Choosing How to Spend the Michigan Parks Fund Up for Voter Consideration

For the upcoming November 3, 2020 election, Michigan voters are being asked to consider a constitutional amendment that would decide the use of state and local park funds.

Established over 40 years ago, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) uses royalties paid by developers to state-owned minerals (e.g., oil and natural gas) to protect sensitive lands and boost outdoor recreation. To date, more than $1.2 billion has been distributed. Currently, at least 25% of the money spent in any given year must go toward land purchases, while no more than 25% can be devoted to developing recreation facilities. If Proposal 20-1 is passed, both would get at least 25%.

Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark welcomes Paddle to the Symphony every year - photo by Michael Dwyer
Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark welcomes Paddle to the Symphony every year –
photo by Michael Dwyer

Environmental activists such as the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter want the protection of the land to be a top priority, while supporters of the Proposal feel it’s also important to fund playgrounds, restrooms, and other amenities that will help get residents and visitors outdoors. The Proposal would also lift a $500 million cap that was placed on the fund in 2011. Since that time, mineral royalties have gone into the State Parks Endowment Fund to pay for land purchases, capital improvements, and other priorities at state parks. Under the proposed changes, revenue would flow back to the MNRTF once the park fund reaches its $800 million cap. But reaching that objective could take decades.

There are a total of three Proposals on the November 3 ballot.

  • Learn more about the Oakland County Parks Proposal here.
  • Learn more about the Search Warrant for Electronic Data Amendment Proposal here.
About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at

Speak Your Mind