posted on October 22, 2020
The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund was established in the Krammer Recreational Land Trust Fund Act of 1976. Its purpose was to acquire public land and advance public outdoor recreation using revenue derived from oil, gas, and mineral rights owned by the state. Through 2019 the Trust Fund has awarded $1.2 billion in grants, $935.9 million for acquisition, and $286.4 million for development. In November Proposal 1 will be on the ballot to expand the limits of the State Parks Endowment Fund. In 2011, oil, gas, and mineral royalty revenue previously deposited in the Trust Fund began being deposited in the Endowment Fund due to reaching the $500 million cap in the principal balance of the Trust Fund. The ballot proposal
will allow the revenues to continue to be accumulated beyond the $800 million cap. If the ballot proposal is not passed, the additional funds will be distributed as determined by the state legislature and the governor.
Furthermore, there would be changes to the dollar amounts available for acquisition and development grants. According to the DNR: currently, of the total amounts made available annually for spending from the Trust Fund, not less than 25% shall be expended for the acquisition of land or rights in land for recreational uses or protection of the land. Not more than 25% shall be expended for the development of public recreation facilities, playgrounds and supporting amenities like restrooms and parking lots.
If the ballot measure is approved: Not less than 25% of the total amounts made available annually for spending from the Trust Fund shall be expended for the acquisition of public land and the development of public recreation facilities.
What this means the Trust Fund Board would have discretion in recommending the remaining 50% of the total amounts made available (less costs for administration of the Trust Fund) toward acquisition or development projects.