2009-11-05 / Outdoors

DNR director may ban vehicles from Russell Lake property

Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries as early as today (Thursday) could sign a land use order banning wheeled, motorized vehicles from 816 acres of state-owned land bordering Russell Lake in Higgins Township.

DNR division chiefs, in recommend­ing the action to Humphries, said when the DNR purchased the land in 2007, it intended that access would be by foot traf­fic only. A fence and gate were installed and there is a parking lot at the south­west corner of the property, but recently people have been driving around the gate and driving on a road which crosses an earthen dam which has a washout and is not safe for vehicle travel, they said. Vehicle travel could damage the road because of the high water table on the property, they added. Comments from the public at a Sept. 10 Roscommon Management Unit open house favored pedestrian traffic only for the site.

If Humphries signs the order, it would take effect next month. Besides reviewing that proposed order, the Michigan Natural Resourc­es Commission, at its meeting today (Thursday) in Lansing, will review an­other that would increase some fees at the MacMullan Conference Center, Hig­gins Lake. Fees for overnight accom­modations at two of the center’s lodges would increase by $1, the use fee for a half day would rise by 50 cents and the price of lunch for non-state groups would increase by 75 cents.

If signed by Humphries, the order would take effect in January.

A third proposed order would al­low the DNR to purchase 20 acres of land near the DNR Airport in Higgins Township from Florentino and Kimberly Ramirez of Millington for $37,500. DNR division chiefs said the purchase will help consolidate state land ownership and eliminate the need for monitoring 3/4 of a mile of private boundary within the state forest.

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