The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) board of trustees recently recommended to the Michigan Legislature that 76 recreation development projects and land acquisitions totaling $23,538,700 be funded in 2013. The board this year considered a total of 142 applications seeking $37,880,200 in funding. In a competitive process, all eligible applications were evaluated based on scoring criteria developed by the MNRTF board.
Several of those funded projects are in the Upper Peninsula:
Gogebic County – City of Bessemer, Mary Street Ethnic Commons and Trailhead Project – $279,900 Development will include an Ethnic Commons and Regional Range Trailhead, including cultural and interpretive signs, flagpoles, greenspace development, gazebo, site furnishings, kiosk, pedestrian lighting, trees and landscape.
Gogebic County – City of Ironwood, Depot Recreation Park and Trailhead Improvements – $295,900. Development of Depot Park and trailhead, including non-motorized trail, construction of pavilion with restroom facility, pathways, parking lot, playground equipment, pedestrian lighting, outdoor furnishings, site amenities, landscaping and kiosk.
Gogebic County – Watersmeet Township, South Agonikak National Recreation Trail Enhancement – $276,800 Development will include restoration and upgrade of the south section of the Agonikak National Recreation Trail for non-motorized use.
Houghton County – Calumet Township, Calumet Lions Park Trail – $29,000 Development will include non-motorized path around Calumet Lake that continues the barrier-free path.
Houghton County – City of Hancock, Navy Street Park Boardwalk – $262,500 Development to include 382 feet of universally designed accessible boardwalk.
Iron County – Bates Township, Bates Township Park Improvements – $155,900 This development project will include ADA compliant access and improvements to existing pavilion, restrooms and development of a fishing pier.
Iron County – City of Gaastra, Restroom Facilities – $64,200 Development to include restroom facilities with storage area near existing ball and soccer field.
Luce County – Village of Newberry, Tahquamenon Outdoor Recreation Complex – $300,000 Development will include synthetic ice skating hockey facility and associated site improvements.
Ontonagon County – Interior Township, Abbot Fox Community Park Handicap Accessibility – $43,500 Development of handicap accessibility to Abbot Fox Community Park to include walkways, parking areas, fishing/observation deck, picnic tables, grills, benches and signage.
Schoolcraft County – Manistique Township, Township Park Barrier-Free Beach Access – $73,100 Development to include playground surface, boardwalk, viewing platform, changing building, interpretive signage, beach access path, pavilion and bike rack.
“Michigan’s natural resources and recreation opportunities are a big part of what is driving our state’s reinvention,” said Gov. Rick Snyder. “I applaud the Trust Fund board for recommending the kind of investment that builds on the appeal of our great outdoor spaces for long-term economic and quality-of-life rewards in communities throughout Michigan.”
The Trust Fund board can recommend funding for both development projects and acquisitions to local and state agencies. This year, it awarded $14,466,500 for acquisition grants and $9,072,200 for development grants. Seventeen grants were awarded to local units of government for a total of $11,956,500 for acquisitions, while five acquisition grants went to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for projects totaling $2,510,000. For recreation development projects, the board recommended a total of $7,822,200 be awarded to 49 local units of government while five DNR projects garnered a total of $1,250,000.
“The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund provides tremendous support to communities that want to offer residents and visitors quality recreation opportunities, while ensuring broad public access to hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation in Michigan’s special, scenic places,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh.
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. It is funded through interest earned on funds derived from the development of state-owned minerals. In 1985, Michigan voters chose to make the MNRTF part of Michigan’s constitution, ensuring the program’s future.
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.