MNRTF recommendations sent to Legislature:

Article Posted: November 15, 2002

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MNRTF recommendations sent to Legislature

Governor Engler today announced his intent to submit an appropriations
request to the Legislature and seek prompt action to fund 17 Michigan
Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) land acquisition projects as
approved by the MNRTF Board of Trustees on October 22, 2002.
The Governor also expressed his appreciation to the MNRTF Board
and the Department of Natural Resources for expediting review of more
than $95 million in land acquisition applications so that the funding
request could be considered by the Legislature this calendar year.
Included in the Board's recommendations were five Department of Natural
Resources land acquisition projects totaling $15.2 million in MNRTF
assistance; 11 local government land acquisition projects totaling over
$7.6 million in MNRTF assistance and $200,000 in assistance to the
Mackinac Island State Park Commission to acquire land and rights in land
to compliment the State's current ownership on Mackinac Island.
Key among the Board's recommendations were:

" $4.0 million to support a Governor's initiative to protect the
390,000 acres of Upper Peninsula land for sale by the Kamehameha
Schools. The funds were approved by the Board as the first phase of a
three-year project, with an anticipated total MNRTF commitment of $10.0
million. The $4.0 million in MNRTF assistance will allow the DNR to
partner with The Nature Conservancy and a private timber company to
purchase the land recently put on the market by the Kamehameha School
Trust, a Hawaiian trust founded to benefit native Hawaiian children.
Included in the lands for sale are two and one-half miles of Lake
Superior shoreline, thousands of acres of commercial forest land, and
much or all of the property surrounding more than 130 inland lakes. Use
of MNRTFs for a portion of the purchase price will ensure the land is
kept open for public recreation in perpetuity and will help create
critical protected cores around the natural areas which are most
important to conservation and recreation, such as river corridors or
headwaters. The majority of the land rights will remain in private
ownership as working forestland so that the land can also be managed for
economic value and sustainable timber flow. The DNR will seek another
$3.0 million in MNRTF assistance in both 2003 and 2004 to complete the

" $7.5 million to complete the DNR purchase of nearly 6,000 acres
of pristine land at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula that includes six
miles of spectacular Lake Superior shoreline.

The MNRTF Board approved $5.0 million for this acquisition in September
2001 and the first acquisition was completed this past year. Approval
of the second phase will ensure this beautiful and natural resource-rich
land is available for public recreation and enjoyment in perpetuity.

" $3.0 million as the first of two phases to acquire about 251
acres of critical dunes and Lake Michigan frontage, including frontage
on the Kalamazoo River adjacent to Saugatuck Dunes State Park.

" Local grants ranging from $35,038 to $1.7 million to the city,
township and county governments in Washtenaw, Oakland, Grand Traverse,
Osceola, Otsego, Mecosta, Saginaw, Montcalm and Emmet Counties to
create and expand local parks, natural areas and trails.

DNR Director K. L. Cool noted that oil and gas royalty revenues made it
possible for the Department to secure MNRTF assistance to pursue several
large and very significant acquisitions that will benefit all Michigan
"The State and local acquisitions approved by the Board will provide a
variety of exceptional recreational opportunities and will ensure the
land and natural resources are available to the public for generations
to come," Cool said.
In reviewing the recommendations, the Governor praised the MNRTF Board
for their selections and made note of the critical role that revenues
from State-owned oil and gas resources play in both State and local
natural resources and recreation efforts. "The MNRTF is a financial
tool that is the envy of most every State in the country. The value to
Michigan residents and future generations in terms of protection of
valuable land resources and enhanced State, regional and local
recreation opportunities is immeasurable." The Governor hopes the
Legislature will appropriate the $23.1 million in MNRTF revenues as soon
as feasible so that the Board- approved land acquisition projects can be
initiated in early 2003.
About $5.0 million in MNRTFs remains available to the MNRTF Board to
allocate for outdoor recreation development projects. The development
project recommendations will be made at the Board's December 11, 2002
meeting and a second appropriations request will be forwarded to the
Legislature in early January 2003.
The MNRTF accepts applications from local governments and the DNR
annually. The program is administered by the DNR on behalf of the MNRTF
Board of Trustees. The next application cycle will begin in April
The list of Board recommended and approved projects, by county, are
available by contacting the number listed above.

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