Marquette County has once again fared well in the annual recommendation of grants from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
The trust fund board announced this week that of about $3 million in grants recommended for the Upper Peninsula, roughly $1.87 million are pegged for Marquette County.
The biggest chunk of that total is for a major land acquisition in the city of Marquette, the Clark Lambros Beach Park tract in the northern section of the city.
Owned by the Lambros family and named for well-known Marquette businessman Clark Lambros, who died in December 2012, the 9-acre property includes 1,500 feet of Lake Superior shoreline and 500 feet along the Dead River.
In addition, a $296,000 development grant is being recommended for the city to build universally accessible restrooms at Presque Isle, Harlow and Williams park.
Marquette County's Republic Township is also in line for a development grant, with $172,000 being pegged for Munson Park improvements, including development of a campground along the Iron Ore Heritage Trail.
The grant would fund construction of paved recreational vehicle sites with water and electric, rustic tent campsites, accessible restrooms, access paths, parking and necessary site amenities at Munson Park along the Michigamme River, as well as day-use picnic sites along School Lake.
Trust fund grant recommendations are reviewed by the Legislature and then sent to the governor for approval. Revenues for the fund come from royalties paid on on state-owned mineral rights.
Since the fund was created in 1976, through 2012 Marquette County had received 49 grants totaling $11.6 million. Previous grants have been awarded for a wide variety of land purchases and projects in various areas of the county, including in the cities of Ishpeming, Negaunee and Marquette; Chocolay, Champion, Forsyth, Powell, Republic, Sands, Negaunee, Ishpeming, Tilden and Ely townships; as well as the Iron Ore Heritage Trail Authority and Iron Industry Museum.
The trust fund has certainly enhanced recreational opportunities in the county, as well as the rest of the region, and has helped create an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. We hope this trend continues far into the future.