Bizon: Projects in 19th District to benefit from trust fund bill

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Bizon, M.D. on Thursday supported approval of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects for 2020, including development and acquisition projects in the 19th District.

“Michiganders are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, and it is important to preserve it,” said Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “The projects in the 19th District receiving funding will enhance our enjoyment of our natural resources.”

As finalized by the Senate, Senate Bill 145 would authorize the trust fund to use $28.7 million to support 18 acquisition projects and 60 recreational development projects throughout the state.

In Barry County, the bill would provide $350,000 for the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail Acquisition project and $200,000 for Development of the Barry State Game Area Shooting Range.

The measure also would provide $300,000 for development of the Iron Belle Trailhead in eastern Calhoun County.

The NRTF is supported by interest earned on funds generated from the development of state-owned mineral rights. The fund’s dollars are constitutionally restricted to recreation improvements and land acquisitions. It has provided over 40 years of funding for high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities across Michigan. The process is competitive, and applications are scored on criteria developed by the fund’s board.

The fund was established in 1976 under the Kammer Recreational Trust Fund Act and was later added to the Michigan Constitution under Article 9, Section 35.

SB 145 now goes to the governor for her signature.