Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board recommends $40.3M to enhance public outdoor recreation

 Photo: The Board of Review Report
Photo: The Board of Review Report (KOSA)
Published: Dec. 8, 2017 at 11:50 AM EST
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The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board this week recommended $40.3 million in grant recommendations for outdoor recreational development and land acquisition projects to the state Legislature.

This funding will support a variety of outdoor recreation improvements including expanded public access at popular fishing destinations, additional snowmobile and multiuse trail easements that give users broader access to more trails, facility and playground improvements at urban parks, planning and construction for new trails and connectors, trail-resurfacing projects and wildlife and habitat enhancement projects.

“The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund has a proven record of supporting expanded opportunities for more Michiganders and tourists to experience quality public outdoor recreation,” Snyder said. “This year’s recommendations could help improve the quality of life in a very Pure Michigan way.”

The board recommended a total of $40.3 million for projects in 2018, including $19 million in recreational development and $21.3 million in land acquisition projects.

Of the $21.3 million recommended to fund acquisition projects, $12.3 million would be awarded to local units of government, while the remaining $9 million would be awarded to the Department of Natural Resources. Of the $19 million recommended to fund development grants, $15.2 million would support 72 local government projects and $3.8 million would support 17 DNR projects.

The board considered a total of 166 applications seeking $76.1 million in funding. In a competitive process, all eligible applications were evaluated on scoring criteria developed by the board.

In 2016, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund celebrated 40 years of funding high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities for Michigan citizens and visitors. A restricted fund established in 1976 to support public acquisition of lands for conservation and outdoor recreation, as well as public outdoor recreation development projects, the Trust Fund is financed through interest earned on funds derived from the development of publicly owned minerals such as oil and natural gas. Over the past 40-plus years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1 billion to state and local units of government to develop and improve public outdoor recreation opportunities in all 83 counties.

“Every Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant has a direct, positive impact on healthier lifestyles, outdoor recreation opportunities and regional economies,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “The Trust Fund is a unique Michigan model, and we’re excited about the many benefits it will bring to Michigan communities for decades to come.”

The board's recommendations will go to the state Legislature for review as part of the appropriations process. Upon approval, the Legislature will forward a bill to the governor for his signature.

A full list of the final Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board recommendations is available at