Schmidt votes for Natural Resources Trust Fund projects in Cheboygan, Chippewa, Grand Traverse counties

LANSING, Mich.―The state Senate on Thursday approved legislation allocating $24.7 million from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) to natural resources improvement projects across the state.

“The Natural Resources Trust Fund helps make Pure Michigan an even better place to live, work and play,” said state Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City. “These strategic investments in northern Michigan’s parks and recreational areas will not only help improve these attractions and preserve and protect natural habitats, but also make our part of the state more inviting to job providers, talented workers, and tourists alike.”

Sen. Schmidt said three projects in Cheboygan, Chippewa, and Grand Traverse counties were among those receiving funds. The three projects benefitting from the NRTF grants are:

• $530,000 for 50 acres of land in Chippewa County adjacent to the Lake Superior Dune Swale Complex, including about 1,000 feet of shoreline. The parcel provides habitat for the federally protected Piping Plover, moose, black bear, bobcat, white-tailed deer, furbearing species, and waterfowl, and provides several public outdoor recreation opportunities, including hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing, and snowmobiling.
• $393,700, which includes $104,200 in matching funds, to upgrade and enhance a critical trailhead on the North Central State Trail located at Lumberman Park and Trailhead in the village of Wolverine in Cheboygan County. The long-overdue project includes a modern toilet and shower building, dump station, trail connections and signs, accessible fishing pier, and a looped walking trail with a pedestrian bridge over the Sturgeon River.
• $100,000, which includes $50,000 in matching funds, to improve Grace Macdonald Park in Grand Traverse County’s East Bay Township. The project will provide several accessibility enhancements, including a new accessible restroom facility, accessible parking spaces with storm water runoff improvements added to the existing gravel parking area, and a new six-foot concrete sidewalk to connect the new restroom facility to the parking area.

House Bill 4078 authorizes the trust fund to spend $24.7 million to support 25 acquisition projects and 44 development projects throughout the state. Matching funds of $9.8 million bring the total investment to more than $34.5 million.

The NRTF is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights, and uses the constitutionally restricted funds to provide financial assistance to local governments and the state Department of Natural Resources to purchase land or rights in land for public recreation or protection of land because of its environmental importance or its scenic beauty. It also assists in the appropriate development of land for public outdoor recreation.

HB 4078 now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

For more information on the NRTF, visit michigan.gov/dnr-grants.

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