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Natural Resources Trust Fund

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate has approved significant changes in how the state buys and improves land for public recreation.

The Michigan Senate in Lansing.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio file photo

For more than 40 years, royalties from oil and mineral rights on State of Michigan-owned land have gone to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is controlled by a non-partisan board. It uses the money to buy park land and to help cities and counties develop public recreation areas.

More than 30 years ago voters passed a constitutional amendment that barred the Legislature from raiding that fund.

emmetcounty.org

by Peter Payette for The Environment Report

For decades, communities in Michigan have been preserving land with help from the Natural Resources Trust Fund.  The Mackinac Headlands, Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area and William Milliken State Park in Detroit were all purchased with the help of these grants.  But now some state senators want to change the way the system works.  Some of the groups that use the trust fund say the changes are radical. 

Norm Hoekstra / Creative Commons

Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill authorizing more than $102 million in grant money for more than 100 recreation projects and land acquisitions across the state. Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith reports one of the largest grants will preserve dune-land along the Lake Michigan shore.

Peter Homeyer is executive director of The Land Conservancy of West Michigan.

“West Michigan and a lot of communities around the state are going to see projects now that are going to add to parkland and improve parks right close to home where folks can get out and enjoy nature with this new bill.