LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday approved legislation to provide funding for 70 recommended Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects throughout Michigan, including two in mid-Michigan, said Sen. Judy Emmons.
“Making mid-Michigan a better place to live, work and raise a family can also help us attract new talent and jobs to our region,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “The Natural Resources Trust Fund helps us achieve these goals by improving our outstanding parks and outdoor recreational opportunities. This year’s trust fund plan includes development of pathways connecting communities in Isabella County and extensive enhancements to a park in Clare County.”
House Bill 5377 authorizes the trust fund to spend $27.96 million to support 26 acquisition projects and 44 development projects. Matching funds of $21.7 million bring the total investment to more than $49.6 million.
The bill specifically provides $296,000 toward a nearly $1.9 million trail connecting the Deerfield Road Pathway in Mt. Pleasant and Central Michigan University with the Triangle Pathway in Shepherd. The 6.8-mile non-motorized trail is part of a plan to connect the Pere Marquette Trail, Fred Meijer Heartland Trail and Fred Meijer Clinton-Ionia-Shiawassee Trail.
The plan also allocates $25,000 in trust fund dollars for a $50,000 development of Farwell Park adjacent to the Pere Marquette State Trail and City Hall in downtown Farwell. Improvements to the park include pathways throughout the site and to a Civil War-era obelisk erected in 1894, landscaping and signs to interpret the site’s centuries-old trees and their historical context.
“Both of these projects will enhance people’s enjoyment of our great outdoors,” Emmons said. “Once completed, the improved park and access to trails will give residents better opportunities to spend some quality time outdoors with their families.”
The NRTF is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights. The trust fund is constitutionally restricted for natural resources improvements and land acquisitions across the state.
Since its creation in 1976, the fund has awarded more than $1 billion for land acquisition and public outdoor recreation development projects for communities in every county.