The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) board of trustees has recommended to the Michigan Legislature that 76 recreation development projects and land acquisitions totaling $27,677,800 be funded in 2014. In 2013, the board considered a total of 142 applications seeking $49,431,900 in funding. In a competitive process, all eligible applications were evaluated based on scoring criteria developed by the MNRTF board.
“No matter where you are in our state, you’re never far from a park, trail, outdoor project or natural area that has benefited in some way from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “Each of Michigan’s 83 counties has seen, in ways small and large, the economic and quality-of-life boosts that come from better and broader access to quality public outdoor recreation, courtesy of Trust Fund-supported projects.”
The Trust Fund board recommends funding to both state and local agencies for development projects and land acquisitions that will further access to public outdoor recreation.
Last year, the board recommended $19,033,200 for acquisition grants and $8,644,600 for development grants. Twenty-three acquisition grants were awarded to local units of government for a total of $9,183,200, while nine acquisition grants went to the DNR for projects totaling $9,850,000. The Trust Fund board also recommended a total of $7,167,600 in development grants be awarded to 39 local units of government while five DNR projects garnered a total of $1,477,000.
"Michigan’s communities are home to unique, natural spaces and offer great potential for quality outdoor recreation opportunities – both of which play a big role in regional placemaking for our state,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “Communities that actively engage in placemaking have strong recreation plans as part of their long-term planning processes, making it easier for them to compete for and leverage these important Trust Fund dollars. In addition, these recommendations illustrate a strategic investment in trails, furthering Michigan’s reputation as the Trail State.”
The MNRTF is a restricted fund that was established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for resource protection 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. Over the past 37 years, the Trust Fund has granted nearly $1 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve recreation opportunities in Michigan.
The Trust Fund board's recommendations will go to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the appropriations process. The Legislature then forwards a bill to the governor for his approval.
A list of the final recommendations made by the Trust Fund board is available at www.michigan.gov/mnrtf.