State Legislation

Part 351, Wilderness and Natural Areas, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act of 1994 sets the general guidelines under which the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is to identify, dedicate, and administer Wilderness, Wild, and Natural Areas.

Highlights include:

  • An annual review of state lands must be completed to identify potential new areas

  • Dedicated and proposed natural areas are to be maintained or restored so as to protect and preserve their natural values

  • Requires the MDNR to "enlist the voluntary cooperation and support of interested citizens and conservation groups"

  • An emphasis on identifying potential natural areas near urban areas

  • Provides for the dedication of private land or land under the control of other governmental units

  • Any citizen may submit dedication recommendations

  • Prohibits the following activities:
    • "Removing, cutting, picking, or otherwise altering vegetation, except as necessary for appropriate public access, the preservation or restoration of a plant or wildlife species, or the documentation of scientific values and with written consent of the MDNR", or for an easement
    • Exploration or extraction of minerals
    • A commercial enterprise, utility or permanent road
    • Any use of mechanical transport (includes bicycles and motorboats), except when necessary for an emergency - this is a misdemeanor offense
    • Use of motorized equipment, except for MDNR approved management

Click Here to view the legislation in its entirety.