Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians of Michigan

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The band joined environmentalists in criticizing a plan to construct a road through critical dunes on South Fox Island and it appears the state Department of Natural Resources has backed off. Still unclear is whether the state will proceed with a proposed swap of land on the Lake Michigan Island with a Detroit-area developer David Johnson. The state would trade its holdings on the southern part of the island for Johnson's land on the northern section. He would be required to restore an old lighthouse and nearby buildings on the island's southern tip. Natural Resources had applied to the Department of Environmental Quality to build a road giving Johnson access to the lighthouse, but has withdrawn the request. Brian Upton, an attorney for the tribe, said the agency's decision about the road is "a positive development' but that problems remain. A department spokesman said it would still like to consolidate its island holdings for more efficient management and might seek to release piping plover chicks on parts of the island. The small shorebird is listed as an endangered species because of habitat loss and overhunting in the last century. None has been seen on Fox Island since 1939.