Lake Hudson: Some land to be leased

Written by David Green.


Decades ago, when Lake Hudson State Recreation Area was still private property, much of the land was used for agriculture.

A portion of what’s now state land will return to agriculture next year through a new lease program.

lake-hudson-storyPark supervisor Tim Bauer advertised last month to gauge interest in the program and he was encouraged by the response. He plans to move forward and seek bids for the next planting season.

Just under 500 of the park’s 2,900 acres will be leased. Acreage is located in three parcels—one located off Lawrence Road, one off Posey Lake Highway and the third off Tomer Road.

The successful bidder could lease all three properties or only one. Bids will be opened at

the Department of Natural Resources office in Roscommon.

Bauer cites two reasons for the program. The obvious one, he said, is to bring in needed revenue for the state park system. Each park unit in the state faces a challenge to bring in new revenue and this was Bauer’s answer. To his knowledge, this is the first agricultural lease program established.

For years a sharecropper program has operated at Lake Hudson in which, for example, a farmer plants 20 acres of corn and leaves two acres standing for wildlife.

The new program is completely different, Bauer said. Renters may plant whatever they want and harvest it all.

There is an important stipulation, however, and that leads to the second benefit for the park.

“Part of the bid package is that they will have to maintain food plots [for wildlife],” Bauer said.

Free seed from the National Wild Turkey Federation—including sunflowers and sorghum—must be planted along field edges at the width of one grain drill. The bid details will be specific about where the wildlife strips must be located.

“This will be an enhancement for hunting and wildlife activities,” he said.

Bauer said leases will be signed for a five-year period, with two one-year extensions possible. He was told the land would be very good for forage crops and could be of interest to area dairy farms.

Morenci city council recently leased undeveloped land in the industrial park for more than $100 an acre.

Bauer said he wouldn’t be surprised to hear of complaints about the program. Any time there’s a change it won’t sit right with everyone, he said. From his perspective, the move will be a plus for wildlife, both game and otherwise.

Unique place

Bauer has worked at several parks in his career, but he’s developed a special liking for Lake Hudson.

“It’s really a lot different than other parks,” he said. “It has a lot of unique features.”

The on-going muskie brood lake project, the lake level control structure, rustic campsites, the night sky preserve, the uncrowded conditions—those are a few of Lake Hudson’s aspects that quickly come to his mind.

“Sometimes you like to see a place that’s quieter and more serene,” he said. “Lake Hudson is a cool park.”

Bauer mentioned a study by the National Wildlife Federation that found Americans too disconnected with the outdoors. People just aren’t getting enough contact with the natural world, he said.

Lake Hudson, with its grasslands, woods, trails, lake and night sky, could be just the answer.

As undeveloped areas continue to shrink, preserved land can only become more important, Bauer said. The likelihood of new parks coming into existence also gets smaller.

“In time, these properties’ worth will become absolutely immeasurable,” he said.

  - Oct. 4, 2006


  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016