DETROIT-Thousands of acres of privately-owned land are slated to be sold to the state in recent Michigan Land Trust Fund recommendations. The fund’s board of directors recently approved more than $30 million in acquisition requests for land throughout the state, mostly in upper and western Michigan.

These purchases must now pass the state legislature, and, if approved, the money would be spent in 2002, says Sharon Edgar, grants administrator for the state Department of Natural Resources. The specific requests came from her office.

She says land, some vacant and some current commercial and industrial properties, has been chosen to be purchased by the state.

“We’re purchasing this land to save it for outdoor recreation, public access and resource protection,” Edgar tells

The fund was started in the 1970s, when Michigan sold rights to companies to drill for gas and oil on state land. The revenue from those drilling activities were put into the fund, to later be used to buy more land in the state.

The recommendations include more than 9,500 acres.

In the following proposals, the Michigan DNR would receive the grants:

* $859,920 to buy 220 acres around Ransom Lake in Almira Township.

* $3.25 million to buy 550 acres of woodland in Ottawa County, including almost two miles of land on the banks of Grand and Bass Rivers.

* $7.9 million to buy 2,100 acres in Cheyboygan and Otsego counties.

* $12.5 million to buy 6,000 acres of Lake Superior shoreline in Keweenaw County, near the tip of the peninsula, over two years. The property includes the former International Paper property, which will be first purchased by the state Nature Conservancy, then later given to the DNR.

The rest of the recommendations will go directly to the counties, in mostcases to create public parks. These include:

* $6.8 million to buy 400 acres of Lake Michigan shoreline in Grand Traverse County.

* $3.4 million to buy 289 acres along the Grand River in Kent County.

* $2.5 million to buy almost 13 miles of railroad property to create a walking-biking trail.

Edgar says the state is expected to approve the requests soon.

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