Sen. Casperson introduced and the Senate passed Bills 1021 and 1022 dealing with PILT payments to counties that benefit from such payments. To begin with the senator repeatedly makes reference to "state lands" or "purchase of state lands."
This erroneous promotion of those terms has led citizens for many, many years to believe the statements are true. Actually they are far from the truth. Lands purchased through the use of tax dollars or other sources are intended solely to be public and the property of the people not some euphemistic, nebulous being called "state lands." Granted the term is loosely applied to these lands by the public, politicians and the DNR for that matter but the fact remains these are public lands, the DNR owns zero land in this state. The Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act designates the DNR to be the agency charged with overseeing the use and protection of these lands.
The process outlined in these bills that the senator is a complex and costly one. It is a strategy designed to make the process so expensive that the DNR, on behalf of the people, will have to sell off public lands. Having done so the developers and forestry industries will be able to snap it up in large amounts. The senator has claimed since he arrived in Lansing that the DNR owns too much land and he is entitled to his opinion.
However, when the people wake up and find all those lands posted as private just where will they camp, hunt, fish for trout, pick mushrooms, hike or pick berries?
Alvin G Covell