On Tuesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an appropriations bill funding the full slate of Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) recommendations.
SB 1028 appropriates $45.6 million in funding for projects including the acquisition of a new state game area (SGA) in Berrien County and the expansion of the Portland SGA.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) fully supports the passage of this appropriation as a critical conservationist access acquisition, said policy assistant Justin Tomei.
“As a resident of West Michigan, I fully understand the lack of public access in the region,” Tomei said. “MUCC supports these acquisitions as critical expansions of our state game area system and public land access for Michiganders.”
Along the St. Joseph River, Michigan’s hunters, trappers, anglers and outdoor recreationists will have new access to an 839-acre SGA in Berrien County. There has historically been a significant lack of public access in this region of the state. This area will provide long-term outdoor recreation benefits to the residents and visitors to this corner of Michigan.
In the Portland SGA, the legislature has funded the acquisition of 66 acres bordering the Grand River, providing enjoyers of the area expanded access to the river. With a diversity of quality habitats, this area is well suited for wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, small game, waterfowl and sandhill cranes.
Data on hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation consistently show that access and time are two of the most significant factors in hunting decisions. By providing a place that is both open to hunting and situated in an easy driving distance from Benton Harbor, Battle Creek and less than 100 miles from Grand Rapids, they would be well-used assets and perhaps an entry for urban and suburban populations to expand their outdoor activities to include wildlife-centric recreation.
A more detailed breakdown of the entire project list can be found here.
To ensure our natural resources remain protected and managed thoughtfully in perpetuity, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs today: http://bit.ly/JoinMUCC.