New State Game Area Contemplated

The following story appeared in the Monroe Evening News on Thursday August 11. The BDC is supportive of this type of project as it provides a wide range of activities that tend to attract new residents to an area. As we work to attract new business and retain existing businesses to the county, making sure we have the talent pool is a key strategy for our development plans. A new state game area will certainly support our development plans. 

 

State game area proposed in London

County commissioners are considering backing the state’s plans and its effort to seek a grant to fund the project.

BY DEAN COUSINO

dean@monroenews.com

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking local support from Monroe County commissioners and other local governments for a new state game area in the northwest part of the county that once was mined for sand and gravel.

The DNR’s Wildlife Division is pursuing a state grant to buy about 650 acres at the former London Sand facility in London Township.

Representatives from the division lobbied for backing from the county board of commissioners last week and outlined the game preserve and benefits through a PowerPoint presentation.

Shown is the conceptual site plan for the proposed state game area in London Township. The area (outlined in red) includes about 650 acres of the former London Sand facility and would feature a small shooting range, a boat launch, an 85-acre lake, wetlands and a marsh for outdoors enthusiasts. — Courtesy image

The commissioners liked what they heard, said J. Henry Lievens, board chairman. “ There’s nothing not to like” about the proposal, 

Mr. Lievens said Monday. “ They’re proposing a mix of 80 acres of inland fishing in the quarry, 100 acres of deer hunting, a gun range and five miles of hiking trails. … I hope we will be able to do it.”

Michael Bosanac, county administrator, said he and the board’s legal counsel are preparing a resolution to support the DNR’s efforts to establish a game area. The board will act on the resolution at its next meeting Tuesday.

“ There are no county funds ( going) toward the project, just a supporting resolution,” Mr. Bosanac said.

An educational component also is planned for people living in adjacent communities near the area, Mr. Lievens noted. The area would be open from dawn to dusk and there would be no overnight camping, the representatives said.

A small- scale public shooting range is being considered, said Zach Cooley, a wildlife biologist for the DNR at the Pointe Mouillee State Game Area in Berlin Township. It would be located in a safe, fish- bowl- like area in the quarry that offers an allclay backstop for shooters, Mr. Lievens said.

“It looks safe,” the board chairman said. “Not everyone has the luxury to join a sportsmen’s club or have a back 40” to shoot on.

The site would be larger than an existing game area in Petersburg.

The DNR has a fall deadline to apply for a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The grants are “very competitive, and we need a lot of help to make this happen,” Mr. Cooley said in an email.

“ The vast majority of the state’s population lives in southern Michigan, and public land where people can recreate is in short supply in this part of state,” he said.

Monroe Chapters of Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited and the Michigan United Conservation Club are backing the project.

“ We also have some political support, but local support and Monroe County citizens calling their representatives and senators could really help our grant application,” Mr. Cooley said.

The potential game area would be located one mile from where Monroe, Washtenaw and Wayne counties all meet, he said. About 23 percent of the state’s entire population lives in the three counties.

“ In my opinion, this would be a huge addition for Monroe County,” Mr. Cooley said. “ The potential game area could offer hiking, canoeing/ kayaking, bird watching, fishing, waterfowl hunting, turkey hunting, small game and deer hunting.”

Mr. Lievens suggested the county give the proposal its “strongest support to improve the quality of life” in the county.

Informaton about the game area can be obtained by contacting Mr. Cooley at Cooleyz@michigan.gov or 379-9692.

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