A state board recommends the State of Michigan buy 300 acres of Lake Michigan shoreline that’s currently owned by a sand mining company. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board of directors has voted to spend $7.5 million toward a new deal with Sargent Sand Company.
Sargent Sand has been mining sand on its property inside the borders of Ludington State Park since the 1930s. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has tried several times to buy the land back from the company but the deals have always fallen through.
The mine was dormant for several years. It began operation again in 2014.
Neighbors have complained about the noise generated from the mine, and environmentalists are concerned about its impact on the shoreline ecosystem.
“The vision there is that that property would be reclaimed and restored to a natural state and incorporated as part of Ludington State Park,” says Jon Mayes, grants manager for the DNR. “So we’re really excited that someday we might see that come to fruition.”
Mayes estimates it will take more than $21 million to buy the land – money that would come from the state and private partners. He says the trust fund board is speaking with nature conservancies interested in partnering with the state.
The board's recommendation now goes to the state legislature for approval.