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Gov. Rick Snyder approves $24.7 million in outdoor recreation development,
acquisition grants

by Judy Augenstein

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation creating more outdoor recreation opportunities for local communities and authorizing nearly $24.7 million in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) grants.

"Michigan is home to some of the most beautiful outdoor spaces in North America,” Snyder said. “These grants will help give local communities the ability to create more quality recreation opportunities that encourage people of all ages and abilities to get outdoors. Every year, these projects boost the quality of life for Michigan residents, enhance local economies and encourage tourism in our state.”

House Bill 4078, sponsored by state Rep. Jon Bumstead, approves funds for 69 recreation projects and land purchases recommended by the Trust Fund board last December.

It is now Public Act 7 of 2015.

This year, the Trust Fund board recommended $18.2 million for acquisition grants and $6.4 million for development grants. Sixteen acquisition grants were awarded to local units of government for a total of $8.9 million, while nine acquisition grants went to the Department of Natural Resources for projects totaling $9.3 million.

The Trust Fund board also recommended $5.5 million in 40 development grants to local units of government, while four DNR projects received $940,000.

In all, the board considered 156 applications seeking more than $44 million in funding. In a competitive process, all applications were carefully evaluated based on scoring criteria developed by the board.

"Michigan communities experience both immediate and long-term benefits from outdoor recreation projects supported by these grants," DNR Director Keith Creagh said. "The economic impact reaches far beyond the projects’ planning and construction phases and often results locally in new businesses and increased tourism."

The MNRTF is a restricted fund, established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for resource conservation 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. Over the past 38 years, the Trust Fund has granted more than $1 billion to state and local government organizations to develop and improve recreation opportunities in Michigan.

The Trust Fund board's recommendations are reviewed by the Legislature as part of the appropriations process. The Legislature then forwards a bill for the governor’s signature.

A list of the final recommendations made by the Trust Fund board is available at www.michigan.gov/mnrtf.

The MDNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr

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