Bipartisan Restoration Economy: Republican state senator in Michigan wins $1.8 million to ecologically restore a natural area

The 2002 book, The Restoration Economy, documented the unique non-partisan nature of “re” activities: redevelopment, restoration, revitalization, remediation, repurposing, renewing, etc. Even as partisan differences render the U.S. government ever more dysfunctional, both parties generally continue to fund programs that make places better.

Even ultr-conservative politicians who hate words like “green,” “sustainable” and “conservation” tend to back the restoration of natural resources.

The latest example cam in July of 2022, when Michigan State Senator Jim Runestad said that the recently-approved fiscal year 2023 state budget includes $1.8 million to help the Haven Hill Natural Area ecological restoration effort within the Highland Recreation Area.

Haven Hill is one of Oakland County’s most treasured sites, offering southeast Michigan families and visitors an excellent window into the Michigan of the 1920s,” said Runestad, a Republican from White Lake.

It is also a wonderful tribute to the Ford family, helping to honor the family’s many contributions to our state and nation,” he added.

The Haven Hill Natural Area is a 721-acre section of the 6,000 acres that make up the Highland Recreation Area and features opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and sledding.

The 2023 general budget bill was signed into law as Public Act 166 of 2022 by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on July 20. The new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

The Haven Hill Natural Area has all of southern Michigan’s principal forest types within one small area, including swamp forest of tamarack, cedar, beech-maple forest, oak-hickory forest, and mixed hardwood forest.

The unique area is designated not only as a state historical site and natural area but is a National Natural Landmark as well. This combination of history and nature in one setting makes the Haven Hill Natural Area a must see for all Michiganders. I hope this effort is able to procure the necessary upgrades they need from this one-time funding boost,” Runestad concluded.

The Haven Hill area has remained largely undisturbed for the past 75 years and has retained its natural character as well as some unusual flora and fauna.

It is an excellent educational facility which is used by universities and international organizations. Late April and early May are the best times to view warblers and spring wildflowers.

Photo courtesy of Friends of Highland Recreation Area.

Learn more about Haven Hill.

You must be logged in to post a comment