The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.
The State Department of Natural Resources has been in the planning process of this idea to create what it calls Biodiversity Stewardship Areas.
These areas would include both state and private land.
All the stakeholders were on board in the early planning process - hunting groups, environmentalists - most everyone - until someone became alarmed because the plan could have potentially stopped human access to some areas.
Well, if you even hint that hunters or timber companies can’t have access, you’ve got a problem.
State Senator Tom Casperson (R- Escanaba) has introduced a bill that would prohibit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from setting aside an area of land specifically for the purpose of maintaining biological diversity.
In part it reads:
THE DEPARTMENT, DIRECTOR, OR COMMISSION SHALL NOT PROMULGATE OR ENFORCE A RULE OR ISSUE OR ENFORCE AN ORDER UNDER THIS ACT THAT DESIGNATES OR CLASSIFIES AN AREA OF LAND SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACHIEVING OR MAINTAINING BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY...
According to Casperson, the MDNR should request approval for each proposal from the State Legislature.
“It’s not that they can’t do it, but it needs oversight,” Casperson said in an interview with Michigan Radio’s Lester Graham.