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December 6, 2005

Contact: Mary Dettloff 517-335-3014

Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board
Recommends 52 Projects Totaling $37.3 Million

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) Board of Trustees today recommended to Governor Jennifer M. Granholm that 52 recreation projects and land acquisitions totaling $37,315,500 be funded for 2006. The board had considered 160 applications for projects and acquisitions totaling $76 million, which were competitively evaluated based on scoring criteria approved by the board.

"These recommendations represent an economic investment in the quality of life in Michigan," said Granholm. "The land acquisitions and development projects that won the recommendation of the trust fund board are investments in public outdoor recreation that many Michigan citizens and visitors value as a way of life in our state."

The trust fund was established in 1976 to provide a source of funding for public acquisition of lands for resource protection and public outdoor recreation. Funding is derived from royalties on the sale and lease of state-owned mineral rights. In 2005, the trust fund received $66.6 million in royalties, which represents a nearly $16 million increase over last year. This year was a record year for the amount of funding recommended for development projects at $7,825,500.

"The recommendations of the trust fund board will help us protect some incredible areas of our state," said Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries. "The project development grants will help communities provide outdoor recreation opportunities for citizens and visitors, which will help boost the local economy of that region."

"Since 1976, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund has provided over $600 million in funding," said MNRTF Chair Sam Washington, who was re-elected at the meeting to be MNRTF chair for 2006. "Every penny of the fund is used to improve recreation, recreational access and to add to local and state projects to develop parks and preserve unique areas of the state."

Land Acquisitions
In the land acquisitions recommendations, 22 proposals totaling $29,490,000 were approved by the MNRTF board. They include:

* Kamehameha Schools Development Rights Purchase. This $5 million recommendation will allow the DNR to acquire a working forest conservation easement allowing continued timbering and public access on approximately 248,000 acres of land in several counties across the Upper Peninsula.

* Flowing Well Conservation Easement. This $3.5 million acquisition by the DNR of a conservation easement will allow for public access to 1,720 acres of land that is surrounded by state forestland in Kalkaska County. The property includes winter deer habitat, blue ribbon trout streams and the north branch of the Manistee River.

* Lee Grande Ranch Conservation Easement. This $2,750,000 acquisition of a conservation easement in Cheboygan County will allow public access on 2,560 acres that is surrounded by state forestland. This is the second phase of a two-phase project.

* CMS Arcadia/Green Point Dunes Conservation Easement. This $2,675,000 acquisition of a conservation easement in the Grand Traverse region will allow public access to 1,850 acres on Lake Michigan, 2.4 miles of coastline and 280 acres of critical dunes. This is the third phase of a three-phase project.

* Walloon Lake Access. The board recommended $2,018,325 for Bear Creek Township in Emmet County to acquire 333 feet of frontage on Walloon Lake for a public boat launch and beach.

* Gratiot River County Park Addition. This $1,957,500 recommendation will allow Keweenaw County to acquire 100 acres along with 4,000 feet of Lake Superior shoreline to expand public recreation at the existing Gratiot River County Park.

* State Trailways Initiative. The board recommended that the DNR receive $1.9 million to acquire approximately 200 miles of rail corridor in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas that are critical links in the overall state recreation and snowmobile trail network.

* Russell Lake Winter Deer Habitat Acquisition. This $1,820,000 recommendation will allow the DNR to acquire 1,339 acres of high quality winter deer habitat and consolidate state ownership in the Roscommon Forest Management Unit in Roscommon County.

* Highland Township Property Acquisition. The board recommended $1,440,000 to Oakland County to acquire 260 acres encompassing wetlands, forests and meadow covered hills to create Highland Oaks County Park.

* Winter Deer Habitat Initiative. The board recommended $1.35 million for the DNR to acquire winter deer habitat with an emphasis on the Upper Peninsula.

* DNR Wildlife Area Consolidation. The board recommended $1.25 million for acquisition of in-holdings within state game and wildlife areas statewide with an emphasis on southern Michigan.

* Coldwater/Thornapple River Acquisition. The board recommended $962,000 to Kent County to acquire 89 acres containing the confluence of the Coldwater and Thornapple Rivers.

* Stony Creek Corridor Park Acquisition. The board recommended $893,700 to Oakland Township in Oakland County to acquire 60.56 acres including a Michigan Natural Features Inventory Priority 2 area, 2,000 linear feet of the west branch of Stony Creek and forest for passive recreation and a regional trail link.

* Village Wood Lake/Orchard Hills West Acquisition. The board recommended $846,338 for Novi to acquire 51 acres containing 5,200 feet of frontage on the Rouge River and wetlands in Oakland County.

* Lighthouse West Property Conservation Easement. The DNR was recommended to receive $330,000 to acquire a conservation and access easement of 42 acres and 640 feet of Lake Michigan shoreline to ensure the protection of essential bird migratory stopover habitat in Leelanau County.

* Bear River Parcel Conservation Easement. The DNR was recommended to receive $280,000 to acquire a conservation easement on 225 acres and over one mile of Bear River frontage including forested wetlands and a critical wildlife corridor in Charlevoix County.

* Wayland Rabbit River Recreation Project. The board recommended $130,000 for Wayland to acquire 26.2 acres of high quality natural land including wooded areas, wetlands and 900 feet of frontage on the Rabbit River for passive recreation. Pedestrian trailways, interpretative areas and fishing areas are planned.

* Swedetown Recreation Area Acquisition. Calumet Township in Houghton County was recommended to receive $105,200 to acquire 280 acres, including 80 acres of wetlands and an eight-acre pond for recreation purposes including hunting, fishing and hiking.

* Pere Marquette Trail Extension. Clare was recommended to receive $99,100 to acquire 1.4 acres to extend the Pere Marquette Rail-Trail.

* Elizabeth Lake Woods Park Expansion. Waterford Township in Oakland County was recommended to receive $87,000 to acquire 25 acres within the watershed of the Clinton River to protect a mature oak forest and fragile wetlands.

* Grass River Natural Area Addition. The board recommended $50,000 to help Antrim County acquire 9.27 acres of forested wetlands with 150 feet on Clam Lake, and 1.2 acres of forested wetlands with 111 feet on the Grass River.

* St. Charles Area Park Land Acquisition. The Village of St. Charles was recommended to receive $45,667 to acquire two parcels contiguous to St. Charles Park totaling 8.6 acres for the development of a disc golf course.

Development Projects

Thirty recreation development projects totaling $7,825,500 were recommended by the MNRTF board. They include:

* Falling Waters Trail Project. The board recommended a $500,000 grant to Jackson County to develop a 10.3 mile trail, bridge, trailhead and restroom to connect the City of Jackson, Village of Concord and townships of Concord, Spring Arbor and Summit to Lime Lake County Park.

* Cannon Township Non-Motorized Trail. Cannon Township in Kent County was recommended to receive $500,000 to develop 3.7 miles of non-motorized bituminous trail and boardwalk that will
cross wetlands, meadows and forests adjacent to Sunfish Lake to link the county's Townsend Park to the Cannon Township Hall.

* Campground Access Improvements. The board recommended $500,000 to the DNR for development of state forest campgrounds and accessibility upgrades.

* Boardman Lake Trail West. The board recommended $500,000 for Traverse City to develop 1,980 feet of bituminous, non-motorized, multi-use trail linking the west leg of the trail to the east leg at Hull Park.

* Butzel Playfield Improvements. Detroit is recommended to receive $500,000 to develop walking paths, a play area, pathways and parking renovations at Fred M. Butzel Playfield.

* Tricentennial State Park and Harbor. The board recommended the DNR receive $500,000 to develop a 1,500 foot pedestrian trail along the Detroit Riverfront at Tricentennial State Park.

* Sanford Lake Park Improvements. The board recommended that Midland County receive $444,000 to develop a pathway, spray park, three fishing piers, floating pier, relocate its maintenance building and add site amenities at Sandford Lake Park.

* Lansing River Trail South Extension. It was recommended that Lansing receive $426,500 to develop a bituminous trail, boardwalk and bridge along Sycamore Creek from Hawk Island Park to Maguire Park.

* Manistique Central Park Improvements. The board recommended that Manistique receive $424,000 to develop an archery range, roads, parking, skate park, multi-purpose trail network, baseball field, basketball and tennis courts, fishing piers at a quarry pond and a restroom building at Manistique's Central Park.

* New Richmond Bridge Park Development. The board recommended $382,784 for Allegan County to develop a boat launch, dock, fishing piers, boardwalks, vault toilet building and walkways at New Richmond Bridge Park.

* State Park Camper Cabins. The board recommended the DNR receive $375,600 to develop 16 new camper cabins at various state parks.

* Lake Michigan Beach Park Improvements. Empire in Leelanau County was recommended to receive $356,600 to develop restrooms, an entrance road, parking area, beach wall, signage, boardwalks, fishing piers and other amenities at Lake Michigan Beach Park.

* Fox Memorial Park Improvements. Eaton County was recommended to receive $297,998 to develop a restroom building, shelter, fishing pier, playground, pathways, water system and parking at Fox Memorial Park.

* Riverside Park Campground Redevelopment. The board recommended $284,332 for Scottville in Mason County to develop barrier-free walkways, fishing piers, roads, parking areas and campground upgrades at Riverside Park Campground.

* North Riverfront Park Heritage Improvements. The board recommended $214,520 for this Alpena park for development of walkways, parking, pavilions, lighting, irrigation and site amenities.

* Old Mackinac Point Light Station Improvements. The Mackinac Island State Park Commission was recommended to receive $189,000 to develop parking, signage, lighting and parking amenities at Old Mackinac Point Light Station along Lake Huron at Michlimackinac State Park in Cheboygan County.

* Silk City Nature Trail. This $166,400 recommendation will help Belding develop a 3,600 lineal feet, 10-foot wide bituminous pathway including 580 lineal feet along the Flat River and 1,400 lineal feet along Ellis Creek, which connects Water Street Park and Demorest Park.

* Gladstone 10th Street Pier. The board recommended $155,000 for Gladstone to develop a 300-foot by 14-foot fishing pier on Little Bay de Noc to provide access and shore fishing to Lake Michigan.

* Huron Boardwalk in St. Ignace. The $137,500 recommended for this project would support development of a 1,155 lineal feet of boardwalk to connect with an existing 5,000 feet of boardwalk along Lake Huron.

* Fremont Town and Country Trail. The board recommended $130,560 for Fremont in Newaygo County to develop a 9,500 lineal foot multi-jurisdictional non-motorized bituminous trail.

* Roselle Park Trail Improvements. The board recommended $122,210 for Ada Township to develop a trail with river overlook, vault toilet, canoe landing, boardwalk and site amenities which will provide access to the Grand River at Roselle Park.

* Kenneth Stanaback Park. The board recommended that Kentwood receive $99,330 to develop scenic trails, a basketball court, pavilion, picnic area and parking lot at Kenneth Stanaback Park.

* Goodrich Park Improvements. Whitehall in Muskegon County was recommended to receive $90,500 to develop a play structure, fishing deck, picnic shelter with restroom, Braille signage, pathways and a parkng lot at Goodrich Park.

* Pentoga Park Campground Improvements. The board recommended $90,000 to develop campsites, utilities, roads, fishing piers and walkways to provide access to Chicaugon Lake at Pentoga Park Campground in Iron County.

* Apple Blossom Trail River Walkway. It was recommended that Iron River receive $86,700 to develop an 800-foot non-motorized trail along the Iron River which will complete a gap in the existing Apple Blossom Trail and connect to Nanaimo Park.

* Riverside Park Boat Launch Site Improvements. Scottville was recommended to receive $82,294 to develop a restroom facility, fish cleaning station and picnic area at Riverside Park.

* Ransom Lake Natural Area. Almira Township in Benzie County was recommended for a $81,400 grant to develop 2,500 feet of bituminous trail, two observation decks, restrooms, bridge and improved parking at the Ransom Lake Natural Area.

* Riverside Park Capital Improvement Project. It was recommended that Ypsilanti receive $80,290 to develop lighting, electrical updates, a playground and park landscaping to facilitate views of the Huron River corridor at Riverside Park.

* Beaverton Fishing Piers. The board recommended $59,000 to Beaverton to develop two lighted fishing piers on Ross Lake.

* Fishing Quarry Park Development. The board recommended that Caspian in Iron County receive $48,800 to develop a sheltered pavilion, fishing pier, gravel drive, parking area, site amenities and walkways at Fishing Quarry Park.

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.

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