Dianda announces funding for 11 natural resource projects

LANSING — State Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) announced today that the House of Representatives has approved Senate Bill 76, which funds Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund projects across the state, including 11 projects in the 110th House District. Funds will be used to improve trails, beaches, waterfront and recreation areas, backcountry areas and build a bridge over the Little Iron River along the Iron Belle Trail. The total funding for the projects is $2,534,400.

“I am excited to announce these projects, and eager to see this work start in communities throughout House District 110,” said Dianda. “Tourism is important to our local economies, and these 11 projects to improve our trails, beaches, parks and waterways will make the U.P. experience even better for our visitors and for those of us who live here, as well.”

The HD 110 MNRTF projects are:

1. Copper Harbor Trail System Access Protection Project.
Grant Township – Keweenaw County – $248,300
Acquisition of 94 acres for public access to the Copper Harbor Trail System. The property comprises the core of an existing trail system and includes access to the main trailhead at Grant Township Park in Copper Harbor.

2. Iron Belle Trail – North Country Land Acquisition.
Gogebic County – $500,000
Acquisition of 6 acres of land with frontage on Lake Superior for the purposes of supporting Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail and benefiting the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park.

3. Eagle Harbor Township Recreation Area Property Addition.
Eagle Harbor Township – Keweenaw County – $98,000
Acquisition of 77 acres to expand the Eagle Harbor Township Recreation area, connecting two existing public parcels together to create a corridor of land for recreation trails, wildlife habitat and a winter deer yard.

4. Brockway Mountain Backcountry Expansion.
Eagle Harbor Township – Keweenaw County – $268,600
Acquisition of 620 acres of forestland in Eagle Harbor Township for the Keweenaw Coastal Wildlife Corridor and Brockway Mountain. The acquisition of this property will allow for scenic views, recreation and birding habitat in the historically significant Keweenaw Coastal Wildlife Corridor.

5. NCT/IBT Trail Improvement to O Kun de Kun Falls.
Ontonagon County – $90,200
Development project to improve the North Country/Iron Belle Trail from US-45 to O Kun de Kun Falls on the Baltimore River in Ontonagon County. The project will increase accessibility and curtail erosion and other negative impacts caused by existing trail conditions.

6. Iron Belle Trailhead and Memorial Park Renovation.
Bessemer Township – Gogebic County – $294,800
Development project in Bessemer Township for a trailhead for the Iron Belle Trail and renovation of the existing Memorial Park in the unincorporated village of Ramsay

7. Hancock Waterfront Recreational Pier.
City of Hancock – Houghton County – $294,000
Development of a universally accessible recreational pier on the waterfront of Portage Lake on the west side of the City of Hancock at Hancock Beach. The new project will include regrading and repaving of existing pathways so that they will be accessible to all persons including those with disabilities.

8. Joe Mechon Memorial Park Improvements.
Hematite Township – Iron County – $116,600
Development project to improve Hematite Township’s Joe Mechon Memorial Park in Amasa. The proposed project will improve all aspects of the aging park and provide barrier free parking, accessible paths and fishing platform on the Hemlock River.

9. Runkle Lake Park Improvements.
City of Crystal Falls – Iron County – $155,900
The new improvements at the park will include reconstruction of the fishing pier, boat launch improvements including a parking area, accessible walking trails to connect amenities, erosion control and slope stability improvements and multi-use pathway connection to the Iron Belle Trail.

10. Burns’ Landing Beach Access Improvement.
Powell Township – Marquette County – $168,600
Development project to improve barrier free access to the Lake Superior shoreline at Powell Township’s Burns’ Landing Park in Big Bay. The improvements include paved parking with new barrier free spaces, rain gardens for storm water management, barrier free vault toilet, boardwalks and viewing platforms, beach access mats and transfer platforms, and an accessible pathway connection to the Bay Cliff Health Camp, a camp that serves children with disabilities.

11. Iron Belle Trail – Bridge Development.
Ontonagon County – $300,000
Development to construct a 76-foot-long cable suspension bridge over the Little Iron River located within the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The bridge is an essential component to the hiking route of Michigan’s Iron Belle Trail and the National North Country Scenic Trail.

The MNRTF is a restricted fund 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 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.