Michigan Pure Assets Belief Fund board recommends $23.three million to spice up out of doors recreation

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The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board of directors on Wednesday recommended that the Michigan Legislature fund 45 recreation development projects and land acquisitions in 2023 totaling $23,306,200. The Board reviewed a total of 124 applications this year, requesting over $53 million in funding. In a competitive process, all eligible applications were evaluated against evaluation criteria approved by the Trust Fund Board.

“Since its inception 46 years ago, the trust has provided more than $1.3 billion in grants to local governments and has significantly improved the quality of life for Michigan residents and visitors through diverse and accessible outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Whether it’s hiking a paved trail near home, birdwatching at a community park, or watching your grandchildren have fun in an accessible playground, all of these Trust Fund-supported experiences are very beneficial to our mental and physical health and contribute significantly to the local economy.”

The Trust Fund Board recommends that state and local governments fund development projects and land purchases that promote access to public outdoor recreation.

That year, the board recommended $15 million for acquisition grants and $8.3 million for development grants. Eight acquisition grants were awarded to local government entities totaling $4,305,500 while seven acquisition grants were awarded to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for projects totaling $10,698,000. The Trust Fund Board also recommended a total of $8,302,700 in 30 development grants to local government entities.

“The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, with its heritage of leveraging critical match dollars, plays a vital role in driving our state’s economy and quality of life,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “Michigan residents and visitors continue to rely on accessible outdoor recreation such as hiking trails, playgrounds, athletic fields and parks to connect with nature while enjoying a break from their everyday lives.”

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of land for resource conservation and outdoor recreation and for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded by interest and returns on monies derived from revenues from state-owned oil, gas and minerals. Over the past 46 years, the trust fund has awarded more than $1.3 billion to state and local government entities to develop and improve recreational opportunities in Michigan.

“We are committed to preserving our unique outdoor spaces and encouraging residents and guests to experience them, and one way we do that is through trust fund grants,” said Sam Cummings, chairman of the trust fund. “These grants are the result of years of strategic leadership and prudent management. It is therefore appropriate that the benefits of this stewardship be returned to the people through reinvestment in public lands.”

The Trust Fund Board’s recommendations will be submitted to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the resource allocation process. Once approved, the Legislature forwards a bill to the Governor for signature.

A list of the Trust Fund Board’s final recommendations is available at Michigan.gov/MNRTF.