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Michigan DNR land auction includes waterfront property, $300 lot in Flint

A lake
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is auctioning surplus land managed by the department. All proceeds will be used to buy land for outdoor recreation. (Courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources)
  • Michigan will auction 91 properties starting Aug. 2. 
  • The properties are scattered throughout the state and range in size from under an acre to 160 acres 
  • Proceeds will help purchase land to expand outdoor recreational activities

Waterfront property along Trout Lake in the Upper Peninsula and Seminole Lake in Otsego County are among the 91 parcels the state of Michigan is auctioning to raise money for recreational activities.

The state’s surplus land sale begins Aug. 2 and lasts through early September and includes an 80-acre plot in Grand Traverse County, 39 acres in Eaton Township outside Lansing as well as land near rivers and lakes and amid forests.

Waterfront parcels are available in Cheboygan, Chippewa, Houghton, Luce, Marquette, Menominee, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Otsego and St. Clair counties.


Some parcels are tiny, including a triangle in Sault Ste. Marie too small for a house. More than 30 that are 40 acres or larger are available in the northern Lower Peninsula. 

Minimum bids range from $300 for 0.2 acres in Flint to $320,000 for 77 rolling acres in Genoa Township in Livingston County.


Michigan manages over 4.6 million acres of public land. So-called “surplus” property is auctioned because it’s isolated from other public property, which makes managing land or improving it difficult.

“If it's 5 or 7 or 10 miles away from the main track of ownership, we're not sending resources in the form of, conservation officers, timber people, foresters, people like that, to just go to manage that 40-acre piece,” Michael Michalek, resource specialist for the Michigan Department of Environmental Resources. 

“It's not even worth it to go out there … We want those people to be in our main tracks of ownership,” Michalek said. 

The DNR plans to use the sales from the auction to purchase “critical land” and use it to expand outdoor recreational opportunities, including trails, Michalek. 

How to enter the auction

Click here for full list of the available parcels. Pre-register for the auction at

Auctions are online and are scheduled over 11 days until Sept. 5, depending on where the properties are located.

Auctions are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Winners will be announced when bidding closes. The schedule follows:

Aug. 2:  Land in Eaton and Livingston counties

Aug. 6: Land in Chippewa, Luce and Mackinac counties

 Aug. 7:  Land in Dickinson, Houghton, Marquette, Menominee and Ontonagon counties

Aug. 8: Land in Crawford, Missaukee, Ogemaw, Otsego and Roscommon counties

Aug. 9: Land in Antrim and Charlevoix counties

Aug. 13:  Land in Alpena, Cheboygan and Presque Isle counties

Aug. 14: Land in Grand Traverse and Manistee counties

Aug. 21: Land in Arenac and Midland counties

Aug. 22: Land in Macomb and St. Clair counties

Sept. 3: Land in Berrien County

Sept. 5:  Land in Genesee County


Residents interested in entering the bid must pre-register before the property’s auction bid.

An absentee bid can be placed up to 30 days before the auction. For those without internet, registration and absentee bids are available by calling 1-800-259-7470.

Properties from previous auctions that were unsold are available at their original minimum price at BuyNow list

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