VanderWall supports four area Natural Resources Trust Fund projects

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Curt VanderWall this week supported Senate approval of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund projects for 2021, including four area projects.

“This measure will invest nearly $1.5 million into projects in Benzie, Lake and Leelanau counties,” said VanderWall, R-Ludington. “These projects will improve lake access, transform waterfront property and enhance residents’ enjoyment of Northwest Michigan’s great outdoors.”

House Bill 4469 would authorize the trust fund to use $37.8 million to support 30 acquisition projects and 46 recreational development projects throughout the state. Matching funds of almost $47.2 million would bring the total investment to nearly $85 million.

Under the bill, Benzie County would receive $718,900 to acquire a critical 9.34-acre inholding at the Railroad Point Natural Area. This will help create 4,300 feet of contiguous protected waterfront open to the public on Crystal Lake.

The village of Elberta in Benzie County would receive $300,000 for improvements to Elberta Beach on Lake Michigan, an undeveloped beach south of Frankfort Harbor. The grant would allow the village to construct a new parking area, picnic pavilions, universally accessible restrooms and a pathway to the Elberta pier.

Elmwood Township in Leelanau County also would receive $300,000 for the development of Discovery Pier at Greilickville Harbor Park. The project includes restrooms, paved parking and a rain garden with native Michigan plants for storm water management.

Finally, Lake County would receive $149,200 under the bill for 13 contiguous acres and 700 feet of river frontage adjacent to the Michigan Department of Natural Resource’s existing M-37 Boating Access Site on the Pere Marquette River, allowing wading anglers to access another 700 feet of streambank and also ensure long-term conservation of the parcel.

The NRTF is supported by interest earnings from the development of state-owned mineral rights. The fund’s dollars are constitutionally restricted to recreation improvements and land acquisitions.

HB 4469 now heads to the governor for her signature.