Whitmer approves $45.6 million in Natural Resources Trust Fund grants

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A young Black girl and boy, both laughing and holding fishing poles, lean over the fence on a pier

July 19, 2022
Contact: Jon Mayes (DNR), 517-284-5954

Gov. Whitmer approves $45.6 million in outdoor recreation development and acquisition grants

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today signed legislation creating more opportunities for quality outdoor recreation by authorizing $45.6 million in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants.

"Outdoor recreation in Pure Michigan is essential to the high quality of life Michiganders and visitors enjoy in our beautiful state,” said Gov. Whitmer. “These Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants support so many of the world-class outdoor opportunities we have in Michigan, including fishing, hiking, kayaking or simply enjoying an accessible playground. In communities across the state, the grant program makes much of this possible with critical investments so people of all abilities can get outdoors. Let’s keep working together to invest in our parks, recreation and public lands so future generations can enjoy everything that Pure Michigan has to offer.”

Senate Bill 1028 approves funding for 117 recreation development projects and land purchases recommended by the board. It is now Public Act 151 of 2022.

The Trust Fund board recommends funding to both state and local agencies for development projects and land acquisitions that will increase the quality and quantity of public outdoor recreation opportunities. This round of grant funding reflects continued support of:

  • Acquisitions of high-quality, unique wildlife and fishery habitat for conservation and public access.
  • Trail systems, specifically those – like the Potowatomi Trail in Livingston County – that have broad impact.
  • An extensive range of development projects that expand opportunities across Michigan for outdoor recreation, including development of urban parks and playscapes, sports field enhancements and river access.

This year the board recommended $22.3 million in acquisition grants and nearly $23.3 million in recreation development grants:

  • Of the $22.3 million recommended to fund acquisition projects, $14.2 million would be awarded to local units of government, while the remaining $8 million would be awarded to the Department of Natural Resources for diverse projects such as land consolidation at Pinckney-Waterloo Recreation Area.
  • Of the $23.3 million recommended to fund development grants, $20 million would support 82 local government projects and $3.2 million would support 13 including state projects including Kalamazoo River Valley Trail development at Fort Custer Recreation Area and footbridge replacement at Harrisville State Park.
  • Collectively, the $45.6 million of Trust Fund grants is matched with nearly $39 million of additional funding for a total of nearly $84.6 million being invested in land acquisition and development projects across the state.

“By leveraging these additional dollars from local government partners, Trust Fund grants ensure expanded outdoor recreation and the continued conservation of our natural resources throughout the state,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “These grants fund outdoor recreation opportunities that have proven even more important over the last several years as people increasingly ventured outside to recreate.”

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund that was established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of land 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, primarily oil and gas, and can only be used for public outdoor recreation. Over the past 40-plus years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1 billion to local units of government and the DNR to develop and improve public outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan.

The Trust Fund board's recommendations go to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the appropriation process. The Legislature then forwards a bill to the governor for approval.

Descriptions of the development projects and acquisition projects approved by Gov. Whitmer are available at Michigan.gov/MNRTF.

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