Rep. Julie Calley and the Michigan House this week approved funding for two Barry County recreation projects – helping extend the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail and adding a shooting range to the Barry State Game Area.
The projects are included in recommendations from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The recommendations are made to the Legislature, which is working to finalize and authorize the plan.
“Barry County is beautiful, as anyone who has spent time on the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail or at the state game area knows well,” said Calley, of Portland. “They will become even better attractions with these enhancements.”
The legislation authorizes $350,000 to acquire 26 acres to extend the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail in Thornapple Township. The land includes 2.5 miles of abandoned rail bed, which will connect the north end of the trail in Barry County with the south end of Kent County’s system. Most of the property is natural wildlife habitat, including frontage along the Thornapple River.
At the Barry State Game Area, $200,000 would be allocated to build a new shooting range that incorporates sound abatement and other important elements. This new range will allow the Department of Natural Resources to close an existing, substandard location.
Statewide, the measure approved by the House provides $28.7 million for 60 recreational development projects and 18 land acquisition projects.
Money in the Natural Resources Trust Fund comes from the development of minerals on state land – not general tax money -- and is distributed on an annual basis in partnership with local governments. The money must be used for acquisition or recreational development projects, according to the Michigan Constitution.
The Natural Resources Trust Fund program dates back to the 1970s.
Senate Bill 145 returns to the Senate for further consideration.