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Section 4 - Conclusion


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 DNR-managed public lands provide the foundation for this work.

Throughout this document, 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 public 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 in 2021 and beyond.

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An effective public land strategy will ensure DNR-managed public lands remain world-class, rivaling anywhere else in the country and serving 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 on marginal or degraded lands, mass timber buildings constructed from Michigan forest products or carbon sequestered in state forests.

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What's next

Michigan has unparalleled public lands, managed for a variety of goals that protect natural and cultural resources, provide outdoor recreation and promote sustainable management that benefit people, communities and the economy. Careful stewardship of these resources has resulted in the lands and facilities people enjoy today. As new users turn to outdoor spaces for the recreation and health benefits they provide, our public lands must be ready to welcome them. These new users will not only shape management priorities today but will become the stewards of our natural resources in the future.

During its planning, the department will adapt and implement strategies to respond to changes and threats to Michigan's public lands. DNR facilities and infrastructure, such as harbors, trails and campgrounds, must remain resilient in a changing climate including high lake levels and more frequent storm events. State forests, grasslands and wetlands must remain protected from invasive species, which destroy and degrade natural communities. And as the nation takes stock of its natural assets, DNR-managed public lands are poised to contribute toward initiatives such as "30x30" - an effort to conserve at least 30% of land and ocean in the U.S. by 2030. The department will continue to provide natural solutions to a changing climate, while providing habitat for wildlife and working forests that benefit our economy.

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