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Public lands

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Public lands

The DNR takes care of approximately 4.6 million acres of public lands. Sound management of these public lands in many ways drives the quality of life we all value. When our lands are well managed, they contribute significantly to the health of our families and our environment and the strength of our economy. These lands offer ample opportunities for recreational activities like boating, fishing, biking, hiking, camping, hunting and observing wildlife and wild places along with endless opportunities to enjoy open spaces for time with friends, families or yourself.

Managing public lands

Public Land Strategy

A framework for the management of DNR-managed public lands to ensure their best use for the benefit of residents, visitors and our natural resources. 

State land review

A periodic review of DNR-managed public land to determine if they contribute to our mission or if they should leave state ownership.

Real estate (land sales)

Learn how we sell or exchange land that has been marked for disposal. Get information on recent and upcoming land transactions, get upcoming auction information and more.

Minerals management

Revenue from the leasing and sale of state-owned mineral rights translates into funding for the acquisition, development, and maintenance of local and state parks and other recreational areas.

Project boundary map

Project boundaries are geographic lines that help define our acquisition and disposal strategy. These boundaries contain a majority of state ownership.

Payments in lieu of taxes

Payments, made by the Dept. of Treasury, to local units of government in lieu of property taxes for state-owned land administered by the DNR.

Your public lands

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State forests

3.9 million acres

See all the opportunities in our state forests.

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State park system

360,000 acres

Find a park or recreation area, state visit for a day or stay the night.

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State game & wildlife areas

364,000 acres

Find hunting lands including game areas, wetland wonders and more.

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State trails

13,400+ miles

Hiking, biking, equestrian, ORV, snowmobile, skiing and more.

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Boating access sites

1,045 public boating access sites

Great Lakes harbors and inland boating access sites.

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Acreage of DNR-managed land

Updated Sept. 1, 2023

A full breakdown of the land owned and managed by the DNR.

Rules and regulations

Permission to use public lands

Learn when you need a permit to use public lands. Examples include events, commercial use, scientific research, archaeological exploration and more.

State land rules

General administrative rules that pertain to all DNR-managed state lands, unless more specific local regulations are needed.

Land use orders of the director

Provide further rules for specific areas if they are needed to protect natural resources or facilities or address recreational or access issues

Economic value of public lands

DNR-managed public lands play a significant role supporting many aspects of Michigan’s economy:

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Home to many tourist attractions – known for both their unique natural beauty and their rich history – DNR-managed lands are the backbone of Michigan’s $20 billion-plus tourism industry.

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Michigan’s state parks, which draw 28 million visitors each year, act as a catalyst to attract out-of-state tourists and provide a focal point for activities that drive local economies.

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State game and wildlife areas, forests and parks offer abundant places to hunt, fish and watch wildlife.. Hunting contributes almost $9 billion, fishing contributes more than $2 billion and wildlife viewing contributes more than $1 billion annually.

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Harbors and boat launches on DNR-managed lands also provide access to the Great Lakes and inland lakes and streams for boating, which has an economic impact of more than $7 billion a year in Michigan. 

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State forest land supplies about 20% of the timber consumed by the forest industry statewide. The industry contributes $20.2 billion and more than 91,000 jobs to the economy annually.

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Spending time in nature is linked to many positive mental (and physical) health benefits including improved focus, lower stress and reduced risk of depression and anxiety. This benefit is priceless!