LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate approved legislation on Wednesday allocating $27.96 million from the Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) for 70 projects across the state, said Sen. Jim Stamas.
“Many families and visitors enjoy getting out and having a good time in the great outdoors, and three projects in Michigan’s Sunrise Side would help fund total investments in the area of more than $4 million,” said Stamas, R-Midland. “Two projects in this bill would use constitutionally restricted trust fund resources to enhance people’s enjoyment of scenic trails. Once completed, these trails would give outdoor enthusiasts outstanding opportunities to spend time biking with their families along a converted rail line or exploring a national forest.”
House Bill 5377 authorizes the trust fund 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 plan includes $300,000 toward a $2,089,600 improvement to the Alpena to Hillman Rail Trail. The enhancement will improve surfacing and bridge crossings for 13.5 miles of the trail from Franklin Street in Alpena to M-65. The project will increase access to the trail for multiple types of users and provide fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities.
In Iosco County, $296,000 in trust fund dollars will go toward a $1,373,300 trail project. The development of a 2.2-mile trail and pedestrian bridge that is part of the Iosco Exploration Trail and Iron Belle Trail will connect Oscoda to the Oscoda Schools complex. The trail will cross the Au Sable River and run through the Huron-Manistee National Forest.
An Oscoda Township project in Iosco County calls for the NRTF to contribute $416,200 toward the $562,500 acquisition of more than two acres immediately north of Oscoda Beach Park.
“This nearly 300 feet of shoreline along Lake Huron will significantly enhance recreational opportunities for families and tourists,” Stamas said. “The unique and pristine land has the potential to improve the waterfront experience that visitors enjoy at Great Lakes beaches while also highlighting the variety of plant and wildlife in the area.”
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.