Friday, January 07, 2005


MI UP Land Deals Reached

In the past decade or so, land development in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has been an increasing concern. In the days where mining and forestry companies like Lake Superior Land Co. controlled large chunks of the UP (at one point, LSLC owned over 90% of the Keweenaw Peninsula), public access to this land was, with a few exceptions, pretty well-protected. But as LSLC was bought by International Paper, its assets were quickly split-up and the sell-off started as developers came in and started offering attractive amounts of money for this highly-desirable land. Ironically enough, the cessation of logging and mining activities posed a threat to nature lovers.

This has triggered a series of land protection deals, big and small, between the State of Michigan, conservation groups, and International Paper (along with other holding groups). It's especially nice to hear that the Beta Gris area is getting some protection (I hadn't even heard that Hunter's Point was threatened, but it was clear even five years ago that Beta Gris was going to be destroyed if further development took place). At first glance, these deals appear to be very beneficial to those that enjoy the wonder that is the great outdoors of the Upper Peninsula.

Call me cynical, but I don't wonder if the parties involved were just as interested in elevating the values of land that butts up against these lands. I seem to remember that there were large chunks of land available in and around these areas by Detroit Area Realtors. There was the chunk smack dab between the conservancies near Brockway, the 120 acres off the Seney wildlife refuge. I guess I just don't trust people to be responsible for land they don't live on.
Yea, you might be on to something. Just look at the whole Hoffma "reserve" debacle in GHT.
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