Federal lands are managed under an increasingly complex and contentious array of legislative and regulatory pressures. Added to this mix are the growing list of public and special interest demands on how those lands should be managed and used. The dynamic back-and-forth between conservationist and preservationist worldviews pressures federal land managers to fit widely diverging land uses into a shrinking land base.
Rather than forcing managers to linger in the “process predicament” that has stalled management decisions and endangered both public and private lands, public policy should turn to collaborative management efforts that have the potential to provide a path forward.
By recognizing the efforts and commitment of other land managers and stakeholders around the nation, and applying the lessons those examples provide, the collaborative measures described in this paper could provide solutions to avoid conflicts in Michigan’s federally owned lands. Proper management of those public lands could lead to improved forest health and increased public access and use of Michigan’s great outdoors.