Bizon supports proposed recreation projects

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. John Bizon, M.D. on Monday said he supports the proposed Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects for 2021, including two development grants in Calhoun County.

“The NRTF grants are for projects designed to boost outdoor recreation,” said Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “The projects in the 19th District receiving funding will increase our enjoyment of the area’s natural resources.

“As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I look forward to supporting these local projects when they come before the committee.”

The Calhoun County development grants include $193,400 for the Kimball Pines County Park and $101,000 for the Iron Belle Trail in Homer.

The Kimball Pines County Park development will revitalize a once-thriving, 75-acre park by adding a new park entrance, parking lot, Iron Belle and North Country Trail parking, ADA-compatible bathrooms and universally accessible trails.

“A natural disaster in 2011 devastated the Kimball Pines County Park’s natural canopy and created issues with invasive species,” Bizon said. “This grant begins a long-awaited transformation.”

The Iron Belle Trail project will bring the trail route within the village up to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials guidelines for hiking and bicycling.

“The construction of trail improvements will accommodate the level of service required within the village and make improvements for universal accessibility,” Bizon said.

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a restricted fund established in 1976 to provide funding for public acquisition of lands for resource protection and outdoor recreation, as well as for public outdoor recreation development projects. It is funded through interest and earnings on funds derived from the revenues of state-owned oil, gas and minerals.

The Trust Fund board’s recommendations will go to the Michigan Legislature for review as part of the appropriations process. Upon approval, the Legislature will forward a bill to the governor for her signature.