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DNR asks for feedback on Mullet Lake public land use

Gete Mino Mshkiigan
Department of Natural Resources
Gete Mino Mshkiigan

A patch of public land in Cheboygan County may be in for a facelift.

The Department of Natural Resources is meeting with residents on Thursday to discuss future development plans for a recreational area on the south side of Mullet Lake.

The 147-acre patch of public land is located between Topinabee and Indian River. The 75-mile North Central State Trail runs through the property and along the west side of Mullet Lake.

It goes by its Anishinabek name, Gete Mino Mshkiigan, which translates to Great Ancient Wetlands.

The DNR bought it in 2013 from the Little Traverse Conservancy, with funding from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund State Trailways Initiative. It’s looking to do small projects to make it more attractive for visitors.

Park management plan administrator Debbie Jensen said the land could provide a nice escape for the surrounding communities.

“It’s relatively undeveloped and quiet,” she said. “Somewhere, you can take a walk and enjoy nature and your surroundings. So, we see it as kind of being a good complement to other things in the area.”

Projects could include new marked trails, a parking lot and educational signage about natural and cultural history.

A meeting with stakeholders already occurred earlier this year. Jensen those who attended already highlighted the need for wetland preservation and educational resources for the land’s tribal history.

The DNR uses general management plans to define a long-range planning and management strategy that protects resources on the property, while addressing recreation and education needs and opportunities.

The draft plan for Gete Mino Mshkiigan looks forward 10-20 years.

“We see (the projects) as kind of fairly low key, not huge changes but just more welcoming and user friendly,” Jensen said.

The meeting is meant for residents to provide feedback to the DNR. It’s set for 4-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8.

An online survey will also be available for people to give feedback on the plan. It’s open through Sept. 25 and will be available on the DNR website.

Michael Livingston covers the area around the Straits of Mackinac - including Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties as a Report for America corps member.