Section 4

DNR Strategic Initiatives

In addition to measuring progress in meeting the public land strategy’s goals, strategies and measurable objectives, the DNR is committed to identifying new partnership and growth opportunities for improved management and administration of these remarkable land resources. While it is important to note that the following strategic initiatives are in addition to normal department operations and will require dedicated resources (including funding, personnel and support) to achieve, the department believes they will result in even better management of and broader, more equitable access to DNR-managed public lands.

  1. Develop a comprehensive database of known cultural resources on state-managed public lands.
  2. Resolve issues of federal funding and management compatibility with facilities, land management and land-use practices to ensure compliance with grant and program requirements.
  3. Complete a roads plan to ensure appropriate amounts of motorized and nonmotorized access to DNR-managed public lands, while also considering resource protection, infrastructure maintenance and management access.
  4. Work with partners to establish one new “signature park” in a core urban area as a tool for urban revitalization, thus establishing a prototype model of collaboration that can be used in other cities.
  5. Create a plan to enhance equal opportunity and inclusive access to outdoor recreation activities, along with improved access to DNR-managed public lands and facilities for people of all backgrounds and abilities.
  6. Work with partners including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry to build a collaboration prototype to use public lands as a basis to foster economic growth, placemaking and cultural identity in three Michigan communities.
  7. Review DNR land records to ensure they are current, accurate and can be referenced geographically.
  8. Partner with local and regional transportation entities to develop access opportunities to DNR-managed public lands.
  9. Conduct a comprehensive statewide public survey of the perception of public lands and public land ownership. The results of this survey will be used in the development of the next iteration of the land strategy, due to be submitted to the Legislature in 2027.
  10. Review existing proposed nominations to dedicate areas of DNR-managed public lands as a wilderness area, wild area or natural area. Complete the statutorily required process for consideration and a decision on these nominations.

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Successful management of Michigan’s 4.6 million acres of public lands, along with 6.4 million acres of mineral rights, requires careful, intentional planning. The information shared in this strategy is essential in guiding how the DNR cares for the natural and cultural resources that belong to the people of Michigan and the public land base that provides the foundation for this work.

Throughout this process, the DNR has talked at length about the power of public lands. It’s a simple phrase, but one that hints at a treasure trove of opportunities – some of which already are being realized. DNR-managed lands provide green spaces and wild places where residents and visitors can hunt, camp, fish, hike, ride, relax, recharge and reconnect with nature and history in ways that are uniquely Michigan. Increasingly adaptive facilities and resources mean more people each year get to discover and enjoy the outdoor world. Sustainably managed state forests yield soul-restoring solitude, market-driving raw materials and healthy habitat critical to the well-being and survival of plant and animal populations.

All these things depend on a public land strategy that is comprehensive, inclusive and dynamic – one that is built to respond and adapt to a variety of change and influences while keeping a laser focus on its original intent. The measurable goals, strategies and objectives in the updated public land strategy will guide the DNR’s work and progress into 2021 and beyond.


Done right, an effective public land strategy will ensure a public land base that rivals that of anywhere else across the country and serves as a foundation for:

  • Future generations experiencing high-quality natural and cultural resources, including a variety of vegetation and natural communities that keep plants, wildlife, fish and other resources healthy and vibrant.
  • Diverse, adaptable and accessible public outdoor recreation opportunities for people of all abilities.
  • Abundant green spaces in rural and urban areas throughout the state.
  • Resilient natural resources that support fish and wildlife populations while offering continued opportunities for thriving, sustainable resource-based industries, like forest products.
  • Capacity to explore and support growing markets like renewable energy.

What’s next

Throughout the implementation of this land strategy, the DNR is committed to working with the public and partners toward identified goals, and we will do it in a way that is open, transparent and intentional. As with the work that’s done by the department every day, the DNR’s actions laid out in this plan will be driven by the responsibility of ensuring that the next generations of residents and visitors can enjoy and experience our state’s one-of-a-kind natural and cultural resources.

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