House resolution seeks to help Ottawa Forest lessees

LANSING — A resolution that would allow owners to keep leased land in the Ottawa National Forest is making its way through the legislature.

The United States Forest Service has had a moratorium on their land for the last fifty years that prohibits new recreational residences.

UPPCO owned a large amount of land in the Upper Peninsula in the 1950’s and offered to lease it to residents.

In the early nineties, UPPCO sold that land to the Forest Service, who gave leaseholders an ultimatum: sign a non-renewable twenty-five year lease or vacate.

Those leases are close to expiration.

State Representative Scott Dianda is pushing a resolution that would allow lease holders to keep the land.

“After listening to our constituents who have had these camps for generations, my resolution asks to lift that moratorium on the residential track in the Ottawa National Forest to allow current owners and their families of leased land the opportunity to keep their camps,” said State Representative Scott Dianda.

Dianda said the affected counties of Ontonagon and Gogebic could see a loss of $10,000. In addition, local townships would also suffer a loss of nearly $35,000.

The resolution faced the House Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee earlier this month. Dianda said it was well received and will hopefully see its way to the house floor.