The Michigan DNR has raised the maximum request for state recreational grants into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for 2021. Here’s how to apply.

MICHIGAN—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, and is also inviting organizations with the legal authority to provide recreation to apply for hundreds of thousands of dollars in eligible funds.

The funds are apportioned to each state by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and will be sent to the National Park Service for federal approval.

In Michigan, school districts and Native American tribes are among those encouraged to apply.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) is pivotal in supporting projects that improve the quality of outdoor recreation for communities across Michigan,” said Dan Lord, DNR grants manager.

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“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,” said Lord.

Funding from the LWCF is used to help develop public outdoor recreation facilities and to provide matching grants for local governments to do the same.

The program supports Native American townships, counties, tribes, villages, and cities, along with projects by other bodies legally designated to provide recreational opportunities.

Projects are being approved across the state.

Currently recommended for funding are undertakings in Bay, Berrien, Eaton, Houghton, Ingham, Macomb, Oakland, Oceana, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Among the projects being supported are campground developments, park renovations and improvements, accessible playground development, accessibility improvements for Michiganders with disabilities, and more.

In Washtenaw County, a $300,000 award was recommended for improvements to Montibeller Park, which includes hiking and biking trails, sports fields, picnic areas, and more.

In Belle Isle Park, an award of over $1.3 million was recommended to improve the Iron Belle Trail Loop Phase 2, which runs from the iconic Detroit park all the way to the western tip of the Upper Peninsula.

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The LWCF is supported by revenues from federal gas and oil development from the Gulf of Mexico, according to a report from UpNorthLive.

In August of this year, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law at the national level, establishing permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

To support the increase in funding, the Michigan DNR has raised the maximum application request from $300,000 to $500,000 for the 2021 application cycle.

Project ideas include playground, trails and walkways, skate parks, boat launches, picnic areas, sports fields, campgrounds, and improved access for users of all abilities beyond Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

Those interested in applying may visit Applications for the 2021 funding cycle are due April 1.

More information on these and other DR-administered grants can also be found by contacting DNR Grants Management at 517-284-7268.

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