We oppose the closing of Bells Bay Rd. and the proposed land swap between St. Mary’s Cement plant and Fisherman’s Island State Park.

Click here for larger document

If you love Fisherman’s Island State Park, let the State know what you cherish!


Public invited to share their ideas about the future of this Charlevoix County park.
May 13, 2015
Contact: Debbie Jensen, 517-284-6105 or Ed Golder, 517-284-5815
DNR seeks public input on Fisherman’s Island State Park
General Management Plan

Fisherman’s Island State Park beach with fire ringThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently announced that it is seeking public input on a new General Management Plan to guide the future of Fisherman’s Island State Park, located in Charlevoix County. People are invited to share their opinions and ideas through an online survey, available through June 24 at www.surveymonkey.com/s/Fishermans_Island_State_Park.

The 2,678-acre park includes more than six miles of scenic Lake Michigan shoreline with 80 rustic campsites, a picnic area, foot trails and undeveloped land for hunting and wildlife observation.

The General Management Plan for Fisherman’s Island State Park defines a long-range (10-20 years) planning and management strategy that will assist the DNR Parks and Recreation Division in meeting its responsibilities to 1) protect and preserve the site’s natural and cultural resources, and 2) provide access to land- and water-based public recreation and educational opportunities.

This survey is one of several opportunities for the public and stakeholders to be involved in the planning process. An informational meeting was held Nov. 3, 2014, introducing interested citizens to the planning process. The DNR also will host a public open house later this year, providing an opportunity for review and comment on the draft plan.

Additional information on the DNR’s General Management Plan process is available at www.michigan.gov/parkmanagementplans.

For more information about the Fisherman’s Island State Park survey or the proposed plan, contact DNR park management plan administrator Debbie Jensen at 517-284-6105 (TTY/TDD711 Michigan Relay Center for the hearing impaired) or via email at JensenD1@michigan.gov.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dsherman’s Island State Park Survey

The Parks & Recreation Division of the DNR is in the process of developing a Management Plan for Fisherman’s Island State Park. The Management Plan includes a long range management outlook for the…


Notes from the first meeting of the DNR Fisherman’s Island State Park planning team.
The meeting was held on December 10, 2014.
Click Here

Letter – An Open Letter to St. Marys Cement

Posted: Wednesday, December 24, 2014 7:00 am

An Open Letter to St. Marys Cement


The land swap concept has put some space into our relationship since the days that your plant manager, Dirk Cox and your environmental manager, Cortney Schmidt, met regularly with members of the WATCH board of directors. Those meetings were friendly, informative, productive and resulted in many good ideas.

One of those good ideas was manifested when Cortney and Dirk made a very large point of saying, soon after the land swap concept was made public, that if there was a lot of community opposition to this idea, St. Marys would withdraw the proposal.

Since then, the Charlevoix Township Board and the Charlevoix City Council have both voted unanimously to oppose the swap. The Petoskey News-Review printed an editorial strongly opposing the swap. WATCH has always been opposed to the swap. In addition, it has become increasingly clear to us that an overwhelming number of citizens of our community are very much opposed to the swap.

The St. Marys committee, which was initially viewed by some as a good idea, has ended in controversy to say the least. The committee was composed of citizens of this community. But, as was succinctly pointed out in a recent letter to the editor in the Petoskey News-Review, Fisherman’s Island State Park is the business of the whole state.

We feel that you have been a good neighbor, and we think you feel the same way. Everyone thinks you have improved the environment of the cement plant in many ways. The land swap concept would not be one of those ways.

We, therefore, call upon you now to honor your commitment to yield to the sentiment of our community and withdraw your Fisherman’s Island land swap proposal. It would be your best public relations move yet.

Bill Henne
Vice President of WATCH
(Water and Air Team Charlevoix)

Charlevoix Council votes for resolution opposing Fisherman’s Island land swap

Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 3:50 pm

Jordan Spence (231) 439-9397 – jspence@petoskeynews.com

Charlevoix City Council voted unanimously in support of a resolution for Fisherman’s Island, opposing a potential land swap with St. Marys Cement.

“The township has voted unanimously for a solution similar to this. Hopefully, we would have some influence in the process. I think it’s time the city council weighed in on this,” said council member Jeff Porter.
The resolution states:

“The City of Charlevoix hereby supports the continued access to Fishermans’ Island State Park on Lake Michigan from Bells Bay Road and retention of the 416.3 acres of Fisherman’s Island State Park as forest and wildlife habitat within Charlevoix Township.”

Council member Shirley Gibson also voiced her support for the resolution.

“It’s time we take a stand on this. It’s not in the least bit negative,” she said. “For anyone who thinks this is not a local issue, St. Marys made it a local issue by appointing local (people) to their secret committee. I’m happy this is coming before us.”

Before voting on the resolution, new council member Luther Kurtz — who is also a member a citizen’s advisory committee created by St. Marys Cement to discuss any potential land swap issues — wanted to add an amendment to take out the 416.3 acres specified in the resolution.

Other council members, including Gibson, voiced concern over this change.

“Why would you want to take that out?” she said. “I’d prefer to not have that changed.”

Council member Leon Peron added the township felt the 416.3 acres was very important to include.

“That’s the part that is in Charlevoix Township and the rest of it is in Norwood Township,” he said.

Before voting on the final resolution, the council voted on whether to leave in the language specifying the 416.3 acres.

Council members Kurtz, Shane Cole and Bill Supernaw voted to take out the 416.3 acres. Gibson, Porter and Peron voted to keep the 416.3 acres in the resolution. Newly sworn-in mayor, Gabe Campbell, broke the tie to keep the 416.3 in the resolution.

Gibson said she felt the amendment Kurtz created was very irresponsible.

Kurtz said he campaigned on the idea that they should respectfully consider all ideas, even ones people don’t like. Passing a resolution against something that hasn’t been proposed yet seems contrary to that ideal, he added.

“However, if the words about the acreage were removed then it would not be an ‘anti-swap’ resolution. It would, instead, be a resolution that tells the State of Michigan how much we value the North Entrance along with the forest and wildlife habitat in the northern part of the park — a resolution that is not contrary to the ‘respectfully consider’ ideal that I campaigned on and that the citizens seemed to support by electing me,” he said.

After his proposed change to the resolution was considered and rejected, Kurtz still felt it was important to support the original resolution so the council would act as a united Charlevoix.

“I don’t think this should have been a big deal. At this point I have only been to two meetings, but I am really enjoying working with the other council members. I believe we are already working well together for a more positive and united Charlevoix,” he said.

This resolution was unanimously passed by the City of Charlevoix Council, Monday, November 17 2014


Fisherman’s Island State Park | clearzoning


Clearzoning is helping Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources Parks & Recreation Division (DNR-PRD) with the development of a General Management Plan (GMP) for Fisherman’s Island State Park….more

Here’s the link to the DNR website that has information on the park management plan. It will be updated as more info becomes available. Keep checking back for new information.
Click Here

Posted: Friday, November 7, 2014 3:00 pm
Mark Johnson(989) 732-1111mjohnson4@gaylordheraldtimes.com

CHARLEVOIX — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began its general management planning process for Fisherman’s Island with an informational meeting where members of the public could learn more.

Approximately 30 people attended the meeting at the Charlevoix Public Library on Monday afternoon, while DNR representatives and others went through the planning process and gathered feedback from attendees.

Richard Hill, district supervisor for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said this meeting was scheduled to provide an overview of the management planning process as an opportunity for residents and others to ask questions and learn more about the overall process itself.

Generally, Hill said the DNR does not usually host these types of “kickoff” meetings, but extensive public interest in the park over the past few months led them to believe this meeting would be worthwhile.

Before the meeting began, however, Hill made it clear that the focus would not be on recent talks of a land swap between Fisherman’s Island State Park and nearby St. Marys Cement.

“Talk of the land swap is probably why so many people are here,” Hill said. “Today’s meeting is not about that. There is not a proposal that has been made to the department. When there is, it will go through a very thorough review.”

These types of plans are used to help create a long-term management and planning strategy for each state park and recreation area it covers.

Hill went on to explain they wanted to make sure the public was aware that the general management planning process for Fisherman’s Island State Park was not immediately connected with the possibility of a land swap.

One person who attended because of the land swap talks was Rick Beemon, a resident of Charlevoix.

He shared a number of ideas that could improve the park and also said he was pleased that the management planning process did not look to be connected with the possible land swap.

“I came to see what planning had to do with the land swap,” Beemon said. “I got the impression that they were not relevant to each other.”

The planning process is expected to take 9 to 12 months with Debbie Jensen, DNR park management plan administrator, expecting the plan to be completed in September 2015 and, if all goes according to plan, approved in October 2015.

During this time, Hill and Jensen agreed it is very important to gather as much public input as they can. To help with this task, multiple opportunities have been made available for public comment, including an online public input survey available in April or May 2015 and a public meeting in July 2015.

There will also be a stakeholder meeting held in June 2015.

Dates will be circulated by the DNR before these meetings.

“We started using this particular planning model back between 2002 and 2004, and it is a really comprehensive and an overall really good system,” Hill said. “We are really looking forward to (implementing it again).”

Though some in attendance, like Beemon, had ideas for improvement, including the park continuing to stay rustic and not being made into something it is not, Hill urged that this particular planning process is not focused on making those types of decisions.

“This process is not designed to make a decision,” Hill said. “This process is more broad-based, to look at the parts and the overall future and what the management looks like.”

Jenson said funding for this project, which comes from various DNR funds, is estimated somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.

Tom Copenhaver, park supervisor for Fisherman’s Island State Park, said the park has a budget of $23,000.

The DNR has a number of steps to follow for this process, with the next being to launch a project website, set up for both public and planning team only access.

To learn more about the DNR general management plan, visit www.michigan.gov/parkmanagementplans.

For more information on the Fisherman’s Island State Park general management plan, email Jensen at jensend@michigan.gov, or Hill at hillr5@michigan.gov.

Those interested can also sign up for email updates by visiting www.michigan.gov/dnr and clicking on the red envelope.

Follow @Mark_JohnsonGHT on Twitter.


Last private session for land swap
St. Marys to share outcome with public; state reminds parkland not local

Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 5:01 pm

Sheri McWhirter-O’Donnell Courier editor

CHARLEVOIX — Michigan’s top state park official said the outcome of a series of behind-closed-door meetings in Charlevoix of a committee created by St. Marys Cement to explore a land swap with the local state park may very well be all for naught.

Ron Olson, parks and recreation division chief for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said officials at the state level are mindful of the happenings here in Charlevoix, the home of the beloved and rustic Fisherman’s Island State Park along the Lake Michigan shoreline. And just because St. Marys Cement spends plenty of money on expert facilitators and hosting fancy dinners at the Weathervane to convince its self-created “community committee” that a land exchange might benefit Charlevoix, Olson said that doesn’t mean state regulators will swallow those arguments, too.

“We’re not just going down the road assuming we accept this and then figuring out how to make it happen. That is not the case,” Olson said.

An expected outcome

St. Marys Cement officials began last year to publicly discuss an exchange of some of its acreage for some state parkland after park users questioned why test drilling occurred in October 2013 along some hiking trails within the state park. Then, a series of public meetings about the land swap concept began in March, spurring widespread community concerns. That resulted in petition drives, an issues-driven Facebook page, public hearings and, in Charlevoix Township, a government resolution standing opposed to any official application for just such a horse trade.

The state parkland stretches across Charlevoix and Norwood township boundaries.

“We’re very aware of the deep concerns, and in my view, that’s good. People have passions and they care about the state park and that’s great,” Olson said.

But from within the company’s private committee, it seems dissension also exists. At least, that’s what one member said.

“I’m the only one who has said I do not want to swap under any circumstances,” said Anne Zukowski.

Zukowski said she is one of nearly two dozen people who regularly gather over a meal in a private room at Stafford’s Weathervane in Charlevoix to discuss what the cement company would be willing to pay for throughout the community in order to create an equitable trade. She said the latest discussions are for between $2 million-$5 million in state park upgrades, or not even improvements to Fisherman’s Island State Park, but for other projects around town, whatever they may be.

“It’s like a bribe and it’s just wrong,” Zukowski said. “And people need to remember this is a state park, not just a local park.”

Olson echoed that very sentiment, nearly word-for-word.

“I must emphasize this is a state park, not a local park,” he said.

Zukowski said the company committee’s entire process is rather presumptive, and perhaps so are those participating in the group.

“They want to have the facade of community support,” she said. “St. Marys thinks these people are representing the community and I’m the only one there who doesn’t think they are representing the community.”

Despite that, St. Marys Cement’s hired meeting facilitator, Bill McGinnis from Milwaukee, will again fly in to direct what is expected to be the last of the company’s committee meetings at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 1, once again at the five-star Weathervane restaurant in downtown Charlevoix.

Another member of the company committee, Bill Gnodtke of Norwood Township, said it’s worth remembering that “it’s not over.”

“It’s really been an interesting dialogue,” he said. “It’s just getting people to talk about what they might be interested in.” Some ideas include bike paths, upgraded campsites, a shower house, a different entrance road, and more, Gnodkte said.

“We’re a long way from any recommendation, though.”

Both Gnodtke and Zukowski confirmed the group is meant to reach some sort of consensus, or at least develop a report of the various opinions and land swap options generated from within the company’s committee. The report, or white paper, is meant to be distributed to the public and press.

Company officials said Courtney Schmidt is the current point person for the company’s committee and he could not be reached for confirmation of such a final report, despite repeated efforts. Likewise, McGinnis also could not be reached, despite repeated efforts.

However, in July, McGinnis explained why this company committee must be conducted without an audience or media allowed to observe, beyond it being a group organized by a private company not beholden to state or federal Open Meetings Act or Freedom of Information Act regulations.

“There is so much material to get through, we want to be able to control the emotion in the room and who is talking at any given time,” McGinnis said. “It can make it more difficult for the people participating to concentrate.”

Examples of distractions he gave includes witnesses going to the bathroom or noise from mobile phones.

“There is a tremendous amount of information and ideas … we have to get through in a reasonable amount of time,” McGinnis said, further arguing that the meetings are private, but not secret.

Next steps

As St. Marys Cement’s Dirk Cox explained in his presentations to city and township officials in March, the goal of the company’s committee would be to identify the real issues surrounding this land swap concept, challenge all assumptions about the situation, and conceive practical solutions. An issue paper is expected to be distributed.

But for now, there is nothing on the books, Olson confirmed.

With many proposed state land exchanges, officials within the DNR do all of their investigations into property deed restrictions, geography, topography, stewardship and various other elements to be considered, then decide whether to accept the deal or not. Then finally officials take public comments or host public hearings on the matter before rendering a decision.

Not in this case, Olson said.

“This is different than somebody with a power line easement or something,” he said. “In a case like this, we would have a public meeting to allow public input.”

Olson further confirmed state-sponsored public hearings would not be scheduled after the fact, but as part of any decision-making process regarding any Fisherman’s Island State Park land exchange proposal, should one ever be filed by St. Marys Cement or otherwise.

What the public should be aware of, Olson said, is the pending state park management plan update scheduled to begin for Fisherman’s Island State Park within the next 10 months, or so. It’s something done for each and every state park in Michigan on a rotational basis, and now it’s Fisherman’s Island’s turn.

The idea is to explore what officials might do to make the state park better for those whom use the parkland.

“It’s rustic. Is that good? Or should we add rustic cabins, yurts, or a shower facility?” Olson said.

And the public gets to have input on that process, too. There will be an online survey, a website designated for the specific park management plan, a stakeholder input meeting and a public input open house, according to DNR guidelines.

That process comes first, Olson said.

“We wouldn’t do anything — no matter whether (St. Marys Cement) submitted a land exchange proposal — until that management plan is updated,” Olson said.

And until then?

The public is always welcomed to comment on issues that impact Michigan State Parks, Olson said. In fact, his office already receives written comments, emails and telephone calls from citizens concerned about Fisherman’s Island State Park’s future.

Olson said he doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Follow @sherimcwhirter and @ChxCourier on Twitter.

Share your opinion with the MDNR:

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Parks and Recreation Division
P.O. Box 30257
Lansing, MI 48909-7757

LWCF Manual

This is the resolution passed by Charlevoix Township June 9, 2014
It is a step in the right direction to stop the land swap.

WHEREAS, the northern entrance to Fisherman’s Island State Park in the Township of Charlevoix has long been an amenity to the residents, guests, and businesses of Charlevoix Township and has provided safe and convenient access to recreation in the southern portion of Charlevoix Township; and

WHEREAS, Charlevoix Township has shown leadership, financial commitment and cooperation with the City of Charlevoix by committing , $40,000. in matching funds for the development of the Lake to Lake Multi-Use Trail, which will be accessed by the Bells Bay county road; and

WHEREAS, Charlevoix Township wishes to maintain the existing safe and convenient access to the park and to preserve the camp-grounds, trails and recreational land in the northern end of the Fisherman’s Island State park within Charlevoix Township;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Charlevoix Township hereby supports the continued access to Fisherman’s Island State Park on Lake Michigan from Bells Bay County Road and the retention of the 416.3 acres of Fisherman’s Island State Park as forest and wildlife habitat within Charlevoix Township.

RESOLVED, the 9th day of June, A.D. 2014 Roll call, all yeas, resolution adopted. (R-01-14)

Map showing the north end of Fisherman’s Island State Park and the proximity of the strip-mining to the Lake Michigan overlook and the first campground loop.

This image depicts how the strip-mining would impact the north end of the park. The first campground loop would be rendered unusable by the noise and dust produced strip-mining process. St. Mary’s Cement claims they are moving farther away from surrounding neighbors. This is not true. They would be closer to the camp ground and campers. The Lake Michigan overlook would be impacted in the same way. This only a partial section of the land proposed to be swapped.

A Potential Park Study for Fisherman’s Island Site Charlevoix County Michigan


Prepared by Roger C. Whitmere, Park Designer


December 1974

Click Here

Check out the latest letters to the editor

T-Shirts now available!

These fine T-shirts will soon be available!

Cost is $10. Message us on facebook, and we will let you know how to get one. They will be available at the boundary marking event this Saturday, August 30 from 1-3 pm at Fisherman’s Island State Park.

St. Marys hosts closed-door land swap meeting

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2014 10:06 am | Updated: 1:13 pm, Thu Jul 17, 2014.

Sheri McWhirter-O’Donnell Courier editor
CHARLEVOIX — Nearly two dozen people gathered Wednesday night to discuss the controversial Fisherman’s Island State Park land swap proposed by St. Marys Cement over a Stafford’s Weathervane meal of prime rib, planked whitefish or chicken breast with pear and cranberry compote — all behind closed doors.

The private, closed-to-the-public-and-media meeting was the inaugural session of St. Marys’ community advisory committee, an internal effort within the multi-billion-dollar cement company to address the widespread and overwhelmingly negative reaction from the public when the land swap suggestion first became known.

“It’s not a public body that’s meeting, so from that standpoint there wasn’t anything illegal about it,” said Larry Sullivan, Charlevoix County commissioner and member of the St. Marys committee. “People should know the committee has no public standing.”

Sullivan said the session amounted to a group of people getting together to discuss something, and the company may not even take any offered advice in the end. He confirmed that he didn’t pay for his meal, though.

“Somebody else picked up the tab, but I can’t be bought for a piece of beef,” Sullivan said.

“I want to see the issues identified and we are a long ways from that,” Sullivan added.

Dirk Cox, the company’s operations manager, in previous months discussed the park land swap idea with both the Charlevoix City Council and Charlevoix Township Board, which then took ample public comments about the hot button issue. The township board last month adopted a resolution stating its position against any possible land swap between the company and state parkland.

Cox could not this week be reached for comment about Wednesday’s private session at the local restaurant.

Additionally, some members of the group refused to speak about the meeting at all.

“I’m sorry, but I signed a contract that I wouldn’t disclose to the media what the committee talked about,” said Dan Myers, of the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council and committee member.

Bill Gnodtke, of Norwood Township, confirmed that he also signed such a contract as part of the St. Marys community advisory committee.

“It was a voluntary signing, which I did do,” he said. “We agreed we would do this and there will be an issue paper that comes out with the pros and cons of it.”

However, Gnodtke did say he stood impressed with the way the meeting was organized and how the professional facilitators — Bill McGinnis and Ann Chastain — conducted the session.

Other listed members of the company’s committee include: Alec Amstutz, Douglas Bergmann, Bill Crook, Nancy Ferguson, Bob Klein, Luther Kurtz, Jonathon Mauchmar of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Nancy Rajewski, Patrick Rajewski, Marc Seelye, David Skeel, Pat Whitley and Anne Zukowski. Committee observers are park supervisor Tom Copenhaver, state parks and recreation district supervisor Richard Hill, and state forest land administrator Kerry Wieber, all from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The two company observers include Cox and Cortney Schmidt, environmental manager for St. Marys Cement.

Sullivan said he expects the committee must meet at least one more time before a complete list of issues is even compiled.

Officially, there is no proposed land exchange on the books between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the company, but St. Marys officials have for years been working on an idea to swap land with the nearby state park for future mining purposes. The company last fall paid for soil borings along well-used hiking trails within the park, completed an archeological study and a biodiversity study is under way to catalog the area’s flora and fauna.

Follow @sherimcwhirter and @ChxCourier on Twitter.

Charlevoix Township
Township first to take land swap stand
Officials send resolution to Michigan DNR

Posted: Thursday, June 19, 2014 5:00 pm | Updated: 5:14 pm, Thu Jun 19, 2014.
Sheri McWhirter-O’Donnell — Courier editor

CHARLEVOIX TOWNSHIP — The five members of the Charlevoix Township Board are the first elected officials to take an official stand against any possible land swap between Fisherman’s Island State Park and adjacent St. Marys Cement.

The board members unanimously voted June 6 to adopt a resolution that “supports the continued access to Fisherman’s Island State Park on Lake Michigan from Bells Bay County Road and the retention of the 416.3 acres of Fisherman’s Island State Park as forest and wildlife habitat within Charlevoix Township.” That document will be forwarded to state authorities.

Officially, there is no proposed land exchange on the books between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the company, but St. Marys officials have for years been working on an idea to swap land with the nearby state park for future mining purposes. The company last fall paid for soil borings along well-used hiking trails within the park.
The issue spurred widespread community debate about the pros and cons of such a land exchange, often pitting loyal park users against business growth advocates. Company officials in recent months pitched during public meetings their idea to both city and township leaders, who in turn received an abundance of public feedback on the point.
Charlevoix Township even hosted a public hearing to record official testimony.
“It was important we make a good decision. It was important that we hear from our constituents,” said Nancy Rajewski, a township trustee who said she formerly cross-country skied at Fisherman’s Island State Park in her younger years.
“There is a high usage level out there,” she continued. “You have to think of everybody who would be impacted.”
Chuck Center, township supervisor, said the impassioned comments from the public about preserving the state park as it is now obviously is born from the community’s collective love of the park. He also acknowledged Charlevoix Township is the first municipality to choose a side of the fence in this case.

“We felt that we were knowledgeable of the subject and could give our opinion,” Center said.

However, Center underscored how the ultimate decision — should a land swap proposal ever be submitted to the state by St. Marys — will not be made by local leaders.

“It’s only a resolution and we’d hope it has some sway with the DNR director, but it’s ultimately up to him,” Center said.

Dirk Cox, of St. Marys, confirmed the company has not yet submitted a land exchange proposal to the DNR because “we haven’t even finalized any kind of a concept,” he said.

Cox said he is not surprised by the township board’s approval of the resolution.

“I think everybody is entitled to their opinion and they made theirs clear,” he said. “I think it’s premature, but they are entitled to their opinion.”

Meanwhile, Cox said the company completed the second phase of an archeological study, while currently a biodiversity study is under way to catalog the area’s flora and fauna. Finally, the community committee to study the issue which the company wants to establish is expected to be facilitated by Michigan State University Extension, he said.

Follow @sherimcwhirter and @ChxCourier on Twitter.

Print out our new flyer.

CONFIRMATION! Good News! Fisherman’s Island State Park is encumbered (protected) under the Land and Water Conservation Fund! We still have to work hard to show the land is not “surplus” and we have to show that it is useful!

In the DNR’s original review of the land in Fisherman’s Island State Park,  it was believed not to be encumbered, which would make it easier for what is called conversion, or a land swap. It doesn’t mean that conversion can’t occur, it just makes it more difficult.
In the DNR document “talking points” it was important enough to be mentioned first thing on their list.

This is the email that confirms this;

Ms. Beemon – I wanted to provide feedback on one aspect of your letter and that is the comment related to the desired public land being encumbered under the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The Director, as well as other DNR staff involved, have been informed that the parcel is encumbered in a 6(f)3 LWCF boundary. The initial information provided to the Director was based on a quick review to determine how the desired parcel was obtained and as you are aware it was not obtained using LWCF funding. The entire park became encumbered in 1975 when DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division received a LWCF grant (26-00590) to acquire 1,521 acres in another portion of the park. As stated in the LWCF manual, when funding is provided for acquisition in a park, the entire park becomes encumbered regardless of how it was acquired.

As you are aware, we have not received a request for a land exchange or to convert any land in Fisherman’s Island State Park and, therefore, have not initiated a formal review of such an exchange. I am confident if we would have received a request, our formal review process would have quickly revealed the 6(f)3 encumbrance.

Thank you –

Steve DeBrabander, Manager
Grants Management Section
Finance and Operations Division
Mi. Dept. of Natural Resources
517-284-5930 NEW

The Michigan DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. http://www.nps.gov/ncrc/programs/lwcf/protect.html

The Michigan Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan 2012-2017
The document that the DNR is supposed to be using to give direction to their policies and programs.
full document click here.

SCORP excerpts click here

Talk to Charlevoix City Council – Save Fisherman’s Island State Park

St. Mary’s wants the north end of Fisherman’s Island State Park and Bells Bay Road to consolidate their quarry pit and improve their bottom line. That’s how corporations operate – they are looking out for their financial interests – and there is nothing wrong with that. However, just because they want it does not mean we are under any obligation give it to them or to bargain it away. Dirk Cox has stated many times that they have enough limestone to mine for 100 years. He has stated that their business is doing well and that they do not need State land to stay in business.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *