Gov. Whitmer, DNR Recommend Nearly $8 Million in Land and Water Conservation Fund Grants

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan DNR are recommending 22 state and community parks share nearly $8 million in Land and Water Conservation Fund grants.

Projects recommended for funding are in Bay, Berrien, Emmet, Ingham, Kent, Mason, Mecosta, Muskegon, Oakland, Oceana, Ontonagon, Otsego, Washtenaw and Wayne counties. The 22 community and state parks, trails and sports facilities would share $7,790,400 in grants.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is critical to creating quality outdoor recreation resources that add value and improve the quality of life for communities throughout Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer in a statement. “This fund is an excellent example of successful collaboration among federal, state and local government partners that yields health and social benefits for residents and visitors.”

2021 Land and Water Conservation Fund Recommendations in northern Michigan 

  • Hemlock Park Splash Pad Project, Big Rapids – $238,600
  • Otsego Lake County Park Campground Drainage Improvements, Otsego County – $75,000
  • Pennsylvania Park – Park Avenue Expansion, Petoskey – $150,000
  • Shelby Township Community Park Development, Shelby – $500,000
  • Pere Marquette River Community Access – PM Conservation Park, Pere Marquette Charter Township – $500,000

The Land and Water Conservation Fund 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 in August 2020, established permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Just five years ago, Michigan was issuing just over $2 million in annual grants on behalf of the National Park Service. With the change in legislation, the state will see more fiscal stability and increased funding in the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program. These changes resulted in the DNR raising the maximum application request from $300,000 to $500,000 for application cycles.

“Michigan residents and visitors turn to trails, parks, campgrounds and other welcoming public places to connect with family, friends and the outdoors,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund, along with other important grant programs administered by the DNR, continues to provide vital access to Michigan’s out-of-doors.”