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      Residents upset after cement company explores possible land swap

      A Charlevoix company is exploring the option of asking the DNR for state park land to mine for limestone.

      While this is not yet a done deal, a group of residents is already fighting to make sure the land isn't touched.

      Rick and Jo Anne Beemon have been coming to Fisherman's Island State Park for as long as they remember.

      But they feel like the land they love is in danger.

      "This place is a place that's our heart, it's a place for generations of us have gone," Jo Anne Beemon said.

      St. Mary's Cement Company has been looking into the possibility of swapping land with the DNR.

      "It's a concept, it's not a proposal to the State of Michigan," Dirk Cox, St. Mary's Cement Plant Manager said. "At this point were not even sure if it's going to turn into a proposal."

      The conceptual map shows an area outlined close to the plant that the company would like to own. In return they would give the state park a piece of land that they own east of the park.

      "Anybody who lives around here should have a say in what's going on and we need to engage them in dialogue so we can assess the pros and cons of this potential proposal," Cox said.

      So far, the cement company has talked to the surrounding townships and the county about the idea, to get some feedback before making a formal proposal.

      The Beemons and others upset about the idea have started a campaign on Facebook.

      "I don't want to see this turned in to what we consider a wasteland," Rick Beemon said.

      And they hope a proposal doesn't even hit the desk of the DNR.

      "They have no right to take our state park," Jo Anne Beemon said. "For them to even ask to take our state park is insulting, this is our public park."

      The DNR said if the cement company submits a proposal it would take months to process. They also said the public would have a chance to voice any concerns before the DNR makes any final decision.