Major funding for public outdoor recreation projects

Gov. Rick Snyder this week signed legislation approving $23,348,700 in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) grant appropriations, funding 76 recreation development projects and land acquisitions in 43 Michigan counties.

The Natural Resources Trust Fund board, appointed by the governor, evaluated 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. Sixty-six development and acquisition grants will go to local units of government and 10 Trust Fund grants were awarded to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“Better, more accessible outdoor spaces and recreation opportunities are central to building strong communities that appeal to residents, visitors and businesses,” said Gov. Snyder. “The Trust Fund has a powerful track record of driving positive change in Michigan. That’s in large part due to the Trust Fund board’s collaboration at the local level and thoughtful evaluation of community recreation resources and needs.”

The Trust Fund began with an agreement in 1976 to balance conservation with oil and gas development on state-managed land. The program replaced one non-renewable resource (minerals) with another non-renewable resource (public land) and created a permanent endowment.

The Michigan Constitution requires that oil, gas, and other mineral lease and royalty payments be placed into the Trust Fund. Proceeds are used to acquire and develop public recreation lands. In any fiscal year, up to a third of all mineral lease revenues, plus the interest and earnings of the Trust Fund, may be used to fund these grants.

In addition, the MNRTF makes annual payments in lieu of taxes to local units of governments on property that has been purchased with grant money.

Designed as a sustainable funding source for public outdoor recreation projects throughout the state, the Trust Fund provides grants to fund the development and acquisition of parks and green space, create viable trail networks, provide valuable outdoor experiences in urban areas, and generate economic benefits to communities.

“The Trust Fund helps create a better future for public outdoor recreation in Michigan,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “These grants support the governor’s vision of securing Michigan’s title as the Trail State, improving local economies, leveraging tourism potential and enhancing the quality of everyday life.”

Since 1976, more than $965 million has been awarded by the Trust Fund for land acquisition and development of public recreation facilities in all 83 counties across the state. This figure includes $164 million for trail-related projects.

For more information about the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund – including a complete list of the 2012 MNRTF grant awards – visit