With a new mineral lease signed with Spring Mill Reclamation, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources can start on an effort to improve and restore a significant portion of Island Lake State Recreation Area in Livingston County.
The project site involves a 540-acre gravel mine in the state park south of Spring Mill Pond in Green Oak Township. The Michigan DNR will also acquire a 155-acre land parcel in the lease – known as the Cunningham tract — that will expand the footprint of the Pinckney Recreation Area
Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said the 10-year lease would facilitate the restoration of the site’s native grassland. The project includes the removal of mining debris, sand, and gravel to make way for restoring a mix of hilly and flat terrain. Both the reclamation project and the parcel project were made possible by the nonmetallic minerals lease between the DNR and Spring Mill Reclamation LLC.
“This restoration project has been on the horizon since 2014 when we began looking into creative ways to fund this cleanup and enhancement at Island Lake State Recreation Area,” says Olson. “The DNR is proud to have the opportunity to improve and expand access to public outdoor recreation opportunities in southern Michigan through this agreement.”
Mark Sweatman, director of the DNR Office of Minerals Management, said that under the lease, it’s expected that Spring Mill Reclamation will mine nearly 10 million tons of aggregate from the Island Lake site. The DNR will receive royalty payments close to $10 million in return — funds that will be deposited into the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund for use in the creation and expansion of future outdoor recreation options within the state.
“The lease will enable the DNR to reclaim a significant part of Island Lake State Recreation Area that once was a mining site and restore it to healthy grassland habitat that will attract a variety of wildlife and expand outdoor recreation opportunities,” says Sweatman.