Berrien, St. Joseph counties to benefit from Natural Resources Trust Fund

LANSING, Mich.Sen. Kim LaSata voted for Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund legislation on Wednesday that would help support projects in Berrien and St. Joseph counties.

In Berrien County, the NRTF would provide $300,000 to New Buffalo Township in support of the Marquette Greenway Development project — the 58-mile trail along Lake Michigan connecting New Buffalo to Chicago — as well as $300,000 to the county for an addition to the Madeline Bertrand Park. St. Joseph County would receive $50,000 to make renovations at Rawson’s King Mill Park.

“The Natural Resources Trust Fund is a great way to support and enhance recreational opportunities for Southwest Michigan residents and visitors alike,” said LaSata, R-Bainbridge Township. “This year’s funding will go a long way toward improving existing parks and recreational offerings and help complete the exciting Marquette Greenway project.”

As approved, House Bill 4469 would allocate a total of nearly $37.8 million for 46 recreational development and 30 land acquisition projects throughout the state.

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.

HB 4469 now goes to the governor for her signature.