DNR acquires 100 acres of Sargent Sand land

December 19, 2018

Ludington State Park will be growing by 100 acres — 60 of which have never been altered — in a $17 million deal announced by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Tuesday to buy the land from Sargent Sand.

“That’s a great Christmas present,” said Bob Sassin, president of the Friends of the Ludington State Park, when he was asked Tuesday afternoon. “We had a meeting this morning, and we didn’t know about it.”

The 100 acres is on the northern portion of the 372-acre parcel of land that has been mined since the 1930s. The deal, which included funds from several private and public entities, closed on Tuesday.

“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 stated in a press release.

The purchase during the Oct. 11 Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing.

“We are very appreciative of the willingness of the Sargent family to work with the DNR on this purchase,” Creagh said. “Their generous actions will leave a considerable legacy for future generations.”

Mining will continue on the remaining acreage of Sargent Sand. The mining operation’s permit with the state’s Department of Environmental Quality runs through Dec. 31, 2021, and it can be renewed. The reclamation of mined lands is a requirement of the permit.

Contributing to the $17 million acquisition was the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, the Michigan State Park Endowment Fund and the Land Exchange Facilitation Fund — all of which are sources managed by either the DNR or by an independent board associated with the department. The Nature Conservancy and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation each contributed $1 million to the purchase.

“The Nature Conservancy is thrilled to help protect this beautiful property as part of Ludington State Park for all of Michigan’s residents and visitors to enjoy,” said Helen Taylor, the conservancy’s state director for Michigan.

“The Mott Foundation sees this as a unique opportunity to protect land that is truly the front door of Ludington State Park,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the foundation.

The Daily News reported in December 2017 that the trust fund was negotiating for all or part of 372 acres of Sargent Sand property. Gov. Rick Snyder signed a measure that included $12.5 million of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund money for the acquisition of part or all of 372 acres.

Read the full story in Wednesday’s Ludington Daily News print and e-Editions.

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