“No matter where you are in Michigan, you’re never far from a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund-supported project,” said Snyder. “These important grants create better, broader access to public recreation opportunities for individuals and families in every county statewide.”
House Bill 5377, sponsored by state Rep. Jon Bumstead and co-sponsored by state Rep. Al Pscholka, approves funding for 70 recreation projects and land purchases recommended by the board last December. It is now Public Act 61 of 2016.
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. This round of grant funding includes support for expanding public access and athletic field enhancement at local parks; making land and water trail connections along existing trail corridors; furthering significant natural resource protection projects, and expanding waterfront and public boating access opportunities.
This year the board recommended $19.9 million for acquisition grants and $8 million for development grants.
Twenty-one acquisition grants were awarded to local units of government for a total of $15.2 million, while five acquisition grants went to the Department of Natural Resources for projects totaling $4.7 million. The Trust Fund board also recommended $6.5 million in development grants be awarded to 39 local units of government while five DNR projects garnered a total of $1.5 million.
"When a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant is awarded to a local unit of government, that funding brings economic, recreational and quality-of-life benefits to the surrounding community," said DNR Director Bill Moritz. “Projects like these often have a real impact on local businesses, too.”
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund 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 and can only be used for public outdoor recreation. Over the past 40 years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve recreation opportunities in Michigan.
The Trust Fund board's recommendations went to the Michigan Legislature for review earlier this year as part of the appropriation process. Once approved by the Legislature, the bill is sent to the governor for his approval and signature.