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DNR reviewing land transaction application for state forest in Mackinac County

Contact: Kerry Wieber, 517-643-1256 or Ed Golder, 517-335-3014
Agency: Natural ResourcesNov. 7, 2013

The Department of Natural Resources has received a land transaction application outlining a proposal by Graymont, Inc. seeking to acquire more than 10,000 acres of state-managed forest in northern Mackinac County near the town of Rexton for the purpose of developing a limestone mine.

The proposal includes the acquisition of approximately 7,820 acres for an underground mine; approximately 1,780 acres for two separate surface mines; and an option to purchase 840 acres for the potential development of a limestone processing plant.

It also includes the DNR retaining a state-managed surface easement on the underground mine portion (with the exception of 1,500 acres that will be used for mine support infrastructure) so that the property continues to be managed for timber resources and open for public recreational uses such as hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling and wildlife viewing.

"In the coming weeks, the DNR will process the application and it will be reviewed following standard DNR policy and procedure," said Kerry Wieber, forest land administrator with the DNR's Forest Resources Division (FRD). "The procedure entails the review of the proposal by staff at multiple levels in each of the resource-managing divisions within the DNR including Forest Resources, Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and Recreation.

"The process is detailed, and feedback from the public is a critical component of the review process and will be taken into consideration before any decisions are made," Wieber added.

A review of the application will also be conducted by the DNR's Minerals Management. As a result of this review, staff will make a recommendation to DNR Director Keith Creagh, who has the authority to make a final decision on the proposal. Creagh will make his decision at a future Natural Resources Commission meeting.

The DNR notes that approval of the sale would not necessarily mean approval of mining. Any mining proposal from Graymont will have to go through regulatory review by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Wieber said that because public input is so important, there are multiple ways people can provide comments about the proposal.

The public will have an opportunity to make comments at an upcoming Natural Resources Commission meeting. Additionally, the DNR will host a public meeting to discuss the proposal and recommendation prior to the director's decision and has also established an email address in order to allow ample opportunity for the public to comment. Interested parties may also provide comments to [email protected]. Comments will be accepted until a final decision is made.

Graymont, Inc. will host a public meeting 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Hudson Township Hall, N7961 Church St., Naubinway to discuss the proposal. At the company's request, DNR foresters, biologists and other key staff will attend this meeting in order to provide information on the process for reviewing the application.

For more information about how the DNR manages Michigan's state forest land, visit www.michigan.gov/forestplan.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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