LANSING, MI – Gov. Rick Snyder today applauded the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board of trustees’ recommendations to the Legislature to fund recreational development projects across the state. The recommendations encourage outdoor activity and further support the state’s tourism industry.
The board’s recommendations total nearly $28 million to fund land acquisition and development projects in 2016.
“Michigan’s world-class natural resources and recreation opportunities play an important role in driving our state’s reinvention,” Gov. Snyder said. “The Trust Fund board’s vision builds on the appeal of Michigan’s great outdoor spaces, strengthens our economy, and improves the quality of life in our communities.”
The board recommended a total of $19.9 million for 26 acquisition grants in 18 counties. These include land containing a significant waterfall in Houghton County, two areas to be used for increased boating access to Lake St. Clair, land near the Grand River in Grand Rapids to support recreational development of the river, and frontage on Bear Lake in Manistee County for installation of new kayak and canoe launches.
Eight million dollars for 44 development grants located in 30 different counties was also recommended. These include boat launch improvements in Frankenmuth (Saginaw County), a trail-enhancement project in Watersmeet Township (Gogebic County), a universally accessible playground in Ann Arbor (Washtenaw County) and park improvements in Redford Charter Township (Wayne County).
“This year’s recommended grants reflect the Trust Fund board’s clear understanding of the value that local economies gain from having broad public access to quality recreation opportunities and resources,” DNR Director Keith Creagh said. “Michigan is increasingly known for its parks, trails, natural spaces and opportunities for enjoyment and exploration – all of which enhance a community’s ability to attract residents, businesses and tourists.”
The board considered a total of 149 applications seeking $50 million in funding. In a competitive process, all eligible applications were evaluated on scoring criteria developed by the board.
Of the $19.9 million recommended to fund acquisition projects, $15.2 would be awarded to local units of government, while the remaining $4.7 million would be awarded to the Department of Natural Resources. Of the $8 million recommended to fund development grants, $6.5 million would support 39 local government projects and $1.5 million would support five DNR projects.
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund that was established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for conservation and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded through interest earned on funds derived from the development of publicly owned minerals such as oil and natural gas. Over the past 39 years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve recreation opportunities for Michigan citizens.
The board’s recommendations will go to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the appropriations process. Upon approval, the Legislature forwards a bill to the governor for his signature.
A full list of the final recommendations made by the Trust Fund board is available at www.michigan.gov/mnrtf.