Program:  Private forest development

Appropriation:

Federal Funds:

$369,800

 

Special Revenue Funds:

$36,100

 

GF/GP:

$473,700

 

Total:

$879,600[12]

 

Program Description:


This appropriation funds a program that redistributes money to private landowners in hopes of facilitating wise ecological use of their property, and administers the Commercial Forest Act and certain federal grants.

 

Recommended Action:


This program should be eliminated.  Private landowners, many of whom are financially well off, should be responsible for the stewardship of their own land, and they have a financial incentive to care for it wisely.  Michigan citizens should not be forced to subsidize private landowners who already have sound reasons to facilitate a wise ecological use of their property.  Removing this line item will hardly result in a dearth of advice on how to manage land in a way that is ecologically sound.  Indeed, owners interested in such advice could consult any one of 40 Michigan-based land trusts.  One group, the AuSable River System Property Owners’ Association, plants trees annually under its “Trees for the AuSable” program to help maintain the banks of the AuSable river.  Savings:  $879,600.

Program:                Adopt-a-forest program

Appropriation:

All from Special Revenue Funds:

$50,000

 

Total:

$50,000[13]

 

Program Description:


This appropriation funds a grant available to private, nonprofit conservation organizations to help subsidize the cost of removing waste material (everything from cans to tires and old appliances) collected from state forestlands.

 

Recommended Action:


This program should be eliminated.  While the intent behind this program is good, its existence begs the question, “why is this a province of state government?”  Private conservation groups exist for conservation efforts such as this.  Indeed, such groups already are granted special, “nonprofit” tax status.  There is no reason to think that these institutions could not fund 100 percent of their own worthy efforts, without this small grant from state government.  Savings:  $50,000.