New Michigan Outdoor Recreation Grants Enhance Nearby Public Spaces


Two nearby outdoor recreation destinations are set to benefit from funding through the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The two prominent grants include an acquisition grant awarded to Washtenaw County and a development grant awarded to Hamburg Township.

Washtenaw County's Saline Preserve Acquisition: A total of $541,800, has been earmarked to acquire 258 acres within the Waterloo-Pinckney Recreation Area. This acquisition will consolidate ownership within the park for recreation and natural resource conservation in an area under pressure for development. The new properties include wooded wetlands, wildlife habitat, rolling hills, lake frontage, and navigable water frontage. Recreational opportunities to be enhanced include trail connections, hunting, fishing, hiking, equestrian activities, paddle sports, wildlife viewing, and winter sports.

Hamburg Township's Bennett Park Renovations Hamburg Township will receive $300,000 for a development project at the 384-acre Manly W. Bennett Memorial Park. This project aims to renovate facilities and increase accessibility. Planned improvements include the replacement of existing pathways and the playground, expansion of accessible parking, replacement of a canoe and kayak launch, and the addition of a paved path to Hall's Creek, a tributary of the Huron River, to provide access to the Huron River Water Trail.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation on Monday authorizing $23.3 million in Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grants to create more opportunities for quality outdoor recreation.

“From camping and kayaking to swimming and snowmobiling, Pure Michigan offers us world-class recreation right in our backyard,” announced Gov. Whitmer. “Since 1976, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund has helped us protect our precious natural places and invested in accessible outdoor public recreation. Today’s grants will fund 45 projects across the state, anchoring communities, spurring local economies and making our state a better place to live.”

The Trust Fund board recommends funding both state and local agencies for development projects and land acquisitions to increase the quality and quantity of public outdoor recreation opportunities. This year, the board recommended $15 million in acquisition grants and $8.3 million in recreation development grants. These recommendations are forwarded to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the appropriation process, and the Legislature then sends a bill to the governor for approval.

Established in 1976, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund granting over $1.3 billion over the past 45-plus years for public acquisition of land and outdoor recreation development projects. It is primarily funded through interest earned on funds derived from developing publicly owned minerals, specifically oil, and gas, and is dedicated to improving public outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan.

Photo courtesy of MI DNR

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