peril,” said Jack Schmitt, Deputy Director of Michigan LCV. “Taking away the places available for these recreational activities and limiting the ability of our public land to be properly managed and cared for is a non-starter.”
SB 39 and 40 would put in place new restrictions on the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) ability to acquire public land throughout Michigan and manage existing land to protect or enhance biological diversity and ecosystem health. Ultimately, passage of this legislation would make it easier for these lands to be turned over to private ownership.
Furthermore, the bills would also make it illegal for the DNR to make land management decisions for the primary goal of protecting our state’s non-game wildlife, such as threatened or endangered species, putting our ecological diversity at risk.
“This legislation is short-sighted,” said Schmitt. “By placing short-term financial gain over long-term protection of our outdoor heritage, we risk jeopardizing our state’s tourism industry and missing out on the opportunity to position the Great Lakes state as a leader in conservation.”