Michigan Action Alert: State Senate Bills 302 & 303

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is committed to defending against attacks on the public lands and waters that help sustain Michigan’s outdoor traditions. Once again, unpopular anti-public lands legislation has been introduced that could result in the loss of publicly accessible lands and reduce the ability of the DNR to acquire new lands.

Join BHA in defending public access to state lands and waters! Call your state senators and urge them to oppose Senate bills 302 and 303.

A hearing on the two bills is scheduled for Wednesday, May 3, at 12:30 pm in Room 1300 of the Binsfeld Building, 201 Townsend St., Lansing, MI 48933. Show up and show your opposition! Can’t make the hearing? Call your legislator here http://www.senate.michigan.gov/fysbyaddress.html

  1. S.B. 302 will result in a loss of publicly accessible lands.

    1. The No. 1 reason sportsmen and women give up their outdoor traditions is insufficient public access. This legislation includes language that would compound this problem by pressuring DNR to sell land that is not a state park, recreation area or game area. This would include boat launches, river access sites, and state forest lands. This discounts the economic benefit of hunters, anglers, trappers and other outdoor recreationalists who use these lands. It would reduce access to our public lands and waterways.

  1. S.B. 302 and S.B. 303 will reduce the ability of the DNR to acquire lands.

    1. A hard state land cap would be set in place if PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) are not made in full and on time. This is unnecessary, as legislation already is in place requiring the legislature to make PILT payments on time, thus punishing outdoor recreationalists of this state for the legislature failing to do its job and ignoring its own laws.

    2. Local municipalities would have veto power over land acquisitions if more than 40 percent of the municipalities consist of public lands and commercial forest areas. This prevents the DNR from acquiring critical habitat such as deer yarding areas in the Upper Peninsula. It also prevents willing seller/willing buyer sales and private individuals from protecting their property in perpetuity by selling it to the state.

    3. S.B. 303 unnecessarily rewrites the Land Exchange Facilitation Fund by opening it to uses other than its original intent – as a way to purchase land to replace land that was sold. S.B. 303 would allow the proceeds deposited into the fund from a public land sale to be used for day to day public lands management, thus providing a financial mechanism to sell off state lands. The legislature has been attempting to rob this funding source for years, and this is its latest attempt.

  1. S.B. 302 will reduce the value of our public lands to hunters, anglers and trappers.

    1. The bill limits the type of habitat work that is able to be done by requiring that work cannot be done expressly for non-game species on lands acquired through the game and fish protection account. This breaks down one of the greatest arguments for hunting and angling, which is that hunting is conservation and that our dollars go to protect all habitats and species, not just the ones we want to hunt. Consequently, habitat in the areas we hunt and fish will be degraded, but our perception within the broader non-hunting community will be adversely affected.

    2. The bill strips away the authority of the DNR to decide how it manages its lands by requiring a hearing any time a committee chair requests one. This prevents the DNR from quickly addressing important habitat and resource issues and will lead to the micromanaging of those trained to manage our lands.

    3. The bill also will open un-roaded and backcountry areas of public land to motorized use. This will degrade habitat – all in the face of increasing demand for non-motorized hunting and fishing opportunities across the state.

These bills are wide ranging, and these are but a few of the ways they will greatly affect our ability to enjoy our public lands and waters.

Please call the members of the Senate Natural Resources committee and urge them to reject S.B. 302 and S.B. 303.

Tom Casperson Committee Chair, 38th District (517) 373-7840

Phil Pavlov Vice Chair, 25th District (517) 373-7708

David Robertson 14th District (517) 373-1636

Jim Stamas 36th District (517) 373-7946

Rebekah Warren Minority Vice Chair, 18th District (517) 373 2406

 

About Michigan BHA Chapter

See other posts related to Michigan BHA michigan issues michigan news michigan