Nov. 24, 2020
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has recommended 14 community and state parks, trails and sports facilities across the state to share $5,441,600 in Land and Water Conservation Fund grants.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is pivotal in supporting projects that improve the quality of outdoor recreation for communities across Michigan,” said Dan Lord, DNR grants manager. “This fund is an excellent example of successful collaboration among federal, state and local government partners who are focused on bringing real-world health and social benefits to residents and visitors.”
Projects recommended for funding are in Bay, Berrien, Eaton, Houghton, Ingham, Macomb, Oakland, Oceana, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. That funding will support campground developments, park renovations and improvements, accessible playground development, accessibility improvements and more.
The DNR uses Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars to help develop public outdoor recreation facilities and to provide matching grants for local governments to do the same. The program supports Native American tribes, villages, cities, townships and counties, and divisions within the DNR in their efforts to give people better, broader access to quality public outdoor recreation opportunities.
The LWCF is supported by revenues from federal gas and oil development from the Gulf of Mexico. Following congressional appropriation, the monies are apportioned to the states by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior each fiscal year. The project recommendations will be sent to the National Park Service for federal approval.
The Great American Outdoors Act, signed into law this past August, established permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Michigan is now poised to see an increase in funding for the LWCF grant program, which it administers on behalf of the National Park Service. In anticipation of next year’s funding increase, the DNR is raising the maximum application request from $300,000 to $500,000 for the 2021 application cycle.
Eligible applicants include any unit of government including Native American tribes, school districts or any combination of units with the legal authority to provide recreation. Applicants can seek funding for a variety of projects, including development of and improvements to playgrounds, trails and walkways, skate parks, boat launches, picnic areas, sports fields and campgrounds, in addition to improved access for users of all abilities beyond Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
Application materials and information for LWCF grants are available at Michigan.gov/LWCFGrants. Applications for the 2021 funding cycle are due April 1.
For more information about this and other DNR-administered grants, contact DNR Grants Management at 517-284-7268.