Michigan’s outdoor recreation is expected to get a boost of nearly $37.8 million in 2021, and Muskegon County is the biggest winner of funds with a single grant for $5 million.
Marquette, Grand Traverse and Ottawa counties are also raking in big bucks from the state for recreation development and land acquisition. The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board this week recommended grants totaling $37,789,600 for 76 recreation projects and land acquisitions with the goal of further access to public outdoor recreation.
Muskegon County is a clear winner this year with a $5 million grant to acquire a former sand mining property for park development. Ottawa County is in line to receive nearly $1.5 million for five different projects. Park improvements and lakefront property acquisition are on deck in Grand Traverse County with nearly $1.2 million in state funds coming their way. In Marquette County, over $700,000 will help build playgrounds and trails.
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“Easy access to the beauty of Michigan’s natural places and open spaces during a challenging, uncertain year has been a source of comfort and connection for residents across our state, and the Trust Fund is a major part of making those opportunities available,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.
Trails, parks and the state’s forest lands – often developed or acquired with Trust Fund grants – and other “outdoor recreation resources like these are big contributors to each community’s quality of life and unique appeal,” Whitmer said.
This year, the board recommended $27,289,600 for 30 acquisition grants and $10.5 million for 46 development grants. Most of the funding is going to local governments while eight grants worth about $7.7 million will back Michigan Department of Natural Resources projects.
Development grants are expected to fund projects in Antrim, Benzie, Berrien, Calhoun, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Eaton, Genesee, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Houghton, Huron, Ingham, Iosco, Jackson, Kent, Leelenau, Livingston, Mackinac, Marquette, Newaygo, Oakland, Oceana, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. Find out what’s coming to your county here.
Land acquisition grants are expected to fund projects in Benzie, Berrien, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Eaton, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Huron, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lake, Lapeer, Lenawee, Macomb, Midland, Muskegon, Oakland, Ontoganon, Ottawa, Saginaw and St. Clair counties. Find out what’s coming to your county here.
This year’s projects “will make a real difference,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger, noting the overwhelming success of Proposal 1 on the November ballot as proof of Michiganders’ support for the grant program.
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Established in 1976, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund aimed at public acquisition of lands for resource protection and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded through interest and revenue from state-owned oil, gas and minerals. To date, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1.2 billion to state and local governments to develop and improve recreation opportunities in Michigan.
The 2021 grants are awaiting approval from the state legislature, and a signature from the governor.
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