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Points North: Michigan's apolitical conservation legacy

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Michigan Department of Natural Resources
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A century ago, Michigan decided politics was not useful for protecting the state’s forests, water and wildlife. A commission was set up to manage natural resources without much influence from elected officials.

That was a key part of a plan that worked--Michigan was an environmental leader in the following decades. The state restored large forests, transformed the fisheries in the Great Lakes and created a massive endowment to protect more land.

The Natural Resources Commission turns 100 next month, but much of its power has been chiseled away.

 

On this episode of Points North Dave Dempsey talks about Michigan’s conservation legacy and future. He’s the author of Ruin and Recovery: Michigan’s Rise as a Conservation Leader. He’s also senior advisor at the group FLOW, an advocacy group focused on protecting water.

 

Read Dave's recent post about the history of Michigan’s DNR and Natural Resources Commission.

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Peter Payette is the Executive Director of Interlochen Public Radio and has managed the news department since 2001. For more than a decade, he hosted the weekly programPoints North and has reported on a wide range of issues critical to the culture and economy of northern Michigan. His work has been featured on NPR, Michigan Radio, Bridge magazine and Edible Grande Traverse. He has taught journalism and radio production to students and adults at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He is also working on a book about the use of aquaculture to manage Great Lakes fisheries, particularly the use of salmon from the Pacific Ocean to create a sport fishery in the 1960s.