Lake Hudson: Some land to be leased

Written by David Green.

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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
  • Front.bridge.17
    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.eclipse
    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Front.batter

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