History of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF)

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) began as the "Kammer Recreational Land Trust Fund Act of 1976" via P.A. 204 of 1976. Act 204 created the Michigan Land Trust Fund (MLTF) program to provide a source of funding for the public acquisition of lands for resource protection and public outdoor recreation. Funding was derived from royalties on the sale and lease of State-owned mineral rights.

On November 6, 1984, Michigan residents voted in favor of Proposal B, which amended the State Constitution and created the MNRTF. The constitutional amendment required that oil, gas, and other mineral lease and royalty payments be placed into the Trust Fund, with proceeds used to both acquire and develop public recreation lands. To implement the constitutional amendment, the Legislature passed the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Act of 1985 (P.A. 101 of 1985, Act 101). This act stipulated that in any one fiscal year, up to a third of all mineral lease revenues plus the interest and earnings of the Trust Fund could be used to both purchase land for resource protection and public outdoor recreation and develop outdoor recreation facilities. P.A. 101 of 1985 also specified that not less than 25 percent of the total expenditures from the Trust Fund in any fiscal year shall be expended for land acquisition and rights in land, and not more than 25 percent of the total expenditures from the Trust Fund in any fiscal year be expended for development of public recreation facilities. In addition, P.A. 101 of 1985 authorized the use of Trust Funds to make the annual payments in-lieu of taxes to local units of government that are required under subpart 14 of Part 21 of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 451 PA 1994, as amended. Trust Funds are used to meet the DNR's obligations under Part 21 for lands acquired by the DNR with MNRTF assistance.

On November 8, 1994, Michigan voters approved Proposal P, which also amended the State Constitution. The 1994 amendment reversed a previous constitutional provision which allowed the diversion of Trust Fund revenue to the Michigan Strategic Fund. Proposal P also established the State Park Endowment Fund for the operation, maintenance and capital improvements at Michigan's State Parks, and provided for the distribution of $10 million annually in Trust Fund revenues to the new Endowment Fund. The 1994 amendment also raised the maximum amount that can accumulate in the Trust Fund from $200 million to $400 million.

On August 6, 2002, Michigan residents approved Proposal 2. This amendment to article IX allows the MNRTF to invest in a wider array of investments, raises the current cap on the maximum allowable amount from $400 million to $500 million, and allows up to one third of the Trust Fund revenue to be spent annually until the principle reaches $500 million.

Applications for MNRTF assistance are accepted annually. Applications are accepted from both local units of government and State agencies, including the land managing divisions of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Applications are reviewed and scored by Grants Management of the DNR. Final grant recommendations are made by the MNRTF Board and submitted to the Legislature for approval and appropriation of funds. Return to the MNRTF, LWCF or Recreation Passport Grants home pages and click on Applicant Information to find out how to apply for these grants.