Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund
Established with the passage of Ballot Proposal P in the 1994 November election, the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund was created to support Michigan's state parks system with a stable, consistent source of funding.
The passage of that ballot proposal also allowed funds from the Genevieve Gillette State Parks Endowment Fund to be transferred to the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund. Ms. Gillette was a strong supporter of Michigan's state park system who worked tirelessly to ensure the establishment of the parks system.
Under the state constitution, the State Parks Endowment Fund can receive private contributions or other things of value.
In addition, until the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (NRTF) principal reaches $500 million, the lesser of $10 million or 50 percent of mineral revenues is required to be deposited annually into the State Parks Endowment Fund.
When the principal of the NRTF reaches $500 million, all mineral revenues are required to be deposited into the State Parks Endowment Fund until it reaches an accumulated principal of $800 million. The accumulated principal limit must be annually adjusted pursuant to the rate of inflation beginning when the Endowment Fund reaches $800 million.
Until the Endowment Fund reaches an accumulated principal of $800 million, not more than $5 million can be appropriated by the Legislature. This $5 million is required to be adjusted annually to the rate of inflation. Once the accumulated principal reaches $800 million, only the interest and earnings in excess of the $800 million (adjusted for inflation) can be made available for expenditure.
The State Parks Endowment Fund can be used for operations, maintenance, and capital improvements (infrastructure) at Michigan state parks. Currently, the Michigan state park system has a backlog of capital improvements that need to be implemented but funding falls short of meeting the needs. Annual funding of approximately $22 million in combined revenue, including interest, is enough to cover continued operation and maintenance of the parks, but only a small portion of the needed projects may be addressed. Projects currently pending, such as restroom building replacement, road improvements and parking lot repair, total approximately $340 million.
As of 9/30/2012 the total amount in the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund was approximately $171,000,000.