Stamas applauds two Otsego County projects in NRTF board recommendations

Sen. Jim Stamas

Sen. Jim Stamas

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Jim Stamas applauded the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) board for including two Otsego County projects in its list of development and land acquisition recommendations for 2018.

The plan approved by the NRTF board includes $300,000 toward the Gaylord Gateway Trailhead for the Iron Belle Trail in downtown Gaylord.

“Downtown Gaylord would see the development of a trailhead 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,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “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.”

The trailhead will include parking, a restroom, a bike rack, picnic tables, lighting and landscaping. The trail will connect to the Otsego County Trail and the North Central State Trail.

The NRTF board recommendations also include $912,500 for the Department of Natural Resources 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.

“Many Michigan residents and visitors enjoy getting together and taking advantage of the outstanding recreational opportunities in our state,” Stamas said. “With excellent wildlife habitat, a cold-water trout stream and an entire lake, the Storey Lake property offers a unique chance to preserve our state’s natural resources and improve access to Michigan’s great outdoors.”

The property contains habitat for elk, black bear and white-tailed deer and over one mile of the Stewart Creek corridor. 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.

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.

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