The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Board has recommended funding for 81 recreation projects and land acquisitions totaling $48.5 million be funded for 2008.
This was the most ever awarded for Trust Fund grants. This is due to the higher prices paid for mineral (including oil & gas) leases on state property.
“Michigan is blessed with natural resources and special places that should be protected and enjoyed for generations to come,” said Governor Granholm. “These recommendations represent ways that we can ensure that Michigan citizens and visitors will be able to enjoy outdoor recreation now and in the future.”
A Threat to the Trust Fund
The Trust Fund is set up so that it can continue to fund recreation projects and land acquisition projects after the gas and oil run out. That’s not the threat.
The threat is the Transportation Funding Task Force who recently recommended that the Trust Fund monies be diverted into the transportation budget. As a whole, this was perhaps their only out-of-the-box recommendation yet it only shows how out-of-touch they are with reality.
Fortunately in 1985 Michigan voters put the Trust Fund in the state constitution to protect it from bad ideas such as this.
In the words of Dennis Muchmore, the MUCC Executive Director, “Raiding the Trust Fund would be an outrageous and unwarranted attempt to circumvent the public will.”
2008 Recommended Grants – Recreation Projects
Clinton River Trail Bridge (Pontiac), $485,000. This project will construct a new pedestrian bridge, approach and ramps over Telegraph Road. This is absolutely huge and it almost didn’t make the cut. This is only partial funding. Additional grant money will be required.
Bell Creek Park Non-Motorized Trailway (Redford), $450,000. This project includes development of 600 feet of elevated boardwalk across a floodplain of the Bell Branch of the Rouge River, connecting two sidewalk ends. A 75-foot long bicycle/pedestrian bridge will span the river.
Kensington Metropark-Milford Trail Connector, $315,000. The project would include 1.2 miles of paved trail from the Kensington Metropark loop trail to the Milford-Kensington Trail (at the Dairy Queen.)
2008 Recommended Grants – Land Acquisitions
DNR Southeast Lower Peninsula Land Consolidation, $4 million. This project will acquire various properties within Southeast Michigan, but especially private land within our state parks.
Academy Preserve Acquisition (Monroe), $2,192,500. This project will acquire approximately 128 acres of open space in the City of Monroe with a portion of Frenchtown Township. The site includes an oak savannah, oak-hickory forest, lowland forest, farmland and a forested island in the River Raisin. There you go, Erie Hiker!
Michigan Air-Line Railway (West Bloomfield), $1,452,500. This project will acquire approximately 17 acres, or 2.5 miles, of railway corridor that connects the existing West Bloomfield trail west to Haggery Road. This is great news for a trail project we discussed earlier.