200+ parcels of Michigan state-managed land available via online auctions

Lake frontage, trail access, small lots to extend a neighborhood lot – these types of acreage and more are available in the next round of surplus land auctions from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The department is busy preparing 225 such properties for sale via online auction in September and October.

Land is available in counties mainly in central/northern Lower Michigan and in the Upper Peninsula. Counties include Allegan, Antrim, Bay, Crawford, Gladwin, Gogebic, Houghton, Lake, Lapeer, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oscoda, Otsego, Schoolcraft and Shiawassee. Several of the largest parcels are in Allegan, Antrim, Newaygo, Oscoda and Otsego counties.

Ten online auctions will be offered, featuring available land parcels by county:

Sept. 8 – Shiawassee County.
Sept. 9 – Clare and Gladwin counties.
Sept. 10 – Lapeer County.
Sept. 17 – Allegan and Ottawa counties.
Sept. 24 – Lake and Newaygo counties.
Sept. 28 – Kalkaska, Missaukee and Wexford counties.
Oct. 1 – Crawford, Oscoda and Otsego counties.
Oct. 2 – Antrim County.
Oct. 3 – Bay County.
Oct. 5 – Gogebic, Houghton and Schoolcraft counties.

How bidding works
Ten online auctions will be offered between Sept. 8 and Oct. 5. Interested bidders may pre-register and get more information about the online auction schedule at Tax-Sale.info. If you would like to bid on a property, you must register before the property’s auction date. Absentee bids can be made online up to 30 days before the auction.

The “interactive” bidding portion of an auction will open at 10 a.m. on that auction date. At that time, bidders will be able to see current high bids for each property. Bidders can continue to place bids on a property until 7 p.m. when bidding closes and the winning bidder is determined.

A detailed list including minimum bid, acreage, and location information of the properties offered can be found at Michigan.gov/LandForSale. Interested bidders are encouraged to review the Land Sales and Auctions: Terms and Conditions webpage.

Land parcel details

Properties for sale range in size from under an acre to 40 acres. Several parcels are forested and have riverside or lake frontage and are better suited for private ownership. Much of the land offered in these auctions are isolated from other DNR-managed property, which creates some management challenges. Other parcels are included because they offer limited public recreation benefits.

Separate from the online auctions, the DNR is offering additional properties (listed for sale at their former minimum bid prices) that weren’t sold in previous auctions. These properties are available for view and immediate purchase only via the BuyNow list.

For more information about the sale of surplus, state-managed public land, contact Michael Michalek, resource specialist in the DNR’s Real Estate Section, at 517-284-5950. Auction proceeds will help provide future outdoor recreation opportunities in keeping with the DNR’s mission to conserve, protect and manage the state’s natural and cultural resources for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations.

Long-term land strategy, public input

The DNR takes care of about 4.6 million acres of public lands – state parks, trails, forests, hunting lands and more outdoor recreation resources – owned by Michigan residents. The department is guided by a public land strategy in making management decisions about those lands. Sales of surplus lands that no longer fit the department’s strategy are just one of those management tools.

The current land strategy, created in 2013, is undergoing an update this fall to prepare for final submission to the Michigan Legislature in July 2021. It’s critical that the DNR hears from as broad an audience as possible in developing and finalizing the updated land strategy, to ensure that all user groups and conservation perspectives are considered.

Right now, people are invited to visit Michigan.gov/PublicLands and do two things:

Drop a pin on the interactive map, showing the location of public lands they value most, and then complete a short three-question survey.

Review the land strategy updating process details and timeline and watch for future meetings and other opportunities to share input on the plan.