Poll: Natural resources are state’s best attributes but many residents favor cutting support


 Although natural resources are Michigan residents’ favorite part about living in the state, residents are willing to cut their preservation to alleviate state spending, according to a recent survey.

Natural resources, such as parks, forests and lakes (42.2 percent) and family living nearby (35.5 percent) were by far the poll respondents’ favorite things about living in Michigan.

“Natural resources are something Michiganders are very proud of,” said Jeff Williams, chief executive officer of Public Sector Consultants, the Lansing, Michigan research firm that conducted the survey.

That may be. But when given the choice of where to cut state spending, natural resources received among the highest percentages (13.8 percent) of responses. It trailed only prisons (22.2 percent) and “unsure” (19.5 percent).

“People say something is very important and then when it comes time to pay for it, support evaporates,” Williams said of the disconnect between the love of natural resources and the preference to cut spending on them.

“This proves the need to openly talk about the benefits of natural resources,” Williams said. “Everyone involved in natural resources know they’re beautiful, but they need to reinforce this message to the general public.”

Despite the results, Williams said he is “not worried at all” about the future of natural resource preservation and that he “puts more faith” in the results that natural resources are the best part about living in Michigan.

“People are in Michigan because they want to be,” said Williams, “and they enjoy the four seasons.”

Public Sector Consultants conducted the statewide survey of 600 general election voters over a three-day period in early February.

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