Delta Conservation District explaination

EDITOR:

This letter is in response to an article by reporter Jordan Beck on the committee of the whole meeting between the county and the Delta Conservation District. The reporter did a nice job in reporting what was said at the meeting, but upon public feedback, we believe further explanation is needed.

The part of the meeting I will be addressing is the sale of Fishdam Park and the purchase of the Delta County Forest. It was stated at the meeting by administrator Strom and printed in the p article that, “Strom had difficult conversations with heads of departments within the county because they wanted the sale money to be split between the different departments.” Also, there were other initiatives and projects the county needs to do with no revenues reserved.

To address this subject, first I would like to state that when the Conservation District was asked to take over management of Delta County Parks that Fishdam was one of five parks. We were asked by the commissioners at that time to try and use the park properties to fix, stabilize and provide increased recreational opportunities and generate revenue to support such. Fishdam, at that time, wasn’t really being used and the potential for future increased opportunities was low. I must further state that the commissioners at that time had no interest in selling any park land to generate revenue so the District through public input came up with the idea of trading the property for another piece that would meet the objectives outlined by the county.

We pursued an acre-for-acre trade with the U.S. Forest Service, but after looking over 34,000 acres no such deal could be reached. It was then decided that the county would request a MNRTF grant to maximize the opportunity to enhance park land and future revenue. The result was an increase of 10 times the land base and future park revenue off the charts compared to the Fishdam property potential. So, the initial intention of a trade was met with no loss of county park land, not a land sale. 140 acres was turned into 1,400 acres. The part of Fishdam south of US-2 along Lake Michigan still belongs to the county. The boat launch along US-2 is leased to the MDNR for fishermen/women to get out on the big lake and the shoreline to the east is still available to the public.

Those interested in the whole story of the Delta County Forest can attend the Conservation District annual meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the new pavilion in Pioneer Trail Park at 6 p.m. The evenings presentation from start (2010) through today and into the future will be presented and explained by power-point pictures and the final 100-year plan being developed. The why, what, where, when and how will be answered. There will be a dinner included and tickets can be purchased for $7 (cost of dinner) at the CD office or call (906) 553-7700 to reserve.

Jack Herrick

Delta Conservation District

Chairman of the Board