Senate committee approves NRTF recommendations

Senate committee approves NRTF recommendations

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Damoose joined his colleagues on the Senate Committee on Appropriations in approving the 2024 recommendations for the Natural Resources Trust Fund development and acquisition projects.

“The Natural Resources Trust Fund helps secure and protect Michigan’s one-of-a-kind natural resources,” said Damoose, R-Harbor Springs. “Whether it’s fishing, hiking, boating, or anything else, many Michigan families enjoy spending time outside in nature and these projects improve access to our outstanding recreational opportunities and help make Michigan an even better place for residents to enjoy the outdoors.”

The NRTF is supported by interest earnings from the development of state-owned mineral rights. The fund’s dollars are constitutionally restricted to recreation improvements and land acquisitions.

The recommendations include nearly $10 million for 35 recreation development projects and $18.5 million for 18 land acquisition projects.

Projects in Damoose’s district include:

  • $275,400 for the city of Sault Ste. Marie’s Rotary Park pavilion project.
  • $300,000 for restroom and fishing platform upgrades at Spring Lake Park in Bear Creek Township.
  • $300,000 for the Grand Traverse Commons Natural Area Accessible Trail in Garfield Township.
  • $2.3 million for an expansion of the Brown Bridge Quiet Area in Traverse City.
  • $737,000 to expand Hessel Marina in Clark Township.

State land acquisition projects include two Cheboygan County initiatives $1.1 million for Doe Lake and the over 500 acres of surrounding wetlands and wildlife habitats and $3 million to acquire the Black River Ranch, which includes three inland lakes and 14 miles of the Black River. The goal of these acquisitions is to enhance forest management, outdoor recreation in the area and environmental protection.

The Senate committee also approved an amendment sponsored by Damoose to authorize the use of $3.6 million in private funds from the Mellon Foundation for the Straits State Park interpretive project. The funds would be used to develop the 80-acre west unit of Straits State Park, a place that celebrates the stories and heritage of the Anishinaabe people and the profound legacy of Father Jacques Marquette, who have played important roles in Michigan’s history.

The project will include a new meeting building as well as powwow ground enhancements. The plans have been developed in collaboration with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, as well as Moran Township, Lake Superior State University, and the Mackinac Straits Health System. The Bay Mills Indian Community, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and Match-e-be-nash-she-wish (Gun Lake) Band of Pottawatomi Indians have joined this group as partners in the interpretive aspects of the project.

“My family loves to camp at Straits State Park. For those of us who have been there, we know this is a beautiful area that truly highlights and exemplifies the term ‘Pure Michigan,” Damoose said. “My amendment simply authorizes the use of private funds to provide educational opportunities and pay homage to the native community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”


Skip to content