Most people readily recognize the concept of government-protected natural areas and resources, such as parks, state forests and wilderness areas. In fact, our national parks are often described as America’s “crown jewels,” providing recreation opportunities, protection of natural ecosystems and biodiversity, natural laboratories and places of learning, and physically preserving features of the nation’s heritage. All these factors play an important role in conservation.
At the same time, private — both for-profit and not-for-profit — and individual efforts can play an important role in managing the nation’s natural resources and achieving many common goals of conservation.
By inviting a diverse group of conservation organizations, industry experts and government professionals to form a working group on private conservation, the Environmental Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center hopes to achieve four purposes:
- Improve the Mackinac Center’s understanding of conservation efforts currently viewed as politically possible and desirable and highlight private or market-based conservation policy options.
- Facilitate a broader discussion on private conservation as a means of educating the public about these efforts in managing Michigan’s natural resources.
- Encourage bridge building, cooperation and coordination among groups involved with private conservation efforts.
- To identify policy options that promote private conservation across the state.
This report summarizes the discussion and findings of the initial working group meeting, held at the Mackinac Center’s Midland, Mich., offices in the fall of 2018. The document does not attempt to cover every concept discussed. Follow-up activities for the working group include: publishing these proceedings, holding a second meeting in 2020 and developing legislative and policy recommendations to promote private conservation in the state of Michigan.