Politics is politics and there are times when good legislation comes around and we should provide support. It doesn't matter who proposed it and whether or not it is Republican or Democrat. When ideas bubble that are to the benefit of the people and make sense we should accept that as good legislation. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed this legislation on Friday and it makes sense as people need more exercise and a healthy respect for the great outdoors.
COVID has changed our perception of life and the outdoors. Environmentalism and protecting the environment has become increasingly important as we question the benefits of cement forests. If you notice major cities were ghost towns during the initial stages of the pandemic which made outdoor recreation even more important. We also have come to learn in recent times the psychological, physical and environmental benefits of having lots of green around.
Places like Delta County have an opportunity to capitalize on their outdoor location through eco-tourism and greater public awareness of the area's benefits. Local administrators may want to explore some of the financial resources and local needs to see where improvement can be made. When money is available and it appears to have benefit for a lot of people we should take advantage of that. Escanaba and Gladstone can be eco-tourist destinations in a way that improves local lives but can also enhance opportunities through its geographic location for distribution and micro-tourism manufacturing.
NATURAL RESOURCES TRUST FUND
Program Objective: The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) projects provide for natural resource protection and outdoor recreation. By law, no more than 25 percent of the Trust Fund revenues available for appropriation each year can be used for development, therefore the majority of funding is allocated for acquisition projects. Final grant recommendations are made by the MNRTF Board to the state legislature for final approval.
Criteria: Applications are evaluated on established criteria such as natural resource access and conservation, proximity to population clusters, applicant's committed matching funds, applicant's financial need, and priority projects of the Trust Fund Board (e.g., trails, regional significance, public access to lakes and rivers, wildlife habitat, hunting access)
Deadline: April 1, of the year of application.
Timeline of Approval: 12 to 18 months after the application deadline
Amount: $15,000 to $300,000. No Limitations on land purchases.
Legislation: Act 451 Part 19
Program Manager: Program Manager: Jon Mayes, 517-284-5954, MayesJ@Michigan.gov, or Grants Management Staff
Forms and Information and Stuff: HERE
Bennett, Courtney (August 3rd, 2020). Gov. Whitmer approves $28 million in outdoor recreation development. Mid Michigan Now. https://nbc25news.com/news/local/gov-whitmer-approves-28-million-in-outdoor-recreation-development
DNR. Natural Resources Trust Fund. Retrieved August 4th, https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79134_81684_79209_81657---,00.html?utm_campaign=whitmer%20approves%20trust%20fund%20grants&utm_medium=pr&utm_source=govdelivery