Public lands getting a jump-start from utilities

Michigan State Roundup

Published September 1, 2007  | September 2007 issue

Continuing a trend of utilities and paper companies spinning off large land holdings (see "Not out of the woods yet," January 2007 fedgazette), We Energies, a Wisconsin-based power company with a subsidiary serving much of the Upper Peninsula, has sold 7,400 acres of land to Wild River Properties. The private firm, located in Marquette, Mich., plans to use the land for timber and residential development.

We Energies has also identified 3,600 additional acres it expects to sell in the future to several government entities, including the state of Michigan and the U.S. Forest Service, because it has no business use for the acreage. Of the 11,000 acres that will likely be sold, roughly 9,700 acres are located in the U.P., with the remainder in Wisconsin.

According to local reports, much of the land owned by We Energies lies along river systems in the region. We Energies is retaining 30,000 acres around its impoundments and 12 dams that it uses to generate hydroelectric power.

Ronald A. Wirtz