Land conservancies no substitute for state land

Capital News Service
LANSING – Green groups like the Little Traverse Conservancy and Mid-Michigan Land Conservancy are pushing to protect and preserve as much of Michigan’s pristine beauty as possible. That’s what they do. But at a time when a new law limits the ability of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to acquire more land, more responsibility might fall on the shoulders of conservancies in the state; a role experts say conservancies can’t fill. The law that took effect in July 2012 caps the amount of state-owned land to roughly 4 million acres. That’s disconcerting for environmentalists, who call the limit arbitrary and argue it will render the state potentially unable to cope with rising demand for public land.

Open conservancies or pay tax, Casperson says

Capital News Service
LANSING — Nonprofit organizations that safeguard land and habitat in Southeast Michigan are worried about a proposal that could tax their preserves. A proposal by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, would require land conservancies to pay property taxes if they restrict access to the public, including access for motorized and non-motorized vehicles. In the draft bill, motorized recreational activities could be limited to designated trails, however. The idea creates concern among people who are responsible for managing land conservancies. Leo Dorr, the treasurer of the Lapeer Land Conservancy, said he is worried about negative effects on the work, conservation and ecology of his organization and properties.