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2021-2027 Public Land Strategy

Goal 2 - Provide access to outdoor public recreation opportunities

A core responsibility of the DNR is to provide for and develop facilities for outdoor recreation. With recreation as a cornerstone of the Michigan lifestyle, a large public land base is fundamental to providing for the array of recreation pursuits embraced by residents. Whether enjoying opportunities to be physically active, discovering a new favorite recreation activity, or just appreciating the natural beauty of Michigan, getting outdoors is good for overall health and well-being. Access to outdoor recreation is essential in all corners of the state from downtown Detroit to the grasslands and farm fields of mid-Michigan to the vast forests and winding streams of the northern Lower and Upper peninsulas. Providing and improving access to outdoor public recreation opportunities will be accomplished by strategies ranging from anticipating trends in outdoor recreation to strategic land acquisitions to managing our 13,000-plus-mile designated trail network.

Strategy 1 (statewide):

Provide and maintain diverse recreation experiences^ while anticipating and responding to trends in outdoor recreation.

  • Measurable objective: Offer diverse and accessible recreation opportunities to meet and exceed expectations.
    • Measure: Maintain 80% satisfaction (based on 2018 Michigan SCORP survey results), (see Appendix R) with the quality of public outdoor recreation opportunities.

Strategy 2 (statewide):

Ensure appropriate access to large blocks of public land to offer a variety of dispersed and backcountry recreation experiences^.

  • Measurable objective: Prioritize land acquisition efforts on the consolidation of DNR-managed public lands in an effort to reduce fragmentation and provide for an array of dispersed and backcountry recreation uses.
    • Measure: Number of acres of inholdings acquired and mileage reduction of public/private boundary interface.

Strategy 3 (statewide):

Provide public water access to the Great Lakes, inland lakes, rivers and streams. (Access includes walk-in fishing sites, carry-down boating access sites, trailered boating access sites and harbor/marina facilities.)

  • Measurable objective: Develop criteria, prioritize and improve public water access to the Great Lakes, inland lakes, rivers and streams.
    • Measure: Number of parcels acquired with Great Lakes, inland lake, river or stream access.

Strategy 4 (statewide):

Increase access to diverse recreation opportunities in or near urban areas.

  • Measurable objective: Strategically invest in urban recreation spaces.
    • Measure: Increase satisfaction with the amount and quality of outdoor recreation close to home using 2018 Michigan SCORP survey results as a baseline.

Strategy 5 (southern Lower Peninsula):

In coordination with local units of government, where appropriate, increase public land ownership in areas that have been identified through a DNR analysis as lacking public lands (see Appendix R).

  • Measurable objective: Prioritize land acquisition efforts within areas identified as lacking public land ownership to increase opportunities for public outdoor recreation, including hunting, in southern Michigan.
    • Measure: Number of acres of land acquired within areas identified as lacking public land ownership.

Strategy 6 (statewide):

Manage the more than 13,000-mile state-designated trails network using the 2021 DNR Statewide Trails Plan to guide key metrics and priorities (see Appendix R).

  • Measurable objective: Design and locate trails to meet current and future needs.
    • Measure: Number and mileage of designated water, motorized and nonmotorized trails from the established baseline. 
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