Gov. Rick Snyder Approves Historic Strategy to Manage Public Land, Removes Land Purchasing Caps

Press Release

Date: June 27, 2018

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Managed Public Land Strategy was approved today, removing land purchasing caps for the state of Michigan under legislation signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

"This unique strategy for managing the state's plentiful natural resources will benefit residents and visitors alike for generations to come," Gov. Rick Snyder said. "By having solid rules and guidelines for how the state acquires land and what it can do with the land, we are ensuring everyone has fair access to purchase and use the land in Michigan. This is an issue I have been passionate about for years and I am excited to have this framework realized statewide."

SB 302 and HB 4475, sponsored by Sens. Tom Casperson and Rep. Gary Howell, respectively, provide for legislative approval of the DNR Managed Public Land Strategy and establishes procedures and guidelines for how and when the state can purchase land in Michigan.

Under the new provisions, the state can purchase land, with the following restrictions:

The DNR must consider the potential impact the purchase may have on private property in the immediate vicinity.

Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) must be made on time and in full for the DNR to continue purchasing land north of the Mason-Arenac line. If full payment is made later that fiscal year or the land acquisition is approved by the local unit of government via resolution (township board if the land is located in a single township, or by the county board of commissioners of the county where the land is located if the land is in two or more townships), then the DNR may continue with its purchase.

If 40 percent or more of the land in a county is owned by the state or federal government, or is commercial forestland, the DNR could not acquire land in that county if, within 60 days after it sends notice of its proposed acquisition to local legislative bodies, the DNR receives a copy of a resolution rejecting the proposed acquisition.

The DNR is required to work with a requesting local government to allow use of state land for outdoor recreation opportunities and expanding access to the land, including removal of berms, gates or other barriers, through an approval process that allows for public hearing and input.

Additionally, SB 303, sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher, expands the allowable use of money in a state "Land Exchange Facilitation Fund" to include activities, surveys, environmental assessments, certain administrative and transaction costs, payments for natural resources management and maintenance, development projects and various assessments paid to other state funds.

SB 1000, sponsored by Sen. Jim Stamas, repeals several obsolete reporting requirements. The bill also designates the DNR as the administrator of the Infrastructure Construction Fund and the Agriculture Prevention Fund for auditing purposes.

The bills are now Public Acts 237, 238, 239 and 240 of 2018.