Michigan forestry, and presidential candidates on public lands

jeff alexander

Two from Fellows today: From Jeff Alexander, contributor to The Bridge magazine in Michigan:

Policy wind blows through Michigan forests

An hour’s drive south of the Mackinac Bridge, a 67,000-acre patch of state forest known as Chandler Hills offers a stunning glimpse of how Michigan appeared in 1800, before a century of logging left much of the state looking like a moonscape.

The hiss of wind coursing through towering hardwoods and the gurgle of a brook that bursts forth from a ravine are often the only sounds in the densely wooded forest.

There is scant evidence of human activity at Chandler Hills: A few trails that are used primarily by locals who know about this densely wooded oasis between U.S. 131 and Interstate 75, and colored marks spray-painted on intermittent trees.

Those orange marks might as well be war paint.... Read more.

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And Rocky Barker with the Idaho Statesman sees historic echoes in a presidential candidate's plans for public lands:

Santorum's land plan echoes past proposals

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s call to sell or transfer federally owned public lands Tuesday night in Boise earned him several rounds of applause.

But Idaho Gov. Butch Otter found in 2005 that while Idahoans don’t like how federal lands are managed, they don’t want to lose access to the places they hunt, fish and camp.

President Herbert Hoover and former Interior Secretary James Watt learned similar lessons in their times.

But Santorum’s detailed proposal on an issue close to the heart of Westerners may help set him apart from Republican Mitt Romney in the March 6 Republican caucus, which is expected to attract the most devoted party members.

“We need to get it back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector,” Santorum told an overflow crowd at Boise’s Capital High School. “And we can make money doing it.”...Read more.