Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan

Staff Reports
11/19/01

After a decade of haggling, South Fox Island landowner David Johnson says he's had enough. The Bloomfield Hills developer proposed a scaled-back land exchange with Michigan, hoping to conclude the battle over holdings on the rugged Lake Michigan island. Johnson made his offer Nov. 8 in letters to the state Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "I've had enough of the whole thing,'' he told The Associated Press. The Natural Resources Commission is expected to vote on the plan Dec. 7. Brian Upton, attorney for the band, a leading critic of the previous swap plan, said the tribe wanted to study the new version before commenting. "It's a lot to digest.'' Johnson's new proposal came days after Congress approved legislation blocking the previous plan from taking effect for one year. The publicly owned parcels are scattered among Johnson's in a "crazy quilt'' pattern he says worsens a trespassing problem on his property. There was tentative agreement on an exchange to consolidate Johnson's holdings in the central and southern portions of the island and leave the northern part to the state. Opponents, including the tribe, environmentalist and sporting groups, said that plan sacrificed valuable public shoreline and hunting grounds.

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