Public lands legislation

Discussion in 'Gear Restrictions and Trout Fishing Regs' started by kzoofisher, May 8, 2017.

  1. kzoofisher

    kzoofisher

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    Got this in an email yesterday and thought I would pass it on.

    We are facing anti-public land legislation again. Call your state senators and urge them to oppose Senate bills 302 and 303, sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba.

    The following was published by the Backcountry Hunters:

    1. SB 302 will result in a loss of publicly accessible lands.
    1. The No. 1 reason sportsmen and women give up their outdoor traditions is insufficient public access. This legislation includes language that would compound this problem by pressuring DNR to sell land that is not a state park, recreation area or game area. This would include boat launches, river access sites, and state forest lands. This discounts the economic benefit of hunters, anglers, trappers and other outdoor recreationalists who use these lands. It would reduce access to our public lands and waterways.
    2. SB 302 and 303 will reduce the ability of the DNR to acquire lands.
    1. A hard state land cap would be set in place if PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) are not made in full and on time. This is unnecessary, as legislation already is in place requiring the legislature to make PILT payments on time, thus punishing outdoor recreationalists of this state for the legislature failing to do its job and ignoring its own laws.
    2. Local municipalities would have veto power over land acquisitions if more than 40 percent of the municipalities consist of public lands and commercial forest areas. This prevents the DNR from acquiring critical habitat such as deer yarding areas in the Upper Peninsula. It also prevents willing seller/willing buyer sales and private individuals from protecting their property in perpetuity by selling it to the state.
    3. SB 303 unnecessarily rewrites the Land Exchange Facilitation Fund by opening it to uses other than its original intent – as a way to purchase land to replace land that was sold. SB 303 would allow the proceeds deposited into the fund from a public land sale to be used for day to day public lands management, thus providing a financial mechanism to sell off state lands. The legislature has been attempting to rob this funding source for years, and this is its latest attempt.
    3. SB 302 will reduce the value of our public lands to hunters, anglers and trappers.
    1. The bill limits the type of habitat work that is able to be done by requiring that work cannot be done expressly for non-game species on lands acquired through the game and fish protection account. This breaks down one of the greatest arguments for hunting and angling, which is that hunting is conservation and that our dollars go to protect all habitats and species, not just the ones we want to hunt. Consequently, habitat in the areas we hunt and fish will be degraded, but our perception within the broader non-hunting community will be adversely affected.
    2. The bill strips away the authority of the DNR to decide how it manages its lands by requiring a hearing any time a committee chair requests one. This prevents the DNR from quickly addressing important habitat and resource issues and will lead to the micromanaging of those trained to manage our lands.
    3. The bill also will open un-roaded and backcountry areas of public land to motorized use. This will degrade habitat – all in the face of increasing demand for non-motorized hunting and fishing opportunities across the state.
    These bills are wide ranging, and these are but a few of the ways they will greatly damage our ability to enjoy our public lands and waters.

    Please call the members of the Senate Natural Resources committee and urge them to reject SB 302 and 303.

    Tom Casperson Committee Chair, 38th District (517) 373-7840
    Phil Pavlov Vice Chair, 25th District (517) 373-7708
    David Robertson 14th District (517) 373-1636
    Jim Stamas 36th District (517) 373-7946
    Rebekah Warren Minority Vice Chair, 18th District (517) 373 2406
     
    Benzie Rover likes this.
  2. Benzie Rover

    Benzie Rover

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    Kzoo - thank you for posting this. Casperson has sponsored several bills that threaten the quality of our public lands systems, but this one by far has the greatest potential to degrade the land we all own and enjoy. It needs to be stopped before we have an ATV trail developed on every single block of quality public hunting habitat.
     

  3. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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  4. kzoofisher

    kzoofisher

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    Here's a nice scenario under that bill.

    The State fails to fund PILT payments for land along the new steelhead filled Boardman River. A developer with property adjacent to the State land wants to expand his development and the DNR must now consider his offer. The County and Townships back the plan because they aren't getting their PILT. Million dollar homes go up and pay high taxes while the remaining public land continues fall behind. Other developers buy parcels adjacent to State land and make offers to expand their businesses that the DNR must consider. Soon the Boardman is a private river lined with the homes of those who are frustrated by the lack of Traverse Bay frontage and willing to accept the compromise of being on a storied trout stream full of glamorous steelhead.

    The increase in taxes is so attractive that other areas that aren't receiving their PILT jump on the bandwagon. Poof, there goes the Green Cottage access. All that unused and wasted land along St Martin bay? Now providing beautiful views of the Straights for those who come up to see the Chicago to Mackinac sail race. Remember the Huron Mountain Club? Now it's the fourth largest club in the UP as the wealthy rush to create "preserves" for the endangered species they love and that the unwashed rabble can't be trusted to protect.

    And more and more money gets siphoned off the Game and Fish Fund, matching Federal money dries up because non-game species aren't being protected and more land gets sold to make up the difference.

    I think the bill has some serious flaws.
     
  5. Luv2hunteup

    Luv2hunteup

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    That's actually a good example. GT county and TC owes so much money to underfunded obligations they will be in as bad a shape as Detroit in the not too distant future. Sell assets that aren't earning their keep instead of going bankrupt or screwing workers out of their pensions. The state will benefit from the sale and the city/county benefit from increased tax revenue.

    You might as well tax those who benefit vs share the burden with residents who may not ever step foot in that county. If they allow developers to build homes or second homes on the river system they can collect tax plus double down on nonhomesteaded homes.
     
  6. toto

    toto

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    This is one I can agree with you kzoo, this is concerning. I can see two problems 1) the state not paying pilt is a big problem for counties tax base and 2) the state being in a situation that could be fraught with issues. In either case I can see where the burden comes down to the tax payer, property owners paying more to make yup the difference or no access. There has to be a better answer.
     
  7. kzoofisher

    kzoofisher

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    The Legislature appropriates the money for PILT. Now they can fall behind on payments and then sell the land to cronies who will give them jobs when they term limit out as Casperson is about to do. Yay! Another win for special interests and lobbyists.
     
    -Axiom- likes this.
  8. toto

    toto

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    Yep this is really fraught with danger, if you want to call it that. I realize the state has no control over what lands they get from back taxes not being paid, but that doesn't mean they need to sell off land along waterways. There has to be a better way, perhaps they could make a "rule" that states that IF the state sells land, it can't be land that "locks" out the public. In other ways, create an easement for access that is on the deed once it sells. Or, they would have to sell land that has no connection to water, in other words, lands that are inland, or in the country, so to speak. As stated, this smacks of problems in the future, as written.