The state of Michigan is buying part of a controversial sand mine near Ludington. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will buy 100 acres of sand dunes, wetlands and forests for $17 million from Sargent Sand, a sand mining company.
"This purchase will permanently protect a beautiful tract of critical sand dunes, conserving a unique landform and its plants and animals for public enjoyment," DNR Director Keith Creagh says in a press release.
Sargent Sand's mining operation has drawn complaints in recent years. In 2014, property owners complained of persistent noise when the mining operation started back up. Environmentalists also say sand mining hurts the sensitive dune ecosystem.
The land will now become part of Ludington State Park. The 5,300 acre park attracts about a million visitors each year. The DNR says it may acquire additional land from the Sargent family in the future.
Sargent Sand is still mining the 100-acre parcel. Their permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality expires Dec. 31, 2021.