NRTF board recommended four area projects for 2018

Many Michigan residents and visitors enjoy getting together and taking advantage of the outstanding recreational opportunities in our state.

To help preserve our state’s natural resources and improve access to the outdoors, the people of Michigan crated the Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned minerals. The fund is constitutionally restricted for natural resources improvements and land acquisitions across the state.

The NRTF board recently included four projects in Otsego, Montmorency and Alcona counties on its list of development and land acquisition recommendations for 2018.

These projects would preserve unused land for possible future public recreation, create new outdoor opportunities for area families, and help encourage active lifestyles. They would be great examples of the positive impacts the trust fund was designed to make.

The plan approved by the NRTF board includes $300,000 toward the development of a trailhead in downtown Gaylord along the Iron Belle Trail, which will eventually allow outdoor enthusiasts to travel on a safe and continuous path from Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in Detroit.

Once completed, the trailhead would offer a great opportunity for families to spend time biking, hiking and even snowmobiling on the trail while also offering greater access to local businesses. It will include parking, a restroom, a bike rack, picnic tables, lighting and landscaping.

The Department of Natural Resources would receive $912,500 to acquire 2,100 acres that would provide a connection between the Pigeon River Country State Forest and extensive state forest land west of I-75.

The Storey Lake property contains excellent wildlife habitat, a cold-water trout stream and an entire lake. It is also directly adjacent to the North Central State Trail. While mostly in Otsego County, about 160 acres of the property are in Cheboygan County.

In Alcona County, the NRTF board recommended using $108,700 toward the development of a canoe/kayak launch, fishing platform, paved handicap-accessible parking, and signs in Alcona Township Park located at the mouth of the Black River.

The project would give new and exciting kayaking and fishing options to children and adults of all ages and of all abilities and help get people active in the outdoors.

In Montmorency County, the NRTF board plan includes $203,700 toward the acquisition of 80 acres in Rust Township for a public access site and boat launch on the west side of Fletcher’s Flood Water. The property, currently known as Lyon’s Landing, contains 43 acres of upland, 37 acres of submerged bottom land and an existing boat launch.

Acquiring this property would offer a chance to enhance area families’ and boating enthusiasts’ enjoyment of Michigan’s great outdoors.

The NRTF board’s recommendations for projects in 2018 will now head to the Legislature for review as part of the budget process.