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State Land Review

The Managed Public Land Strategy, approved for implementation in September 2018, required the DNR to review specific state-owned land to determine whether these lands contributed to the department’s mission. These parcels were located throughout the state, and each one either:

  • Was 200 acres or less, or
  • Had an irregular shape resulting in a significant shared private-public boundary, making it potentially difficult to manage.

Certain parcels of land that met this criteria – including developed boating access sites, designated trails and other DNR facilities – were not included in the review, as they had been confirmed to contribute to the department’s mission.

Review process

The review was conducted on a county-by-county basis, 10-11 counties at a time. The counties in each group were geographically dispersed throughout the state. All parcels went through a thorough multilevel, multidisciplinary review.

  • Local: The review process began with local forest unit managers, wildlife biologists, fisheries biologists and recreation specialists.
  • Regional: Forestry, wildlife, fisheries and recreational aspects were reviewed at a regional level.
  • Statewide: Forestry, wildlife, fisheries and recreational aspects were reviewed at a statewide level.
  • By Program: Important issues such as mineral rights, deed restrictions and environmental impacts were reviewed by the DNR and the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Public feedback: Throughout the review, nearly three months of time was allocated to provide the public with an opportunity to give input on the recommendations that came out of the review process before the DNR director made a final decision on parcel classification.

Parcel classifications

All parcels involved in the state land review effort were recommended to be classified into one of the following categories:

  • Retain in state ownership/DNR administration.
  • Offer for potential ownership by a local unit of government or alternative conservation owner. If there is no interest, these parcels will be retained by the DNR.
  • Exchange for another parcel of land, if a land exchange is available. The parcel will remain available for exchange proposals for two years. After that time, it will be disposed.
  • Dispose via public auction. (Any parcels that were recommended to leave state ownership were first offered to local units of government.)

State land review results

You can view the results of the state land review by viewing the state land review results dashboard. The following information is important to keep in mind when viewing the dashboard:

  • The DNR only reviewed a subset of all state-owned land. The state land review involved the review of nearly 170,000 acres of land. This is just over 3% of all state-owned land managed by the DNR.
  • The statistics provided in the dashboard are for the land being reviewed through the State Land Review only.
  • Either select a county from the list or click on the county on the map and the statistics for the land reviewed in that particular county will be displayed.

Please email with any questions.