Funding to support Michigan’s trail system, including the Iron Belle Trailhead in eastern Calhoun County are waiting for the Governor’s signature.   State Senator Dr. John Bizon talked about it on Friday’s WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins and Jim Mishler.

“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.”

The funding is part of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) projects for 2020, including development and acquisition projects in Bizon’s 19th Senate District.

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.   Sen. Bizon says the money doesn’t come from the general fund, or any education funds, but is money dedicated to acquiring and preserving natural resources and for the development of public land. He says it’s money the state gets from drilling oil and gas in Michigan.

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

Iron Belle Trail -DNR YouTube
Iron Belle Trail -DNR YouTube

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

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.

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