Local Parks Receive Funding Boost

Auburn City Park in Bay County will receive nearly $250,000 for improvements through a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant.

The park near U.S. 10 will use the new resources to improve accessibility. The trail within the park will be renovated and widened, and an accessible canoe-kayak launch will be added. Accessible parking and walkways will be included to connect visitors with picnic tables and other areas.

The Auburn project was included in annual recommendations from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, which require approval and input from the Legislature. Money in the Natural Resources Trust Fund comes from the development of minerals on state land and is distributed on an annual basis in partnership with local governments. The money must be used for recreational development projects or land acquisition and cannot be used for other purposes, according to the Michigan Constitution.

The Michigan Legislature also recently approved funding to make several improvements at the Thomas Township Nature Preserve.

The $300,000 investment will help construct a new hiking trail, covered picnic pavilion area and a fishing and observation platform at the nature preserve, located along the Tittabawassee River on the east side of the township.

The 0.7-mile hiking trail will be 8 feet wide and fully accessible. It will include six seating areas that can be used for rest or to observe nature. Interpretive signs will highlight the history of the Tittabawassee River, the preserve’s location, native plantings, and habitat restoration projects. The observation platform and pavilion area will also be fully accessible.

Funding for both project are part of Senate Bill 1028, which includes $45.6 million for 22 land acquisition and 95 recreational development projects throughout the state with revenues from the Natural Resources Trust Fund. The fund’s board approved its recommendations in December 2021 and the projects were approved with overwhelming support by the House and Senate last week. The measure is awaiting consideration from Gov. Whitmer.